THE Bulls’ play-off hopes are receding faster than the water levels in Scammonden Reservoir.

While it is still mathematically possible for Mark Dunning’s men to make the top six they are now nine points behind their latest conquerors Barrow with seven matches to go.

Rarely did the Bulls threaten at Craven Park and there was a lack of passion, confidence and leadership. 

There was a minute’s silence at a breezy Barrow and a squall made it difficult for all concerned to remember Barrow supporters Brian Rawlings and Ken Harper and stalwart Barrow players Phil Jackson and Don Wilson.

Jackson captained Great Britain in their 40-17 win against Australia at the SCG in 1951 and was a World Cup-winner three years later.

The legendary duo definitely inspired Barrow more than the Bulls, who went into the changing rooms trailing 18-0 at half-time and came out on the wrong end of a bitty second half as well.

It took the home side less than two minutes to go in front when winger Shane Toal broke down the left, passed inside to former Bull Ryan Shaw and the move continued right to Hakim Miloudi for the prolific Tee Ritson to score.

It proved to be the highlight of the match and the only choice moment until the Raiders scored their final try in the closing minutes.

After going behind the Bulls then forced a goal-line drop-out and had another chance when Barrow went short with the kick and knocked on, but that was followed by a knock-on by Jordan Lilley so the attack fizzled out.

Then came a moment to forget for young Bulls full back George Flanagan Jr, who was pinned near the dead-ball line and, instead of dying with the ball, tried to throw a speculative pass that went forwards and presented Jarrod Sammut with the softest of tries.

Ryan Shaw’s goal made it 10-0 and the Raiders stretched their lead after Dec Patton had been penalised for a forearm facial on home man of the match Ellis Gillam, who soon scored their third try in the 23rd minute, with Shaw tagging on the goal.

Barrow then knocked on near the Bulls line before Flanagan Jr was caught groping at a wicked high, spiralling Sammut bomb which led to Miloudi being held up over the line.

A high tackle on replacement Carl Forster then gave Shaw an easy two points to make it 18-0 at the interval. 

Jarrad Stack got a high shot from Dec Patton to maintain the pressure on the Bulls line but they survived.

The Bulls fans finally had some joy after 52 minutes when a Patton cross kick was caught by left winger Ryan Millar, who passed from a prone position for centre Kieran Gill to acrobatically go over. 

The visitors were finally playing with a bit of fire in their bellies and Lilley had a try disallowed for a knock-on

A scuffle between Brad England and Sam Brooks was then succeeded by a Barrow attack being ended for obstruction so referee Cameron Worsley then came back for the original high-tackle offence by England

Raiders then forced a goal-line drop-out and a bitty half was enlivened by a 66th-minute Luke Cresswell try after a break by Shaw. 

The latter then added the goal to make it 24-4.

Good hands then put Ritson over for his second in the right-hand corner to make it 28-4 after 73 minutes, Shaw drawing the ball in with his left boot to add the extras.

Lilley then broke with Sam Hallas on his shoulder but the attack petered out when Lilley’s cross-kick was caught by Miloudi and the game ended seconds later.

BARROW: Barrow: Cresswell; Ritson, Miloudi, Shaw, S Toal; Sammut, Johnston; Brooks, Wood, Gillam, Langtree, Stack, Iaria. Interchange: Mossop Crellin, Emslie, Forster.
BULLS: G Flanagan Jr; Kear, R Evans, Gill, Millar; Patton, Lilley; B Evans, Doyle, Crossley, Butler, England, Hallas. Interchange: G Flanagan Sr, Gannon, Walker, Murphy.
Referee: Cameron Worsley
Attendance: 2,559