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Ratford: Barking have a new lease of life under Wagstaff

12:00 29 November 2014

Barking RFC's Craig Ratford. Pic: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO

Barking RFC's Craig Ratford. Pic: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO

Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football Leagu

Former club captain delighted with progress Gale Street side are making.

Barking’s Craig Ratford feels head coach Steve Wagstaff has created a really good atmosphere at the club, and they are now reaping the rewards.

The Gale Street outfit defeated local rivals Romford & Gidea Park 41-5 in their London One North fixture on Saturday to secure back-to-back league wins for the first time since October 2011.

And Ratford feels everyone is beginning to enjoy their rugby once again.

“It’s going really well at the moment,” said Ratford. “There’s a really good atmosphere at the club and things have changed drastically.

“We are beginning to adapt to those changes and Steve has given us all some great guidance since coming in. He has given us a new lease of life.

“Over the last couple of years the club has been stuck on a downward spiral, but we are winning games now and the confidence is coming back.”

Barking scored seven tries in Saturday’s success, one of which went to Ratford, and the former skipper has been pleased with the manner of their recent performances.

“It’s our first back-to-back wins for a number of years so that shows you how tough it’s been,” he added.

“But I definitely feel like we have turned a corner now. It’s not just two back-to-back wins, it’s two wins with plenty of points on the board

“Scoring seven tries is good, but we had a poor 20-minute spell or so. But we finished the game well. The forwards were great once again and gave us a good platform.”

Barking have a blank weekend coming up, but Ratford feels that will help their preparation for their trip to Old Priorians on December 6 as they look to continue their good run.

“The break can work one of two ways. It’s disappointing because of the momentum we have built up,” said Ratford, who is now playing at full back as opposed to his regular fly-half role.

“But I feel it will be a positive as it gives us extra time to prepare and focus on the Old Priorians game.

“It also enables us to work on a few things that we didn’t do quite so well on against Romford and Woodford.”

Barking currently hold fifth spot in the table and, after recent impressive performances, former London Scottish man Ratford sees no reason why Barking cannot push on.

“We want to finish as high as we can,” he remarked.

“Most of the games we have lost have been by less than seven points and though it’s been disappointing to lose a couple of those away games, at least we have got some points out of it.

“We pushed a Colchester side all the way recently, and they have scored a lot of points, so that gives us confidence.

“We’ve made it hard for ourselves at times this season, and there are a lot of scrappy games in this league. You have to remain focused.

“This season has been a leveller for the club and if we can steady the ship there is no reason why we cannot make the top five and then build on that next season.”

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