Stadium hampers Barrow’s SL dream

Barrow have been warned that their Craven Park home could be the stumbling block in their Super League dream.

Anna Rosewarne, the Rugby League’s operations director, has told Raiders chairman Des Johnston: “We are full of admiration for what you have done at Barrow.

“You have got it right on the field and are looking at the club’s infrastructure.

“But Craven Park is a tired old stadium.”

The Rugby Football League has recently warned several top flight clubs about their facilities, and while Barrow have aspirations to reach Super League in 2012, their facilities are of a similar standard to those clubs who find their top flight status under threat.

Johnston said: “That is something we are well aware of and we know there is work to be done.

“It cannot be done all at once and my priority has been on the field to give the town a team to follow and of which they can be proud.

“We will have to see how things pan out.

“The RFL has come under a lot of serious flack recently, particularly over the way it has seemed they helped promote Celtic Crusaders and then the discovery that some of their players were here illegally.

“There could be some serious ramifications.

“I’ve even heard talk of the Championship breaking away from Super League and that could possibly tear the game apart.

“All we ask is that we all play off a level playing field but if there are some dispensations, then we don’t want to be left out.

“I have talked to people at Gateshead and it seems they get all the dispensations in the world.”

Barrow look set to seal the Championship title against Thunder on Monday – something which seemed unlikely after a mid-season slump which saw them lose the Northern Rail Cup final against Widnes and the demotion of head coach Dave Clark.

However, they have regrouped over caretaker coach Steve Deakin, and have won all four games since he took charge.

Barrow need just a win to secure the title – with main rivals Halifax suffering a remarkable downturn in form, losing five consecutive games when just two months ago, they looked odds on to win the league.

To qualify for the Super League application process for 2012, clubs must either win the Northern Rail Cup or appear in a Championship Grand Final – owing to their mid-season triumph, Widnes are currently the only club to satisfy this criteria.

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