Barrow Raiders v Keighley Cougars – Sunday, April 2 (2.00pm)
Barrow Raiders currently sit at the top of the Kingstone Press League 1 table after an impressive 82-0 demolition of Hemel Stags last weekend. Speaking about the game, coach Paul Crarey said, “It was very pleasing, we were clinical. We spoke to the boys about being intense for the full 80 minutes and not taking our foot off the gas and we did that.
“We made seven changes to the team and it’s doing people good knowing that there is someone that could come in and take their place. The fact we can make those changes and win by 82-0 shows we’re a pretty united, healthy group.
“We’ve nilled three teams at home now in our last three homes games but we’ve got to keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard as every team will tighten their belts when they play us.”
Ahead of this weekend’s League 1 Cup clash with Keighley, Crarey said, “They have a different coach in charge this year and a few different players so the Keighley that won the competition are not the group of players that will be playing us.
“I’ve watched them over the past few weeks and they’ve gradually got better and better. The 20-0 win for us in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup was closer than the score line suggests, it was a really tough game.
“They threw a lot of good shape at Toronto last week and for long periods of time they were totally in the game. I think they’ll be sore from the efforts they put into that game though and that might be a factor this week. We just need to focus on playing intensely for 80 minutes against them and stay in the grind because if you drop your guard someone will catch you.
“Our aim is to get through, we want to try and take our fans to Blackpool in May, that’s the final goal.”
Keighley Cougars fell to a 21-48 defeat against Toronto Wolfpack last weekend, despite leading 9-8 at half time. Coach Craig Lingard said, “I thought we threw the game away really. We were in control towards the end of the first half and then we got a quick try straight after half time to put us two scores in front.
“We were in a really good, commanding position but then we had two or three individual errors that led to Toronto’s tries to put them back in the driving seat and then they pulled away a bit stronger than us in the last 20 minutes of the game.
“Speaking to the players after the game, they were really disappointed that we’d thrown away a golden opportunity to get a real big scalp. That says a lot about our character and our mentality, we’re not happy finishing second best, we want to win every game regardless of the opposition.”
Keighley are the current holders of the League 1 Cup, following their 22-18 victory over York City Knights at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool in May last year. Lingard continued, “The game this weekend against Barrow is massively important for us. I wasn’t in charge last year but the guys within the team who were really enjoyed the experience of not only getting to the final but lifting the trophy as well.
“As holders, you always want to keep your hands on that trophy and we’ll certainly be going up to Barrow with the strongest side we’ve got available and give it everything we’ve got to hopefully reach that semi-final.
“Barrow are a confident, strong side so we’re under no illusions that it’ll be a very tough game.”
On Saturday, University of Gloucestershire All Golds travel to face Workington Town (2.30pm) for the second time in a week, following their 54-22 defeat to them in Kingstone Press League 1 last Sunday.
Oxford RLFC, who secured their place in the second round with a narrow 28-30 win over Coventry Bears take on London Skolars in the second game on Saturday (2.30pm).
In the final League 1 Cup fixture of the weekend, Newcastle Thunder take on North Wales Crusaders at Kingston Park (3.00pm).
Thunder are currently unbeaten in Kingstone Press League 1 so far this season and in the first round of the cup they secured a 10-34 victory over Hunslet RLFC to progress.
North Wales Crusaders had a more dramatic finish to their game against York City Knights in Round 1 of the Cup, as they secured the win with a golden point drop goal.
The Welsh side previously won the League 1 Cup in 2015, defeating Swinton Lions 12-8 at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool.
The draw for the semi-final of the 2017 League 1 Cup will take place on Monday, April 3 from 12.30pm.
Broadcast live on the Rugby Football League Facebook Page, England Assistant Coach Paul Anderson will be joined by BBC Rugby League Correspondent Dave Woods to conduct the draw.
Fans wanting to watch the draw should visit www.facebook.com/rugbyfootballleague/ to view the live stream.
Semi-final ties to be played on the weekend of April 29 – 30.
The League 1 Cup final will kick off the 2017 Summer Bash at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool on Saturday, May 27 (kick off 12.00pm). Tickets can be purchased by calling the Rugby League Ticket office on 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugby-league.com/tickets.