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Barrow Raiders v Hemel Stags

Barrow Raiders v Hemel Stags[D]irectors and Coaching staff are calling all supporters to turn up in numbers this Sunday for the visit of Hemel Stags to Craven Park 3.30pm KO.

With the disappointing defeat by London Scholars last weekend it means we must win all of our last 3 games of this “1st Phase” to stay in the “Super 8’s” play offs, with the possibility of top 4 if results go our way. But the physicality of the London side, fielding 4 Broncos players in dual reg, has left a depleted Raiders squad, placing more pressure on the team to get a result this Sunday.

Hankinson picked up an ankle injury which is still being assessed, Dan Toal took a smack in the face and has a jaw injury and big game prop Andrew Dawson has a torn bi-cep and will not feature this weekend. This to add to the recovering Andy Litherland, Chris Fleming, Nathan Mossop and long suffering Liam Campbell causes somewhat of a selection nightmare for Coach Paul Craery.

“We’ve been decimated by the London game.” says Craery. “We got involved in stuff we didn’t need to be into and we’ve paid the price for that. We need a big game and a big performance on Sunday to bounce back from last weekend. I know we have some of the most committed fans in rugby league, we need them all to turn up and shout us on this Sunday. A poor gate will only have a knock on effect later on in the playoff’s. So if we want to stand a chance in this poorly disjointed league set up then we need to fans to back us.”

Chairman David Sharpe has joined the rally call too, “Something that the RFL seriously need to look at for next season is this Super 8’s situation. Its a nightmare for clubs in League 1. It means a club like Barrow can’t sell 1/3 of our sponsorship or hospitality boxes until a week before the fixtures begins because we don’t know who or even where we are playing and this fiasco of not having a home game for 5 weeks at 2 separate occasions in the league, compounded by 2 overnight trips back to back, means the cash flow for the club is a disaster.

“The board and I are urging all Barrow fans to turn out in huge numbers this Sunday to cheer the team on. A good solid gate would help the club out of a real sticky wicket we have at the moment. We need to look to ourselves and our own supporters for help because as we all know the teams in the bottom 6 of the table don’t have anything in the way of travelling support. The RFL must realise that a club still has to pay players wages, staff wages, ground bills etc but we’ve had no revenue for 5 weeks. Its crazy!”

The Chairman continued, “Surely it would be fairer and easier for all teams to just play home and away each week. I fear the addition of Toronto next year will cause further problems. How could any team in any league of part time players organise a full strength side to travel to Canada with 2 weeks notice?
I have grave concerns that the stop/start nature of this season, should it continue, for all teams will turn people away from the game rather than attracting new supporters. I hope I’m wrong!”

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