Barrow Raiders

Barrow Raiders

Infobox_esl_club | clubname = Barrow Raiders

fullname = "Barrow Raiders Rugby League Football Club"
Head Coach = "Dave Clark"
Chairman = "Dave Nixon"
emblem = Barrow-in-Furness coat of arms
colours = Blue and white
founded = 1875
sport = rugby league
league = National League Two
ground = Craven Park
web = "" ""

Barrow Raiders are a British rugby league team from Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria. They will play the 2009 season in National League One.

Barrow's colours are blue and white.


Early years

Barrow FC were formed in 1875. It is thought that Tom H. Baynes, a shipping clerk, was the driving force behind the club's foundation. As well as being a player, he was probably also the first Barrow team coach. Games were mainly played at Cavendish Park but also (until 1880) the Parade Ground.

In April 1897 the team switched from rugby union to rugby league. Barrow joined the Lancashire Senior Competition Second Division and became champions in their first season. However, they lost a challenge match against Morecambe, the bottom club in the First Division, and they failed to gain promotion. They were finally promoted in the 1899/1900 Season, by defeating Tyldesley in the challenge match.

Cavendish Park was requisitioned by the authorities for the war effort in 1914, Barrow relocated to Little Park, Roose three miles away from the centre of town. The league at this time was suspended and clubs were forced to arrange their own fixtures in an unofficial war league. Barrow were champions in 1917/18, losing just twice in 22 matches.

After World War I, Barrow had mixed fortunes and when the league resumed in 1919/20, they managed to finish 5th. However, over the next decade, despite having several county and national players, Barrow’s form suffered and its league position was poor.

In 1929, it had been realised that rugby league in Barrow was approaching a precarious period, as the attendaces at Little Park were gradually decreasing. This was in part due to industrial depression but also Little Park's location.

The directors made an appeal to the town, and approached the Mayor Alderman John Whinnerah who was to be an ardent supporter. Commander G. W. Craven, a local war hero, started an appeal fund with a donation of £500. In a short time the club bought a central site, where the Jute Works stood for £2,500. Craven Park was built in 1931, largely as a result of the efforts of supporters, 500 of whom volunteered to construct the ground. The total cost of the building project came to £7,500 which was an unbelievable figure in those days.

1937/38 saw Barrow reach the finals of the Lancashire Cup for the first time, losing narrowly 4-8 to Warrington. That season was a time of great opportunity for the Barrow Team but was to end in disappointment. After playing seven matches in just ten days, they lost 7-4 to Salford in the final of the Challenge Cup at Wembley; they also lost in the Championship play-off semi-final 13-7 against Hunslet.

Post World War two

Barrow dropped out of the wartime Lancashire league in 1940-1, they did not return to league competition until 1945/46. Many of the pre-war players had retired. So this was an era of rebuilding and recruiting,

The 1950s were the club's heyday. The team was captained by Willie Horne and Barrow appeared no less than three times at Wembley. On May 5th 1951, Barrow made their second appearance at Wembley and were beaten 10 points to nil by Wigan. On Saturday 27 October 1951 13,319 spectators were at Barrow to watch the home side beat New Zealand 9-5.

On April 30th 1955, Barrow made their third appearance at Wembley. This time, they won the Challenge Cup 21-12 against Workington Town, later that year they added the Lancashire Cup after a 12-2 win over Oldham.

On May 11th 1957, Barrow played again in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley against Leeds and were narrowly beaten 9 points to 7. 1957 signalled the end of the golden era of the club and most of the star players retired after this time.

The league split into two divisions in 1961/62 and because of a poor finish in the previous season, Barrow was forced to play in the second division.

Their last appearance at Wembley Stadium was in 1967, where they were strongly tipped to win the Challenge Cup final again, but were beaten by Featherstone Rovers 17 points to 12.A crowd of 77,000 paid a then record £54,435 to watch the game.

1973 saw Barrow appoint former player, Frank Foster, as coach. He built a side which won the Second Division championship in 1975/76 and reached a John Player Trophy final in 1981 only to lose 5-12 to Warrington. Phil Hogan was transferred to Hull KR in 1978 for a then world record fee of £33,000. Latterly with good 'hard' forwards and fast talented 'union' backs this team were known as the 'Harlem Globetrotters' of rugby league, always trying to keep the ball alive and exciting to watch. The only problem was inconsistency and stabilising the club in the 'Premier league' was too difficult to achieve. Barrow fluctuated between divisions and Frank was eventually replaced by Tommy Dawes in 1983.

The season 1983/84 saw Barrow win the Second Division title and the Lancashire Cup against favourites Widnes 12-8. Tommy Dawes, despite his initial success, was sacked in 1985.

In 1988/89, Australian Rod Reddy took on a player-coach role at Barrow in 1987. Barrow earned promotion to Division One but that campaign saw Barrow manage only one league win and suffer a club record 90-0 defeat at Leeds. Reddy was sacked and Denis Jackson took over as a caretaker coach for the rest of 1989/90. []

After relegation in 1990, Barrow appointed a new coach in Steve ‘Knocker’ Norton but finished 17th out of 21 in Division Two.

Modern era

When a Rupert Murdoch funded Super League competition was proposed, part of the deal was that some traditional clubs would merge. Barrow were down to merge with Whitehaven RLFC, Workington Town and Carlisle to form a new club called "Cumbria" which would compete in the Super League. Until 1995 the team was simply titled "Barrow RLFC", but they adopted the nickname "Barrow Braves" to coincide with rugby league’s switch to a summer season. Peter Roe was head coach for an 15-month period, ending in January 1996. In 1997 they merged with Cumbrian rivals Carlisle Border Raiders to form Barrow Border Raiders. The new team played all its matches in Barrow; the merger was essentially a financial arrangement only. In 2002 the Border part of the name, which was never that relevant to Barrow, which is in south Cumbria, was dropped. Under Peter Roe's second spell at Craven Park, they were National League Two champions in 2004, their first trophy for 20 years. They were promoted to National League One. However, they were relegated back to National League Two at the end of the 2005 season after winning just one of their 18 matches. The financial situation at the club forced a review of the coaching structure and the position of head coach was made part-time and the club parted company with Peter Roe. In October 2005 local ex-player Paul Crarey was appointed as head coach. In his first season as coach of the Raiders he guided them to the National League 2 play-offs on a very limited budget.

After the end of the 2007 Paul Crarey controversially resigned from Barrow Raiders, after guiding them to a second succsesive play off position. Barrow initially had lined up former Widnes coach Steve Mcormack to take over but after receiving a better position with struggling Super League club Hull KR. On Thursday 2nd November 2007 Barrow Raiders announced that former player Welsh-born Aussie Dave Clark would take over, with Dean Marwood as his assistant.

On the 23rd August 2008, Raiders gained automatic promotion from National League Two by beatil Swinton Lions 12-32 to clinch seconbd place in National League Two

2008 Squad

"As of 26 July, 2008"

Notable Former players

* Willie Horne
* Jimmy Lewthwaite
* Phil Jackson
* Keith Jarrett
* Ade Gardner
* Kevin Hastings

The club launched their Hall of Fame in 2001 with 1950s legends Willie Horne, Jimmy Lewthwaite and Phil Jackson its inaugural inductees.


*Challenge Cup - 1954-55
*Division Two Championship - 1975-76
*Rugby League National League Two Championship - 2003-04
*Lancashire Cup - 1954-55, 1983-83

External links

* [ Official site]
* [ Unofficial site]
* [ Barrow Raiders forum on]
* [ National League website]
* [ Barrow Raiders Fans Forums -]

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