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Learning curve continues for Barking rugby starlets

PUBLISHED: 15:49 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:05 11 August 2010

BOOT-IFUL: Craig Ratford kicked Barking to victory

BOOT-IFUL: Craig Ratford kicked Barking to victory

BARKING rugby coach Alex Codling believes Saturday s victory at home to Richmond will prove to be a valuable lesson for his young starlets, writes Iain Liddle

BARKING rugby coach Alex Codling believes Saturday's victory at home to Richmond will prove to be a valuable lesson for his young starlets.

With 10 minutes to go in the contest, the home players trailed their visitors by a single point and were staring down the barrel at a shock defeat.

However, Barking, inspired by 18-year-old ace Craig Ratford, gathered their composure and fought back to win dramatically thanks to two late drop goals from the outside half.

Codling says the teenager's performance was indicative of the side's display as a whole and hopes the experience will hold them in good stead for the rest of the campaign.

"It was a very even contest," reflected the coach afterwards.

"They came and had a real go at it. We're used to scoring freely, but that was the biggest test we have had at home all season.

"Richmond were very positive and are probably lower in the table than they should be.

"They passed the ball when they could and made it very difficult for us, but we did well and our scramble defence was excellent.

"We learnt that any team is capable of beating us on any given day in this league, but we dug in and got the win so I'm very happy."

Codling added, of his match-winner: "He missed a couple, but it was very difficult and the ground was very soft.

"He's an 18-year-old boy who did very well and the beauty of it is that we're a very young side and all the players will learn from games like that one."

The win means Barking remain on top of the National Two South table, but they are now level with Ealing on 55 points after the west Londoners won their game in hand.

The Goresbrook side face another tricky road trip this weekend when they travel to Lydney and will hope to avoid a repeat of their last trip to Western England, when they suffered their sole defeat of the season so far at Clifton.

"Lydney are the archetypal West Country team in that they are big and physical," said Codling.

"However, they also have a very good outside half, who is a good tactical kicker so we will have to play well to get anything from there."

Lock Tim Collier was expected to return for the fixture, but will now miss the game after suffering a setback with his ongoing finger injury.

n FOR Saturday's match report, see inside.


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