Barking v Moseley, National League 2, at Goresbrook, Gale Street, Dagenham, 8th April, 3.00pm

Joyous return…
It was a great feeling for the writer to return last week from a five-week visit to South Africa to find that Moseley were still top of National 2 and with the promotion issue beginning to clarify itself. Not a surprise, as he was able to follow the Moseley’s progress on the club website, but nevertheless, the fact that the club had not lost ground over a critical period was gratifying and thanks are due to the playing squad and coaching staff for keeping up the momentum.

The writer was home in time to go to Halifax, a very hospitable, traditional club, set in picturesque surroundings. We saw Moseley another close game between the two clubs in difficult wet and windy conditions and a five-point win that clinched promotion to National One. It was a particularly poignant occasion for the many Moseley supporters there and for those who had battled to keep the club going through the many vicissitudes that had beset the club since 1998.

New pastures
On Saturday, Moseley visit Barking RFC for the first time, now with their sights set on winning National 2.

Barking emerged from schools and then Old Boys’ rugby. In 1926, Park Modern School was founded in Barking and the first headmaster, Mr Bill Easterby, decided, against strong opposition for the predominantly soccer area of East London, that the school should play rugby. An Old Boys club came into being, finally going open in 1976.

JASON LEONARD, England’s most capped international, learned his rugby at Barking, as did Welsh international GLYN LLEWELLYN, and they – with Barking’s current Director of Rugby and former player DEAN CUTTING – played together in the same Barking Colts side, circa 1987.

Upward mobility
The RFU National Cup Competition and the Courage Clubs Championship have given Barking the opportunity to progress up the RFU structure and meet a wider range of opponents geographically and of increased quality.

As Essex Cup winners, they first played in the RFU Cup competition in 1988-9 and 1989-90, reaching the second round. They entered the courage Clubs Championship at its commencement in 1987-88 in London 3 North, being promoted in the first season and then reaching London One in 1992-3.

Under coach MATT LOVETT and captain, the aforementioned DEAN CUTTING, Barking reached National Division 5 South in 1994-5. With League reconstitutions and changes of title, they remained at the same level for 10 seasons, finishing 3rd in 1996-7 and 1997-8, and in their lowest position, 10th, in 2001-2.

Last season, their perseverance was rewarded when they won National 3 South. Dean Cutting had risen to Director of Rugby and EDDIE JONES was Director of Coaching. They have been together since 2002-3. Dean, a scrum-half, and Eddie, a lock, both played occasionally last season when Barking lost only one and drew one, and both scored tries, showing they were not past it!

Foreign legion…
This season Barking have signed an array of overseas talent including wingers Samoan FELISE AH-LING, their leading try scorer this season with 10 (four of those scored against Launceston in the first match of their first season in National 2) and MOUNGA KATAFOLU, Fijian No 8 SEVANIA ROKOBARO, South Africans, hooker WILHELM NEL, prop LEONARD LIEDENBERG, flanker B. HYDENRYCH and winger JACOBUE DE WIT and Italian international full-back CORRADO PILAT, who is their leading points scorer with 162.

Others include flanker GUILLAUME SCHUELLER and lock PAWEL DENOISIUK. A veritable ‘League of Nations’.

Last year’s class
Players who featured in last season’s emphatic promotion performance and who have played this season include leading scorers full-back BEN MONTGOMERY (236 points) and winger LLOYD WILLIAMS (20 tries), centre ANTHONY SKURR, fly-half EHAN HELMAND, flanker PAUL CADBY, lock ADRIAN BLUNDELL, back-row players JAMES KELLARD and prop GILES WALKER.

The players who have made the most League appearances for Barking, lock MACER TWYDELL and scrum-half and captain ANDY EATON have played regularly. Both have made over 100 League appearances.

Strong start

Half-way through the season at Christmas, Barking were lying in fourth place in National 2, having won seven games, including a 17-15 win over the second-placed Esher after being 0-15 down at half-time, and lost six.

Currently they have dropped two places to 6th, having been overtaken by Launceston (4th) and Wharfedale (5th) who defeated Barking at home 20-10 last Saturday. They have won 11, lost 11 and drawn one. They have lost five games at home, illustrating inconsistency in performance as some defeats have been against lower-placed clubs, Halifax, Henley and Stourbridge.

Mose on song
On their visit to Billesley in December, Barking felt the full force of Moseley’s power in an exhilarating first half, conceding four converted tries and three penalty goals (37 points) to Corrado Pilat’s penalty goal. Another converted try and a penalty in the second half gave Moseley a 47-3 win. BUXTON, RODWELL, NATHAN BRESSINGTON, ASTON and EVANS scored Moseley’s tries with THOMAS converting all five tries and kicking four penalties.

All to play for…
So the Moseley playing squad and travelling faithful journey on Saturday to Goresbrook, Gale Street, Dagenham, alongside the A13 via the M11, where Barking moved shortly after the start of League rugby in 1988.

They go with promotion assured and the National 2 Championship within reach. It’s a great position to be in with just three games to play.


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