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Match Preview: Barrow (A) - Challenge Cup R4. 05.04.09 @ Craven Park.
Posted by Bilko on April 02 2009 - 12:52

Barrow Raiders v Wigan Warriors - Carnegie Challenge Cup Round 4.
Sunday 5th April 2009. Kick Off 3:00pm at Craven Park, Barrow.

Well Wigan coach Brian Noble has been getting a lot of stick this last week on the back of our third defeat in four home matches against Huddersfield last Friday.

I've stated on the boards that I do have some sympathy with him because he and the club had not planned for Trent Barrett to return home a year early - and its clear to me had Barrett been here we would be near the top of the table. We certainly would have won all our three home defeats in my opinion. When we have lost it hasn't been by much.

But whilst I do have sympathy in that respect, I can't do nothing but agree with those critical of our style of play. It's not entertaining in the slightest and I am sick to the back teeth of us always starting games too slow. We proved it yet again last Friday, we ended up in a having to come from behind to win situation - which has been the case in most matches this year. It's no coincidence that our two biggest wins have been in the two games we took control of early. Ok they were against the desperately poor looking Bradford and Salford but we do need to start games a whole lot better.

Another thing that annoys me is the language Noble uses. I mean I was very amused last weekend reading the thread entitled "Your Favourite Noble-isms". He does have some weird post match sayings. But for me it's not the things he says but how he says it. It seems to be the same tone every week. You'd have more sympathy with him if on the back of a bad defeat he lost his rag in public, that way we'd all see the passion and hurt. We certainly saw that from the chairman after the 34-4 Huddersfield defeat last season. Ok it may have been due to a unluckily timed fans forum in the aftermath of it but he gave the team a public dressing down and they responded with a huge win against Hull the week after - that can't have been a coincidence.

But do I join the call for Noble to be sacked? I'm really not sure to be honest. I'm still not convinced we need to panic at this point - although one thing is for sure, another embarrassing derby day on Good Friday would be the final straw surely. He can't afford a bad Easter. I would also say I'm not sure their are too many top coaches out of work at the moment that would want the job?

It also doesn't look like Noble is in too much trouble though with the club openly chasing the signature of Martin Gleeson. On paper its a good move to try and fill the long standard void that is our right centre position but you learn not to get to excited. Wigan have an uncanny knack of signing top players on paper and then turning them into absolute duds - so we shall see. If Gleeson is to play on Sunday he would have to be signed before 5pm Friday.

Anyway this weekend Wigan get a break from the trials of Super League with the start of the road to Wembley in the Challenge Cup. With five all Super League ties, the draw was fairly kind giving us a trip to Championship side Barrow.

Trips to the Barrow version of Craven Park were a regular jaunt for Wigan fans in the 1980's but this will be our first trip there since a league clash in 1989 when Wigan beat Barrow 66-0 in the league thanks to tries from John Gilfillan (2), Shaun Edwards (2), Ged Stazicker (2), Ged Byrne (2), Phil Blake, Mark Preston, David Marshall and Dean Bell.

In the Challenge Cup this will be the eight cup meeting between the sides. Wigan have won 5 and Lost 2 of the previous seven meetings, but at Barrow the home side hold the advantage 2 wins to 1!

The last time the sides met in the Challenge Cup was back in February 1965 when Frank Parr (2), Billy Boston and Trevor Lake went over in an easy 16-0 win at Central Park. Wigan went on to beat, who you believe, Hunslet in the Cup Final that year.

In 1951 the two sides met in the Cup Final at Wembley with Wigan winning 10-0 thanks to tries from Ken Gee and Jack Hilton.

The current Barrow side have started well this season having reached the Quarter Finals of the Northern Rail Cup and winning two out of three matches in the Co-Operative Championship so far. They had been on a five match winning streak before narrowly losing 26-24 at home to Halifax last Saturday.

They do have some recognised names, especially in the forwards. At prop they have Ned Catic an experienced Australian who played in the NRL with Penrith and Sydney Roosters and with Wakefield and Castleford in recent Super League seasons. I understand he hasn't played for Barrow yet due to the visa problems but they are hoping he will arrive in time to play in this game.

Elsewhere in the centres they have Zeb Luisi who played for Harlequins between 2004 and 2007. In the back row they have Andrew Brocklehurst who played in Super League for Halifax, London and Salford whilst Paul Noone played in Super League with Warrington and Harlequins. Andy Bracek was playing for Warrington up to last season and also made a substitute appearance for St Helens in 2004.

In the backs though they perhaps lack experience and this is where I would expect Wigan to take control. Youngsters Shaun Ainscough and Sam Tomkins have been able to rip Super League defences apart at times this season with shear pace and you would expect them to do well against lower league opposition. Sam Tomkins scored five making his debut in the cup against Whitehaven last season remember.

But although Wigan did beat Whitehaven 106-8 at the JJB last season, I honestly believe this will be a tighter contest. Wigan will win, I've no doubt about that but I don't see Barrow rolling over like Whitehaven did. They will battle hard but I expect Wigan to take control in the last half hour.

It would be nice if Wigan gave one or two youngsters a chance at Barrow without being too disrespectful to them. Lee Mossop and Mark Flanagan perhaps two who would deserve a chance? I think we can afford one or two changes because I think the backs will out pace Barrow in the end. Not just Ainscough and Tomkins but George Carmont and Pat Richards will also cause problems I expect.

It's been years since Barrow had a big side like us turn up and cup fever is gripping the town and the ground almost sold out. They are a club on the up after gaining promotion last season and will relish this.

It'll be something new for many Wigan fans as well with this being our first trip to the apparent Rugby League hotbed that is Cumbria since 1996 when Workington played in Super League. It's a long way to go but I'm thoroughly looking forward to it.

Match Referee

Jamie Leahy - Aged 27 (Dewsbury)
First Pro Game: Gateshead 14 Whitehaven 54 - 22nd February 2004
First Super League Game: Huddersfield 34 Castleford 10 - 23rd July 2006
First Wigan Game: First Appointment
Finals Officiated: 2006 Northern Rail Cup Final - Hull KR 18 Leigh 22

Wigan's Record when this referee is appointed

This referee has never previously officiated a competitive Wigan match although he was in charge of our pre season clash with Huddersfield this year.

Video Referee

Not Applicable for this Fixture

Challenge Cup Head to Head Records

All Time in Challenge Cup Matches

Played 7 Wigan 5 Wins Barrow 2 Wins 0 Draws

All Time in Challenge Cup Matches at Barrow

Played 3 Wigan 1 Win Barrow 2 Wins 0 Draws

Full List of Previous Challenge Cup Ties

Date Round Opposition
1923-1924 Semi Final Wigan 30 Barrow 5 (at Salford)
1931-1932 Round 2 Wigan 34 Barrow 2
1934-1935 Quarter Final Barrow 13 Wigan 4
1945-1946 Quarter Final Barrow 3 Wigan 13
1948-1949 Quarter Final Barrow 8 Wigan 7
1950-1951 Final Wigan 10 Barrow 0 (at Wembley)
1964-1965 Round 1 Wigan 16 Barrow 0

Wigan Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 3 Lost 3

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
27th March Huddersfield (H) SL14 Round 7 Lost 08-22
20th March Salford (A) SL14 Round 6 Won 38-12
13th March Leeds (A) SL14 Round 5 Lost 10-34
7th March Bradford (H) SL14 Round 4 Won 44-10
28th February Harlequins (A) SL14 Round 3 Won 24-18
20th February Castleford (H) SL14 Round 2 Lost 22-28

Barrow Form Guide - Last Six Matches - Won 5 Lost 1

Date Opposition Competition Result Score
28th March Halifax (H) Co-Op Champ R3 Lost 24-26
22nd March Gateshead (A) Co-Op Champ R2 Won 38-14
14th March Doncaster (H) Co-Op Champ R1 Won 34-14
8th March Blackpool (H) Challenge Cup R3 Won 44-12
4th March Widnes (H) N.Rail Cup Pool 1 Won 12-04
1st March Keighley (H) N.Rail Cup Pool 1 Won 34-07

Last Six Barrow v Wigan Meetings at Craven Park

Date Opposition
1st October 1989 Barrow 00 Wigan 66 (Stones Bitter Champ.)
18th Sept 1988 Barrow 10 Wigan 24 (Lancashire Cup R1)
13th Sept 1987 Barrow 02 Wigan 36 (Lancashire Cup R1)
23rd Nov 1986 Barrow 08 Wigan 16 (Stones Bitter Champ.)
23rd April 1985 Barrow 14 Wigan 28 (Slalom Lager Champ.)
27th Mar 1983 Barrow 26 Wigan 27 (Slalom Lager Champ.)


Shaun Ainscough: 5 tries in 3 away appearances this season.


Sean O'Loughlin: Not scored in last 22 away matches since 12th May 2007.
Mike McIlorum: Not scored in last 18 matches since 21st March 2008.
Andy Coley: Not scored in last 21 matches since 14th June 2008.

Looking like Warrington will win Super League before he scores again...

Stuart Fielden: 68 games since last try at Bradford - 24/02/07

Fact of the Week

Last week saw Pat Richards fail to score either a try or goal for this first time since Good Friday last season when he came off the field injured at St Helens.
It ended a personal run of 30 consecutive appearances on the score sheet.
At JJB Stadium it was the first time he failed to score since 15th Sept 2006.

Potential Milestones

Feka Paleaaesina: Needs 1 try to reach 100 points in his club career.
Pat Richards: 15 points away from reaching 1000 points in his club career.
George Carmont: Needs 1 try to reach 50 tries in his club career.
Thomas Leuluai: Needs 2 tries to reach 50 tries in his club career.

Ticket Details

Wigan Ticket Allocation is Sold Out.

UK Radio Coverage

Local Radio Some Commentary BBC Radio Manchester
National Radio No Commentary -
At Venue Full Match Commentary BBC Cumbria - 837AM
Internet Audio Full Match Commentary Click Here for Details

Note about BBC Radio Cumbria

If you are looking to tune in your car pre or post match note that BBC Radio Cumbria's Rugby League coverage airs on AM frequencies only from 2pm. The Frequency in Barrow is 837AM but other AM frequencies across the county are 756 and 1458.

Travel Information

Directions from Wigan: Follow the M6 to junction 36. Exit the M6 at the junction with the A590 (sign posted Kendal). Follow the A590 to Barrow, passing through Ulverston, Lindall in Furness and Dalton in Furness straight into Barrow. Continue on the A590, passing Asda on your left, turn left at the traffic lights onto Duke Street. Craven Park is about 1/2 mile on your right. .

Best Match Betting

Team Odds
Wigan Warriors 1/40 Favourite
Barrow Raiders 20/1
Match Draw 66/1

Best Betting Handicap

Barrow have a 30 point start at odds of 10/11 (16/1 Draw) with William Hill.

Weather Forecast

Click Here

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