May 23 2013 Latest news:
Friday, June 29, 2012
Ratford announced as new Barking rugby skipper for season and predicts a solid season in National Two South.
Fly-half Craig Ratford has signed a new deal at Barking for the season and believes the right structure is in place for the club to now succeed.
The 21-year-old started life with the club in National Two South back in 2009-10 and helped kick the Goresbrook outfit to promotion to National One.
That summer he left for London Scottish, but after a two-year spell, which saw him spend time back on loan at Gale Street for the final four months of last season, it culminated in Barking being relegated back to National Two South.
But now Ratford is back for good and will captain the side this season and he feels the appointment of Director of Rugby Dean Cutting was a major factor in staying at the club.
“I have always had a strong feeling for the club and I was always prepared to stay,” said Ratford.
“He spoke to me and shared his own ideas of where the club could go and I shared those views.
“I was disappointed with the way the club was handled last year, it was clear to see the squad wasn’t good enough.
“But Dean was keen to bring the club back to what it used to be like. This season we will now have a second team back, as well as looking at the youth side of things.
“It is a hard area for rugby full stop but Richmond run three or four teams on a Saturday. There is potential here and in the area of East London.”
And the fly-half, who finished second highest points scorer in the division back in 2009-10 after racking up 274 points on Barking’s way to promotion, feels a top-six spot is not out of the question despite a relatively new squad for the second season on the spin.
“There are going to be a lot of new guys and I know how strong this division is,” he added.
“A top-six place would be a good achievement, but you never know how things turn will turn out, it is a competitive league. But firstly as a club we have got to get our feet on the ground.”
The new squad commenced training last night (Tuesday) in readiness for the season opener on September 1 at Lydney.
Beforehand they will have a pre-season friendly at home to Hertford on August 11, before a trip to National One side Rosslyn Park the following Friday, August 17, before a squad day on Saturday, August 25.