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National One: Barking 42 Wharfedale 24

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Barking may have had their relegation from National One confirmed, but they showed true fighting spirit with a 42-24 win at Gale Street on Saturday.

It’s clear Barking won’t go down without a whimper, but many will be wondering why they haven’t been able to reproduce this sort of attacking display on a regular basis as they ran in five tries at the weekend.

Injuries may be one of those reasons and it was another case of the walking wounded at the weekend with openside flankers James Ngan and Tom Yellowlees ending the match in the second row, and conventional wings Charlie Broughton and Joe Hardy in the back row.

“We had to shuffle things around in the second half that’s for sure, so I am proud of the guys,” said head coach Tim Usasz. “In attack, we got into our shape really well and we haven’t done that as consistently as we’d have liked throughout the season.

“To put 42 points on a side that are very good is very pleasing.”

On almost every occasion that the hosts went forward it looked as though they would score, but it was the Yorkshire visitors who recorded the first try when Rob Baldwin went over after five minutes.

The lead did not last long as from a five-metre scrum the ball eventually found its way to Craig Ratford, who in turn fed Broughton and the former London Scottish man forced his way over. Chris Ashwin added the extras.

However, the game changed once again when Barking were adjudged to have infringed in defence and referee Terry Hall awarded Wharfedale a penalty try, which Tom Barrett converted.

The scoreline continued to grow at regular intervals, firstly as Ashwin kicked two penalties in seven minutes.

A great scrum then drove Barking into a good position on the half-hour and as the ball worked its way out wide Ratford kicked and chased.

Fortunately the ball deflected kindly to scrum-half Tom Parker who weaved his way over and Ashwin converted for a 20-17 lead.

Back came Wharfedale through Ben Sowrey’s pushover try, but Barking ended the half on top and Tom Burns dived over to give them a 27-17 half-time lead.

Usasz’s side completely dominated the second half as great play saw the ball find Andrew Henderson who powered his way through, Ashwin slotted over the conversion and a penalty before Joe Hardy scored a fine breakaway try with the assistance of Broughton. Wharfedale’s only score of the half came through another pushover effort from Sowrey.

Barking: Ashwin, Nelson, Henderson, Broughton, Hihetah, Ratford, Parker, Ambrose, Bloomberg, Mullins, Burns, Armstrong, Ngan, Wood, Yellowlees. Replacements: McGrath, McIntyre, Turner, Hardy, Gash.

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