London Two North East: Romford & Gidea Park ready for derby with Old Cooperians insists director of rugby Steve Barfoot
PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 March 2017
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Crow Lane club have impressive record at home this season and they are looking to build on that this weekend when rivals visit
Romford & Gidea Park’s director of rugby Steve Barfoot is fully aware a lot is riding on tomorrow’s (Saturday) London Two North East derby with Old Cooperians.
The two local clubs do battle at Crow Lane with just a solitary point separating them in the table.
A victory for Park would see them widen the gap between their rivals and consolidate fourth position, but defeat would see them drop to fifth.
“We have a fully fit squad to pick from, so that makes things interesting for us and we are looking forward to the game,” said Barfoot.
“Everybody is available, which is obviously an added bonus and there is a lot riding on the match.
“There is rivalry of course and whoever wins will be fourth and have bragging rights, so that’s all motivation.
“It is a local derby and it will be a close game, but if our attitude is right then we should do well.”
Although plenty is at stake, Barfoot is keen for his Romford players to remain focused and not get drawn into a scrap.
The previous meeting on November 5 saw Old Cooperians win 26-24, but only thanks to a late converted try.
Romford were on course to claim the points at St Mary’s and are keen not to let a similar position slip this weekend.
“Whoever wins is probably going to finish the season ahead of the other. The loser will find it difficult to come back,” said Barfoot.
“Last time they scored with the last play of the game to win and played on a fault in our defence.
“But that isn’t there any more, we have been working hard in training and we shall see what happens.”
The Crow Lane club go into the contest off the back of a 35-20 win against Rochford Hundred on February 18.
Park’s form at home this season has also been excellent with them winning nine of their 10 fixtures on their own turf.
With that in mind, Barfoot wants his squad to approach Saturday’s match like any other in the division.
He added: “At the end of the day it is just another game in this league and another team put in front of us who we need to beat.
“We are on a good run and we want to keep that going, but it is going to be tough because they are a decent side.
“It’s important we play our game and not theirs, so if we do that right then it should be a good day for us.
“Obviously it is going to be close and there will be no surprises. We both know what the other is about and it will be a typical derby match.”