Barking Rugby Club nurses high hopes before promotion showdown

The Barking side which takes to the field for Saturday’s end-of-league crunch match tomm will not just be playing for a win – they will be playing for promotion to a division which could see the club take an historic stride in the world of rugby.

After two seasons unbeaten – and a promotion already under their belts from last year – Barking take on nearest rivals London Scottish at Goresbrook in an end-of-season crunch match as they seek a place in the Championship for the first time ever. Kick-off is 3pm.

London Scottish are top of National League 1 while Barking are second – but a win is likely to make them champions. A victory would catapult Barking to the forefront of semi-professional rugby and could bring fresh blood, extra sponsorship and even live coverage on Sky TV.

Director of rugby Neil Kersey, 49, said: “The achievements of the squad have been remarkable. We are the only unbeaten team in the country. It’s a credit to the work and talent of the players. We are delighted to be where we are but have big challenges ahead. Whoever goes up will thoroughly deserve it. This will be a hell of a game on Saturday.”

The club, based in Gale Street, Dagenham, is proud of its successful youth set-up, comprising more than 300 players in 12 age groups.

The average age in the main squad is just 23 and the club seeks to nurture home-grown talent including several Robert Clack School academy players among its ranks.

Mr Kersey added: “This is quite incredible to play that standard of rugby at that age –hopefully more people will join the club.”

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If the Barking boys do triumph, they will make the transition to a semi-professional level heralding a whole new era for the club.

A club spokesman added: “All of a sudden the dynamics are changing to prepare and support the club’s first team in its efforts to sustain this level over a number of seasons and to ensure that the rest of the club is a community-focused, benefitting organisation.”