Clifton is fourth time unlucky for Barking
NATIONAL THREE SOUTH Clifton 25 Barking 22 Having finally played this three-times postponed match, Barking will be kicking themselves at losing it after making their best start to a game all season. Coming into this encounter on the back of two successive
NATIONAL THREE SOUTH
Clifton 25 Barking 22
Having finally played this three-times postponed match, Barking will be kicking themselves at losing it after making their best start to a game all season.
Coming into this encounter on the back of two successive victories, expectations were high as they travelled to struggling Clifton, who had lost their last six games.
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Those were even higher when James Ngan gave them the lead after eight minutes with his fifth try of the season and Harry Bryan added the conversion.
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Barking pressed hard for another score, but that backfired on them when the ball was slapped out of Andy Eaton's hands in the Clifton 22.
Possession then sat up for Eaton's opposite number Ollie Sills to run the length of the field and score in the corner.
At this stage, Barking were firing on all cylinders.
The scrum and line-out were working well and the backs looked hungry for tries.
The visitors were back in front again after a quickly-taken free kick set Harry Owens off on a 30-yard run for the line where, after a quick consultation with his touch judge, the referee awarded the try to give Barking a 12-5 lead.
Then things began to go wrong. A simple penalty from John Barnes brought the score back to 12-8 as Barking lost the intensity of their play and allowed their opponents to grow in confidence.
On the half hour, Clifton centre Steve Leonard burst through the Barking defence to touch down under the posts and the conversion gave the hosts a 15-12 half time lead.
After the break, the home side struck early on when winger Ollie Sacco went over after just four minutes and stretched the lead to 20-12.
Bryan clawed three points back with a wide-angle penalty, but for the next 15 minutes it was all Clifton and the pressure paid off with a try for John Levis, again unconverted, but giving Clifton a four-try bonus point.
This had the effect of waking Barking up and they began to play with more urgency as Ngan was just beaten to the touchdown from a Bryan grubber kick and then Fili Leato and Tom Alexander combined to run the ball into the Clifton 22.
As the clock ran down, a long-range drop goal attempt by Barnes sailed wide of the Barking posts, as the visitors appeared to be leaving empty-handed.
On the stroke of full time though, that changed as Ngan won a line-out and the ball was fed to Ollie Marchon who ran for 40 yards before finding Ngan in support to score his second try of the afternoon, Bryan stroking the conversion over from the touchline.
That brought Barking a losing bonus point to take them one point further away from the relegation zone, but this weekend they face a trip to promotion-chasing Cinderford.