PLAY-OFF FINAL: Barrow Raiders promoted after beating Whitehaven 10-6
We've done it!: Barrow Raiders celebrate their 10-6 victory over Whitehaven and promotion to the Championship LINDSEY DICKINGS
BARROW RAIDERS V WHITEHAVEN --- Barrow Raiders v Whitehaven play off final at Craven Park // Pictured: Barrow celebrate their win Sunday 1st October 2017 LINDSEY DICKINGS
2 October 2017 9:42AM
A DOUBLE from Shane Toal clinched promotion back to the Kingstone Press Championship for Barrow Raiders as they saw off Whitehaven
10-6 in a tense League One play-off final at Craven Park.
The Raiders were able to bring Martin Aspinwall and Bradd Crellin back into the team after recovering from illness, with Nathan Mossop back on the interchange bench, while both Craig Calvert and Jessie Joe Parker were passed fit to play.
Two penalties allowed Whitehaven to gain some ascendancy in the early stages, although they were unable to make the most of this pressure and a knock-on from McAvoy ended a promising attack.
A strong tackle on Dion Aiye from Joe Bullock led to Whitehaven losing possession and, after advancing up field thanks to two penalties, that was followed by the Raiders striking when Ryan Fieldhouse produced a cut-out pass to send winger Toal racing through for an unconverted try out wide.
The wet weather was making handling difficult for both teams though and both sides came up with knock-ons in key areas, including Declan Hulme knocking on in his own in-goal area and Haven coughing up possession on the resulting attack.
Barrow's task was made harder too when top try-scorer Toal was forced off soon after scoring after suffering a head injury, although he passed the concussion assessment and returned to the field with nine minutes of the first half left.
And there were no further scores before the end of the half, with Brett Carter being forced into touch just metres from the line and at the other end, Haven player-coach Carl Forster knocked on on the last tackle with his close to getting on the board.
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Whitehaven were quick out of the blocks when play resumed though and were ahead within five minutes after Dion Aiye chased down a grubber kick from James Newton and Paul Crook slotted over the conversion.
The visitors started to take control after this and had a try from Elliott Miller ruled out for an obstruction in the build-up, but the Raiders regathered their composure and got back on level terms in the 58thminute when Dallimore kicked a penalty following a high tackle on Jarrad Stack.
The match swung back and forth, with Barrow next to have a try ruled out when Eze Harper's pass to Carter was deemed forward, followed by Dallimore hitting the posts with a penalty from over 40 metres out.
Then Whitehaven had another possible score ruled out when Stuart Roper, the drop-goal hero from the previous week's semi-final, was deemed to have knocked on before scoring.
But a lightning attack from Barrow, started by prop Bullock, saw the old combination of Hulme and Toal come together for the former to send the latter over with the game-clinching score nine minutes from time.
Barrow Raiders: Ryan Fieldhouse; Brett Carter, Eze Harper, Declan Hulme, Shane Toal; Jamie Dallimore, Lewis Charnock; Joe Bullock, Karl Ashall, Ollie Wilkes, Jarrad Stack, Bradd Crellin, Martin Aspinwall. Interchange: Nathan Mossop, Dan Toal, James Duerden, Tom Walker.
Whitehaven: Elliott Miller; Craig Calvert, Jessie Joe Parker, Chris Taylor, Jordan Burns; Dion Aiye, Paul Crook; Marc Shackley, James Tilley, Carl Forster, Karl Olstrom, Scott McAvoy, Steve Roper. Interchange: James Newton, Connor Holliday, Tom Holland, Glenn Riley.
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas.