17 Sep 2023
MATCH REPORT // Newcastle Thunder 36 v 24 Barrow Raiders
Newcastle Thunder signed off their 2023 home campaign in style with a seven-try victory over Barrow Raiders.
Despite relegation being confirmed for the North East outfit the previous week, Thunder put on an emphatic display to stun Cumbrian side Barrow, who have to rely on results elsewhere to confirm their Championship status for 2024.
Thunder led 14-0 at the break with the first half proving to be the quieter of the two, despite Thunder crossing three times.
On 11 minutes, Gideon Boafo opened the scoring to extend his fantastic try-scoring run, the winger diving acrobatically to touch down in the corner. The conversion drifted wide but Thunder led 4-0.
A quick-fire double saw Thunder extend their lead at the back end of the first forty with Alex Donaghy and Alex Clegg both scoring well-worked tries.
Nikau Williams, the creator of both, for Donaghy’s score ran a superb line to break through the Barrow defence before offloading inside to the full-back who ran in from 20m out.
For Clegg’s score, Williams fooled the defence with a dummy pass before setting up the winger with a short pass from close range.
With Williams converting one from the two tries Thunder went into the break 14-0 up.
Thunder started the second half as they ended the first, scoring after just two minutes through Donaghy once more.
The full-back ran another great support line, collecting an inside pass from Mac Walsh before running it home. Walsh had initially done excellently to break the defensive line.
Williams converted and Thunder now led 20-0.
Barrow would grab their first of the afternoon on 50 minutes through Andrew Bulman, diving over in the corner. Ryan Shaw’s touchline conversion was successful, and the score stood 20-6.
Thunder were quick to respond and crossed twice within three minutes. The first through an incredible individual Boafo try, who ran in from his own 20m, outpacing several Barrow defenders on their outside and the second an intercept try from Connor Bailey, who also ran in from his own half.
Williams converted one out of the two and extended their lead to 30-6 with 57 minutes played.
Barrow responded with a quick-fire double of their own. Bulman crossed in a carbon copy of his first try just shy of the hour mark before Luke Broadbent collected loose ball to run in unopposed as Thunder were unable to deal with a kick-through.
Shaw converted on both occasions and Barrow had closed the gap to 30-18.
Although all the momentum had favoured the visiting side, Thunder would kill the game on 68 minutes through Paddy Burns.
Scoring his first try for the club, Barrow were unable to claim a high ball and knocked it straight into the hands of Burns, who dived over from close range.
Williams converted and Thunder’s lead was extended to 18 points with 10 minutes to play.
Barrow would have the final say however on 77 minutes through Andrew Jackson, having worked their way into a good position, the half-back darted over from close range.
Shaw converted to maintain his 100% record from the tee, drawing a game to a close with the final score 36-24 in favour of the hosts.
NEWCASTLE THUNDER SCORERS
TRIES: Gideon Boafo 2, Alex Donaghy 2, Alex Clegg, Connor Bailey, Paddy Burns.
GOALS: Nikau Williams 4.
SINBIN: Jay Chapelhow, Rob Tuliatu.
BARROW RAIDERS SCORERS
TRIES: Andrew Bulman 2, Luke Broadbent, Adam Jackson.
GOALS: Ryan Shaw 4.
SINBIN: Luke Broadbent, Josh Woods.