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Wagstaff praises players after Eton Manor thriller

12:00 26 January 2015

Barking head coach Steve Wagstaff. Pic: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO

Barking head coach Steve Wagstaff. Pic: Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO

Mick Kearns/TGSPHOTO c/o 27 Plaiters Way, Braintree, Essex, CM7 3LR - Editorial Use ONLY

Gale Street outfit lost in final play of the match

Barking go on the attack against Eton Manor (pic: Martin Pearl)Barking go on the attack against Eton Manor (pic: Martin Pearl)

Barking head coach Steve Wagstaff was proud of his players despite seeing them suffer a heartbreaking loss to Eton Manor at the weekend.

Reece Reed scored a try during the final play of the match at the New Wilderness to earn Jamie Connors team a 19-16 win.

Eton Manor and Barking contest a scrum (pic: George Sessions)Eton Manor and Barking contest a scrum (pic: George Sessions)

Barking had led for the majority of the match though, after Sam Randle’s early try.

Craig Ratford kicked the extras and three more penalties to put the Gale Street outfit ahead by nine-points at the start of the second half.

Barking put up a brave fight against Eton Manor in London One North (pic: Martin Pearl)Barking put up a brave fight against Eton Manor in London One North (pic: Martin Pearl)

But Manor responded to eventually earn the win and Wagstaff wasn’t happy with the performance of the referee during that decisive final play of the game.

“The referee will have a good look at the video and see what he missed,” he said.

“The referee should never decide the game, but I think that happened.

“Credit to Eton Manor they are a good team and they’ll push any team close and it will be a good race with Colchester.

“But I am really proud of my boys because they have played their hearts out and at the end of the day did we deserve to lose? I don’t think so, but Eton Manor won so fair play to them.”

Barking’s performance on Saturday was in stark contrast to the previous encounter between the two teams where Manor ran out comfortable 57-13 winners.

Wagstaff believes the display at the weekend shows they have grown since that defeat in September.

He added: “We have had a lot of change of personnel, but equally the boys knew they didn’t do themselves justice during that earlier defeat.

“We were building so it was our third ever game as a coaching team together and also as a team so they were all gelling.

“But it showed against Manor how far we have come as all the team, one to 18, knew the pattern.”

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