SOME players were treated for hypothermia, others were wrapped in thermal blankets and even the least affected were still shivering while eating their post-match meal after Oldham’s 16-6 defeat in this second pre-season friendly at the J F Hornby Stadium.
Oldham coach Scott Naylor felt it should have been abandoned midway through the second half with the game in the balance and Raiders leading only 10-6.
Barrow boss Paul Crarey said: “Every player deserved a medal. Conditions were awful. A couple of our boys have hypothermia.
“Scott (Naylor) has a good little side there. Oldham should go well in League 1.”
Roughyeds were without six players who figured in the Law Cup win at Rochdale and fielded all five of their trialists — Ben West, Zak McComb, Chris Barlow, Harry Maders and Joe Martin.
West, McComb and Barlow played the full game.
This much-changed side pushed Barrow all the way with a totally-committed performance in which comeback boys Phil Joy and Craig Briscoe came through with flying colours.
Both had long spells in the Craven Park mud and led from the front — Joy in his first game since last May and Briscoe in only his second run-out since August, 2016.
Joy, who crowned an impressive performance with his side’s only try just before half-time, said: “It was just fantastic to be playing again. I’m still shivering, but it was good to score and even better to come through unscathed.”
Briscoe added: “Everything went fine for me . . . apart from the cold.”
In bitterly-cold conditions, with driving rain and a biting wind, both teams slogged it out on a soggy pitch that began to hold surface water in the second half. By the end of the game it was a muddy mess.
There was little to choose between the teams, but Barrow had the edge because they were more penetrative out wide, especially on their right, Oldham’s left, where local lad Matty Holmes, a strong-running second-row, set up two tries for his supporting centre, Declan Hulme.
Raiders also had a second-half effort disallowed for a forward pass after a Jono Smith bust down Oldham’s left edge, but that merely cancelled out an early setback for Oldham when the far-side touchjudge rubbed out a try for Matty Reid.
He followed Dave Hewitt’s grubber, picked up at speed and crashed over the line in the ninth minute, but Oldham’s delight turned to anguish when the official on the far side of the field ruled that Reid was offside.
Towards the end of an evenly-contested first quarter, a huge big-hit by Jack Spencer demonstrated Oldham’s resolve and regained possession at half-way, but it was Barrow who took the lead when a Jamie Dallimore grubber on the last tackle struck an upright and ricocheted into the path of Lewis Charnock, who touched down and then added the goal.
A Charnock 40-20 kept Roughyeds pinned back and paved the way for Hulme to score his first try in the corner, but Charnock’s conversion attempt was wide.
Oldham needed to claw their way back before half-time and it was the old firm that did it, Kenny Hughes moving from dummy half and slipping the defence-splitting pass that enabled Joy to take two defenders over the line on his back. Paul Crook goaled and it was anybody’s game.
Roughyeds dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half and they applied sustained pressure after a Matty Wilkinson break. Crook, Joy and Luke Nelmes all went close before another Wilkinson break threatened an equalising try until his chip for the corner went out as Barlow raced in for the kill.
Oldham looked dangerous again when trialist Martin made an excellent break down the right, but as gthe game edged into its last five minutes the home side put the game to bed with the second Hulme try thanks to Holmes’s crucial break.
Charnock added the goal points to provide a scoreline that perhaps flattered the home side, who had the advantage of a 6-1 penalty count.
BARROW: Ryan Fieldhouse; Shane Toal, Declan Hulme, Tom Luxham, Brett Carter; Jamie Dallimore, Lewis Charnock; Glenn Riley, Karl Ashall, Alec Susino, Jono Smith, Brad Crellin, Martin Aspinwall. Replacements, Dean Parata, Ryan Duffy, James Duerden, Andy Ford, Matty Holmes, Luke Cresswell.
OLDHAM: Kyran Johnson; Ben West, Zak McComb, Matt Reid, Chris Barlow; Paul Crook, David Hewitt; Phil Joy, Matty Wilkinson, Adam Neal, Craig Briscoe, Danny Bridge, Adam Jones. Replacements, Kenny Hughes, Harry Maders, Joe Martin, Luke Nelmes, Danny Rasool, Jack Spencer.
Referee: Marcus Griffiths. Att: 606.