London Two North East: Steve Barfoot disappointed with final day defeat, but not Romford & Gidea Park’s effort
PUBLISHED: 17:00 13 April 2017
Crow Lane club were leading against Woodford for most of Saturday’s game before running out of steam and suffering a 34-31 loss
Steve Barfoot was disappointed to see Romford & Gidea Park finish a fine London Two North East campaign with a 34-31 defeat at home to local rivals Woodford on Saturday.
The Crow Lane club were still able to pick up two bonus points from the match, but a victory would have seen them end the season in third place rather than fourth.
But considering they had to play most of last Saturday’s encounter with 14 men, it was a fine effort by Park to claim any type of reward.
“It was disappointing to end the season with a home defeat and especially with Cantabrigian losing as well,” said Barfoot.
“We could have sneaked third, but I did say last week that I was happy with fourth, so we’ll take that and hopefully we can build on this for next year.”
A 10th-minute red card to full-back Mitchell Smith left Park with a big task against Woodford, but they relished the challenge.
Two tries from Charlie Wilkinson and a single score from Pete O’Brien, plus one conversion from Darrell Braiden, gave the hosts a 17-14 lead at half time.
Jake Jones and Bamidele Coker got in on the act after the restart to put Park 31-21 ahead despite playing with a numerical disadvantage.
But with fatigue setting in and the scorching weather not helping, Woodford hit back with some late tries to claim a slender victory.
“It was hot on Saturday and I think it probably did take its toll in the end, but the boys did stick to their task anyway,” added Barfoot.
“We were winning up to the final minute, but played with a man less and in that heat it was all going to catch up with us eventually.
“Fair play to Woodford because they took their chances and got the win, but we were disappointed to lose our last home game.”
Barfoot admitted he had no complaints about Smith’s red card and revealed he will not be available for the Essex Intermediate Cup final against Rochford Hundred on April 22 at Bancroft.
And Park’s director of rugby paid tribute to the work-rate of his men, who pushed Woodford all the way at Crow Lane.
“In fairness to the boys, they played 70 minutes with 14 men, so full credit to them for the effort they put in,” said Barfoot.
“There were no complaints about the red. It was definitely a sending-off, so Mitch will miss the final at Bancroft now.
“It was still a good performance considering the circumstances, but we didn’t play overly well.
“They scored in the last minute to win it, so full credit to them, but we have played better this season.”
Romford will enjoy this weekend off, before turning their attention to April 22 when they face division rivals Rochford in the cup final.
Park finished four places and nine points ahead of their opponents and won the most recent encounter.
Barfoot added: “We have taken a break from training this week and we have Saturday off, but we will be back at it on Tuesday and Thursday and then hopefully we win the final.”
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