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Rugby Union: Barking head coach Ollie Smith hopes win over Saffron Walden is first of many in London One North this season

15:00 21 September 2016

The main stand at Gale Street, home of Barking RFC (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

The main stand at Gale Street, home of Barking RFC (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO)

Gavin Ellis/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY - FA Premier League and Football League images are subject to DataCo Licencing restrictions

Former British & Irish Lions centre pleased to break duck as boss of Gale Street club

Head coach Ollie Smith is expecting Barking to kick on in London One North after earning their first win of the season by beating Saffron Walden 16-14 away from home.

Prior to their trip to Chickney Road, the Gale Street outfit had started the season with consecutive defeats away to Letchworth and at home to Thurrock.

It was a better story for Barking this time around though, and what made the win more impressive was the fact they recovered from being 7-6 down at half time to go on and win, with two Charlie Fatoma penalties their only scores in the opening 40 minutes.

A further Fatoma penalty followed in the second half, before the hosts touched down for their second try of the day in the 48th minute.

Barking, though, hit the front with a try 10 minutes from time and held on in the closing moments to secure a first win of the season.

And Smith hopes it proves to be the first of many this year in what he expects to be a transitional season for the Gale Street side.

“It’s been a rough few years for the club, so we knew this season always had to be one where we had to take a step in the right direction. The first win will help us do that and get the ball rolling,” said Smith.

“There were encouraging signs in the Letchworth match and in parts against Thurrock, but we wanted to get the win and push on.

“Saffron Walden had started the season well with two wins from two, but we were able to come away with the win which was all-important.”

The victory has moved Barking up to 10th in the standings, above the likes of Chelmsford and Ruislip, who, like Barking, were involved in the relegation fight last season.

But as long as the Gale Street club continue to play like they did in their win over Saffron Walden, Smith seems confident that Barking will avoid another scrap towards the bottom of the table this time around.

He added: “I’ve always said I want improvements week-to-week, but wins decide where you ultimately finish in the table.

“After every game, you look and see what you did well, but more importantly see what did not work as well.

“Against Saffron Walden, we did well for 70 minutes, but that does not always guarantee you a victory. If you don’t take your chances or give away too many soft penalties, then you might lose, or it would definitely be closer.

“We missed a few opportunities early on, but if we had taken just one of those, then it would have been a different game.

“It is frustrating, but we are

understandably pleased to get the win. The boys have to understand, though, that if Charlie was taking kicks for the opposition, then they would have won the game.

“They have to understand there are still areas for improvement, but the positive is that everything we need to work on can be fixed.”

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