View Full Version : National League 1 - Winner takes all decider

Teh Mite
11-05-11, 09:54 AM
Barking hosted London Scottish for the NL1 decider to determine who will be in the Championship next season.

With seconds to go, Barking (in red) were 13-10 up.

These are the final moments of the game.

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Spoilers (Click grey bit to read)

Match Report By Ian Aitken
London Scottish snatched victory from the jaws of defeat yesterday to win 13 -17 in the winner takes all National League One title decider at Goersbrook. Full credit to Barking who performed superbly throughout this match and only an unforced error by the Barking backs in the closing minutes of the game allowed David Howells to intercept a wayward pass and race 90m down the pitch to score between the posts and secure the victory.
London Scottish kicked off at a packed Goersbrook ground with an estimated crowd of somewhere between 2/3000 in attendance on an overcast day with a slight breeze blowing across the pitch. Barking knocked on from the kick off and Scottish placed the Barking defence under pressure. At a subsequent ruck, Barking were penalised and Scottish kicked to the corner rather than taking the three points which would have been on offer. At the line out Scottish caught the ball and drove towards the Barking line. The ball was recycled a couple of times with flanker Calder emerging with the ball, who had spun out of the tackle to score just to the right of the posts. Fly half Ratford on his return to his old stomping ground added the extras to give Scottish an ideal start to the match, putting them 0 - 7 up. Barking was awarded a penalty on the 14th minute when Scottish were penalised for not rolling away from the ruck. Barking's prolific penalty taker full back Armstrong missed with his first attempt, with the ball drifting away to the left of the posts. Shortly afterwards Barking made a good break into the Scottish half, but knocked on at the ruck. At the scrum Scottish were penalised for collapsing the scrum and Armstrong coolly stroked over the penalty to reduce the arrears to 3 - 7. The Scottish defence, especially in the forwards was now being stretched. Barking was adopting a forwards focused game and was achieving success in this area of the game.
Barking began to play the game deep in the Scottish 22m and were awarded a penalty try on the 25th minute of the game after Scottish were penalised a number of times beneath the posts by the referee. Armstrong converted to leave the score all square. The remainder of the half was played equally in both halves of the pitch as both sides attempted to exert dominance. It was clear that Barking had done their homework on Scottish and tried to play the game down the middle of the park. Every time Scottish moved the ball out to their backs, each Scottish backs player was immediately tackled by two home defenders to neutralise the potent threat offered by the Scottish backs. As the first half was coming to a close Scottish made one final push up the field into the Barking 22m. Barking were penalised just outside the 22m when one their players failed to release the player at the tackle. As an omen of things to come, Ratford converted the penalty with the last kick of the half to put Scottish 10 - 7 up as the teams headed for their well earned half time break.
The second half turned out to be a mirror of the first, with Barking playing a forwards dominating style. Scottish began to make a number of unforced errors, such as failing to take a number of "up and unders," together with knocking the ball on when they were under pressure from oncoming Barking attackers. Barking restored parity in the scores on the 42nd minute when Armstrong converted a penalty from just outside the Scottish 22m. Barking from this point on took a firm grip and hold of the game and kept the Scottish defence constantly under pressure. The pressure finally paid off on the 51st minute when Barking took the lead in the match for the first time. Another Armstrong penalty, pushed Barking into the driving seat as they led 13 - 10. The home side took the game deep into Scottish territory and appeared to be closing out the game.
The Scottish cause was further dented in the closing minutes of the half when replacement second row Karonias was yellow carded on the 76th minute deep in the Scottish 22m for an infringement at a line out. Barking opted to take a scrum from the penalty, which they won possession and moved the ball through the backs as they looked for the finish off the game in style. Fortunately for Scottish, the Barking backs made a wayward pass and winger Howells gleefully pounced on the ball and put on the after burners to race away and score between the posts, leaving the Barking defence in his wake. Ratford converted again with the last kick of the second half to leave Scottish with an amazing 13 - 17 victory.
Cue scenes of mass celebration, as the hordes of Scottish supporters raced onto the pitch to celebrate with the players, coaching staff and management team. All the hard work this season by the players had finally paid off. Everyone will understandably focus on the Howells interception try that sealed this fantastic win. For me a league title is decided over the complete length of the season and a number of games will stand out in my mind as key turning points. At its lowest point it must have been the away heavy early season defeat by Rosslyn Park. After this game many wrote off Scottish's chances, however the team slowly but surely found that inner belief which all champions possess as they went on their remarkable 27 match winning sequence. During this sequence a number of games stand out; the last minute drop goal in the home game against Tynedale, the remarkable resolute defence and tackling in the away match at Redruth when Scottish went down to 13 players, the "bounce back" qualities shown by the team at Coventry when they had to come back from behind. No doubt there will be many more.
A massive thank you to the fantastic turnout by the Scottish supporters yesterday. It was truly an outstanding effort by each and every one of you cheering on the team. The number of kilted supporters was amazing and to each and every one of you, you made the day such a success and to a certain extent it felt like a Scottish home match. Finally, as in all head to head deciders such as in yesterday's match, there sadly has to be a loser and full respect to Barking for your monumental efforts throughout this season.
Signing off for a well earned close season break and look forward to seeing you all in the Championship. Yes, you did read that correctly and how good does that sound? London Scottish will be mixing it with the big boys next season. Com'on you Scottish!
The away supporters Man of the Match award was presented to Lewis Calder.

11-05-11, 10:05 AM
Bloody hell, the Barking flyhalf must hate his life atm

11-05-11, 10:07 AM
Congrats to London Scottish!

11-05-11, 10:18 AM
Jesus! why would you throw a looping miss pass with seconds to go in the most important game of the season?! On the club website match report (here (http://www.pitchero.com/clubs/barkingrufc/s/results-reports-17670.html&official=1&fixture_id=152374)) they say that they were going for the kill with a try; but surely just play it safe. Even with an overlap throwing a miss pass isn't the best idea because they're just allowing the defence to drift.

I suppose hindsight is a wonderful thing.

EDIT: On the Youtube video someone has said it happened in the 88th minute! If that is the case then that is an astonishing decision by the flyhalf.

11-05-11, 10:35 AM
Even if it was the 78th minute the drop goal would've been the more sensible option - the defence looked fairly solid and the DG would mean they'd need a try and conversion from the restart - as you say though, all in hindsight

Well done to London Scottish though, bet the winger (?) couldn't believe it when he caught the pass :lol:

11-05-11, 10:45 AM
Yeah he must have been going wild when he scored!

I have been told by an inside source that if Barking had gone up to the Championship they would have gone bust, such are their money problems, so the flyhalf has actually done them a favour!