Barrow Raiders have proven to be the dark horses of the Championship after their promotion at the end of last season and they will have been relishing their cup draw to take on the might of the Huddersfield Giants ever since the balls came out of the hat a couple of weeks ago.
The Giants were without Will Pryce and Tui Lolohea and therefore gave a rare outing to Leroy Cudjoe in the halves and with Barrow having nothing to lose it was a nervous journey to Cumbria for the Super League side as they looked to avoid the humiliation of a cup shock.
Barrow were given a twenty-six point start on the coupon but they really had nothing to lose in the glorious Cumbrian sunshine as they made their bid for the last eight, and a home game against Hull FC.
It was a determined start from Barrow and the Giants knew that they were in a game, but the visitors bided their time and on sixteen minutes Luke Yates took a short pass to go in from five metres out for the try. Oliver Russell managed to guide his kick between the uprights for a 6-0 lead.
It was back-to-back tries on nineteen with Ricky Leutele walking through the Raiders defence off a Russell pass for a simple try. Russell added the conversion, the Giants in control at the end of the first quarter.
Sensationally Barrow got the next score on thirty-two when Tee Ritson intercepted a wayward pass and sprinted eighty metres downfield to go over by the posts. Jarrod Sammut added the conversion, and the home side were back within a converted try, sending their fans into delirium.
With two minutes left on the clock Sebastine Ikahihifo battered his way through the Barrow defence from forty metres out for a fantastic solo try. Russell added the conversion for an 18-6 half time lead, a hammer blow for the Cumbrians.
Three minutes after the restart Ritson grabbed an acrobatic second after fast hands saw the ball moved from left to right with the winger finding the try line via the airborne route. Sammut was just short with his touchline conversion to leave his side eight points adrift.
But it was a rapid response from the Giants when Jack Ashworth muscled his way to the line on forty-seven when he took the ball twenty from the line and shrugged off two tackles to go in. Russell hit the near upright with his conversion attempt, the lead now twelve points for the Claret and Gold.
There was no keeping Barrow down, and on fifty-nine skipper Jarrad Stack took a Sammut pass to cross for the third try of the afternoon for the Cumbrians. Sammut added the conversion to again reduce the arrears to six points.
Russell added a crucial penalty goal on sixty-three after Barrow were offside and his kick took the lead out to eight points.
The last scoring action of the game was an opportunity try from Innes Senior who picked up a ball dislodged in the tackle to walk in from two metres out. Russell added the conversion for a 30-16 final score.
Barrow Raiders battled hard against a side pushing towards the top of the division above them and they made a fantastic account of themselves in front of a decent crowd. It was difficult to believe that there was a division between the two sides. The Giants were below par, but their forwards grasped the mettle and muscled up to a physical Barrow defence to force their way in for the crucial tries. It´s the Giants who will take on Hull FC in the next round with a semi-final place up for grabs, but Barrow can take a massive pride from their performance in today’s entertaining cup tie.
Barrow Raiders: Cresswell, Ritson (2T), Miloudi, Wheeler, Toal, Sammut (2G), Johnston, Forster, Wood, Gillam, Hopkins, Stack (T), Iaria. Subs: Mossop, Emslie, Brooks, Morrow.
Huddersfield Giants: Goulding, McGillvary, Senior I (T), Leutele (T), Senior L, Cudjoe, Russell (5G), Wilson, O´Brien, Lawrence, Ashworth (T), Greenwood, Yates (T). Subs: Levi, Mason, Ikahihifo (T), Hewitt.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 0-10, 0-12. 4-12, 6-12, 6-16, 6-18 : HT : 10-18, 10-22, 14-22, 16-22, 16-24, 16-28, 16-30 : FT.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths.