It's Park strife for struggling Barking
PUBLISHED: 15:03 19 March 2008 | UPDATED: 12:55 11 August 2010
NATIONAL THREE SOUTH Rosslyn Park 32 Barking 24 THE SPECTRE of relegation is looming large for Barking after yet another defeat, this time against Rosslyn Park at the weekend. After what can only be described as an abysmal first half performance, the Gore
NATIONAL THREE SOUTH
Rosslyn Park 32 Barking 24
THE SPECTRE of relegation is looming large for Barking after yet another defeat, this time against Rosslyn Park at the weekend.
After what can only be described as an abysmal first half performance, the Goresbrook side hauled themselves up by their bootlaces to give their travelling supporters something to cheer as they staged a grandstand finish in an attempt to overtake Park's 25-6 interval lead.
Ultimately they failed though as just one more score would have brought them a losing bonus point and no-one at Roehampton, Park or Barking supporter, would have begrudged them at least that.
As expected, Park attacked from the start and it became obvious that Barking, missing skipper Rob Batho and Samoan star Fili Leato from their back row, would have their work cut out to hold the big Rosslyn Park pack.
But it was the visitors who drew first blood. A catch and drive on the Park 22 then saw the ball released to the backs and Park stepped offside to give Harry Bryan a simple 25-yard penalty for a 3-0 lead.
The advantage lasted three minutes before Park's Richard Mahony replied with a penalty of his own and three minutes later came the expected catch and drive try for Park, hooker Chris Ritchie completing a 10-yard score.
Mahony increased that lead on 23 minutes when Park were awarded a penalty on the halfway line and some backchat from Barking saw the kick moved 10 yards closer to the posts and into range for Mahony to make it 11-3.
Soon afterwards, Ritchie nailed his second try, almost a carbon copy of his first, this time Mahony adding the conversion.
Barking struck back with a 35-yard drop goal from Harry Owens, but Park had the last word when second row Mike Poppmeier finished off a series of rucks on the Barking line by scoring under the posts for Mahony to convert.
Whatever coach Mark Robinson said to his players at the interval certainly had an effect as a totally different looking Barking side roared into their opponents from the start.
Owens landed a huge penalty from five yards inside the Park half and Barking continued to pressure a shell-shocked opposition.
A quick penalty from 10 yards out saw Andy Eaton feed Tom Alexander for the try, but Owens' missed kick left the score 25-14.
Disaster struck within minutes though as Park attacked round the blindside of a scrum and two woeful missed tackles allowed full back Ed Lewis-Pratt to canter in under the posts for Park's fourth try and a bonus point, Mahony again adding the extra points.
Barking made two substitutions, bringing on Joseph Cook for Eaton and Francis Ambrose to replace an obviously suffering Bryan.
Ambrose slipped into the back row, Adam Bishop moving to the wing and Scott Shaw taking over at full back.
Just a minute later, Owens slotted another lengthy penalty attempt to make it 32-17 before what might have been the turning point for Barking.
Home flanker Jon Underwood was yellow-carded for persistently handling in the rucks and a minute later a quick penalty was taken on by Ambrose.
The rest of the forwards arrived to followed up and drive Dan Collier over for the try, Owens adding the extras.
With 12 minutes remaining the impossible suddenly seemed possible for Barking, but the Park defence remained solid and not even a penalty chance came Barking's way.
To have performed with such fire and spirit in the second half and come away with nothing to show for it was bitterly disappointing.
Skipper Paul Everitt said: "There was more heads up and committed rugby in that second half than we have produced in our last three games."
The defeat saw Barking drop one place in the table after Havant squeezed to a 12-11 win over London Scottish.
With three games remaining, Barking's home encounter with Clifton in a fortnight's time now becomes monumentally important.
They must win it and take a four-try bonus, while at the same time denying Clifton a losing bonus point because Barking's last two games are away to third-placed Canterbury and home to league leaders Mounts Bay.
This Saturday, Barking are scheduled to face Eton Manor at Nutter Lane in the semi-final of the Essex Senior Cup, kick-off at 2.30pm.