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National Two South: Barking 36 Chinnor 24

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Barking director of rugby Nick Warren admitted an enormous sense of relief after his side picked up their first National Two South win of the season at the 17th time of asking on Saturday.

Stephen Hihetah proved the star of the show with a hat-trick of tries to put Barking on course, on a day when the club remembered Peter Pudney, a lifelong supporter and member who had sadly passed away last week.

And though it was a relief for Warren, he believed the result had been coming.

“A relief is the best way of describing it. It was a strong emotional feeling at the end of the game, everyone was delighted,” said Warren.

“It is just nice to finally get the monkey off our back. But it has been coming for a few weeks now and it’s not a shock.

“I didn’t know Peter that well, but he was a real club man and for all the boys it was important to go and do him proud. It gave us an extra incentive.”

Warren was able to include former Saracens youngster Edwin Okoye in his team as well as Kieron Bowling on loan from Rosslyn Park.

But another boost for the club is the return of prop Marcus Bloomberg from London Scottish.

Playing at his preferred position of fly-half, Oliver Forrest got Barking up and running with a penalty after four minutes.

Chinnor were slow to start, but Liam Gilbert ran through under the posts and William Millett’s conversion put the visitors in front.

And it looked ominous for the home side when Millett crossed the try-line himself and added the conversion to put Chinnor 14-3 ahead.

Barking winger Charles Baffour-Awuah started the comeback for the hosts after piling on the pressure and his extra burst of pace saw him touch down three minutes before half-time.

Forrest converted and Baffour-Awuah’s opposite winger Hihetah joined the act just before the interval after a show of pace and strength from a halfway line breakaway, with Forrest again converting.

Chinnor drew themselves level after the break through a Millett penalty, but a well-worked move from Clifford Bason-Street, Forrest and Hihetah saw the latter crash over once again.

Forrest added the extras to put Warren’s side 24-17 up, but it was all square once again when Adrian Hales crossed for Chinnor and Millett converted.

But the home side ended the match on top with their finest period of the game when Hihetah went over to complete his hat-trick and James Fouracre’s converted try sent the home crowd wild.

Another achievement for the club at the weekend was that they managed to fill out three sides for one of the first times.

The development squad took on previously unbeaten Chinnor seconds and lost out 72-12, while the third XV were defeated 31-24 by Chelmsford’s second team in their Essex Merit Table Division One clash.

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