Challenge Cup third round: Barrow Raiders 38 Keighley Cougars 22

PAUL March was critical of his side’s defence as the Cougars were knocked out of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup by Barrow Raiders.

Keighley were the surprise package of last season’s competition in reaching the quarter-finals but they fell at their first hurdle in a game overshadowed by an injury to Barrow’s Lee Haney.

A second-half clash of heads with team-mate Josh Ward in the tackle led to Haney being airlifted to hospital moments after the final hooter, with the player thankfully being discharged later that evening.

March was left to rue a mistaken-ridden display in defence. He said: “We’ve let in 38 points away from home and defensively it’s not good enough. We came up with a lot of errors.

“We can’t use the lengthy stoppage for the injury as an excuse because the reason we lost that game was defensively. Barrow did everything right which we did wrong.

“Everyone has got to be held accountable for their own actions when we’re out there playing and if changes need to be made this week, they will be made.”

The Raiders grabbed the afternoon’s opening score when Liam Campbell broke from dummy half and offloaded to Chris Hankinson, who sent Haney over in the corner.

However, Keighley took the lead when Jesse Sheriffe turned Kristian Tyson inside and out before passing to Paul Handforth, with the half-back finding the space behind to score.

Barrow grabbed two tries in three minutes in similar fashion to go six points in front, with Liam Harrison breaking to put Josh Ward over before Campbell’s break sent Max Wiper to the whitewash.

There was a moment of controversy as Haney’s second try was controversially disallowed for offside when he appeared to be two metres onside.

Cougars then levelled the scores, with Tyson’s poor positioning this time allowing Danny Jones to stroll past before his offload gave Josh Lynam the chance to score in front of the away fans.

Home tries from Matty Heaton and Nathan Mossop put Raiders in the clear but Cougars closed the gap to 20-16 at half-time when David March rolled over the line after being ruled not to have been tackled.

The game was held up for some time after 53 minutes following the incident involving Haney, who was stretchered off and given oxygen before being airlifted to Royal Preston Hospital after the game.

When the match restarted, Keighley were their own worst enemies when Peter Lupton’s clever dummy put Campbell over next to the posts after 60 minutes.

He had a second minutes later when he left Olly Pursglove and Jesse Sheriffe for dead with some clever footwork before Mossop sealed the victory from a Bullock offload.

The Cougars did grab a try on the hooter when Jode Sheriffe broke through a tackle, but it was too little too late.

Speaking immediately after the game on Haney’s injury, Barrow’s Paul Crarey said: “Lee has two lacerations on the back of his head which look like the Keighley player in the challenge has accidentally stood on him.”

Haney had severe swelling around his neck and complained of a severe pain at the top of his back but there was good news later in the day when he tweeted: “Just got out of Preston hospital. CT scans came back fine, head glued and some pain killers, now home! Cheers for all the messages.”

The fantastic work of the medical staff on duty was rightly praised by March, who said: “Lee got injured and the medical staff handled the situation really well.

“They have taken their time and made sure the player’s welfare was the priority and he received the best possible treatment that was available to him.”

Keighley return to Cougar Park this Sunday as they host Swinton Lions in the quarter-finals of the iPro Sport Cup.