Ilford Wanderers nick win at arch rivals Barking in a real tense and physical encounter
PUBLISHED: 15:00 27 September 2019
Contests between Ilford Wanderers and Barking go back to the 1940s but few could have been as hard fought, tense and exciting as the London Three Essex meeting on Saturday.
Barking were the first out of the blocks, catching Ilford's defence flat-footed to score under the posts for a 7-0 lead.
Their big pack threatened to dominate the scrum but Ilford held their own and managed to get around the park quicker.
After their initial setback Ilford put together a series of attacks, getting their forwards into driving range, which they duly did, taking the home forwards over the line for skipper Jason Taylor to score.
Barking were soon back on the attack aided by some sloppy Wanderers defensive work and the home side went into half time with a comfortable 22-10 lead.
Ilford needed a quick score after the break and they found it through the individual skills of fly-half Jay Walsh.
After the forwards had worked hard to get into Barking's 22 the ball was sent right where Walsh, seeing the defence up quick, chipped over the top to collect and touch down.
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With both teams feeling the heat, Barking struck back to gain a 27-22 lead and Ilford were running out of time.
But in a fitting finale, Ilford set off on a series of drives which took them into Barking's 22 and, with the home side struggling to stop the drives legally, a penalty was inevitable.
While the Barking forwards caught their breath, Wanderers man of the match Morgan Brown took a quick tap penalty and sailed over the line untouched.
With about seven minutes left on the clock, Barking to their credit were straight back on the offensive, setting up a ruck in Ilford's half.
A anderers player held on to the ball a fraction too long and Barking had one more chance with a penalty to the left of the posts. Te crowd held their breath as it thudded against the post and bounced back into play.
In the last play, Ilford got to the ball first and sent it into touch for a deserved win.
Skipper Taylor said: "That was a performance of grit and determination. Barking have a big pack, but we dealt with it and faced every challenge."
Coach Alex Berbank added: "I don't think we can fault our application and desire to win.
"Maybe we have to tighten up a bit but that will come over the next few weeks. The boys did themselves proud."