Barking fly half Craig Ratford, broke Ealing’s hearts on Saturday as his penalty in the 9th minute of added time condemned Ealing to a 19-21 defeat, and with it dealt the Vallis Way’s side chances of promotion to National Division One a huge blow.
Skipper Jay King said after the game "Ultimately the first half cost us, we were poor, but saying that Barking were extremely clinical. The wind was also a big factor in both halves. The commitment from all the guys was outstanding in the second half. We battled hard and to take the lead, only to have it snatched away is well, the only word is completely gutting. This loss will be hard to take".
The East End side started the game at a flying pace, and indeed went into half time leading 18 points to nil.
Barking second row Stuart Riding opened the scoring for Barking on 12 minutes with a well worked try. Ratford added 3 more points from a neatly taken drop goal on 19 minutes. He added a penalty on 31 minutes. and just before the break, number 8 James Kellard crossed the line to take Barking into a deserved 18-0 lead.
The second half was a different affair.
Ealing’s Director of Rugby Mike Cudmore said, "Due to our error count, game management and a wind in our face we found ourselves down by 18 points at half time. We made a coupe of changes and then delivered what we set out to do which was put Barking under pressure and force scores or pens. We took the lead but unfortunately the officials decided we had lots of injury time and gave a penalty against us in front of the posts for the last kick of the game and they won it. Barking are very good at what they do but so are we and our first half performance and score line gave us too much to do"
"Due to our error count, game management and a wind in our face we found ourselves down by 18 points at half time. We made a coupe of changes and then delivered what we set out to do which was put Barking under pressure and force scores or pens. We took the lead but unfortunately the officials decided we had lots of injury time and gave a penalty against us in front of the posts for the last kick of the game and they won it. Barking are very good at what they do but so are we and our first half performance and score line gave us too much to do"
Ealing opened the second half pressing their opponents back, and the first of four Ben Ward second half penalties came on 43 minutes. He added 3 more on 52,60 and 65 minutes to take the 12-18.
It was skipper Jay King crossed the line for a try on 72 minutes, following an excellent move by Ealing’s dangerous backs. Ward added the conversion and Ealing’s fans must have thought with it they had downed the Barking side’s colours for only the 3rd time this season as the Vallis Way side took the lead, 19-18 with only injury time to be played.
However the referee’s decision was to play some 9 minutes of time added on. Kicking off, Barking were given a scrum for an apparent Ealing knock on. When the ball shot out of the scrum, they set the ball up , and with it tried to put the Barking 10 in range of a drop goal to win the game. Ealing were up quickly in defence and despite being assured by the referee that they were onside, when Ratford went for the drop goal, it was charged down, only for the assistant referee to advise the ref on an offside in midfield. Up stepped Ratford and his penalty took the game Barking’s way, 19-21. Referee Terry Hall blew the whistle and with it the game went to Barking.
It was a cruel way to end the game, having displayed real courage in over turning an 18 point half time deficit, it will be a bitter pill to swallow, but as fly half Ben Ward said, "We can be proud of the way we played second half. It was gutting to lose the way we did but you only have 7 days to turn around until you are back in action again. We must get over this defeat quickly and enjoy the challenges each week until the end of the season."
Jay King will have to inspire his troops again, as next week they travel to Essex to face Southend, currently sitting in 5th place for another testing match. Kick off is 3pm
15 – Pete Hodgkinson 14 – Owen Bruynseels 13- Markus Burcham 12 – Joe Price 11 – Phil Chesters 10 – Ben Ward 9 – Paddy Gill 1- Steve Neville 2 – Jon Moyce 3 – Dinos Alexpoulous 4 – Ryan Gregory 5 – James Winterbottom 6 – Karl Gibson 7- Jay King (C) 8 – Luke Wallace
Subs – 16 – Luke Charlton 17 – Sungo Kuwana 18 – Gethin Davies 19 – Morgan Thompson 20 -Richard Briggs