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Old Cooperians to see plenty of familiar faces when Barking visit

PUBLISHED: 14:00 13 September 2018

Old Cooperians players huddle together (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Old Cooperians players huddle together (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo tgsphoto.co.uk +44 1376 553468

St Mary’s Lane club lost 30-27 at Campion last weekend

It looks like being a case of friends reunited for Old Cooperians when they welcome Barking in London Three Essex on Saturday.

A host of former Coops players are set to return to St Mary’s Lane with the Gale Street outfit this weekend.

Craig Ratford began last season as head coach of Coops, but is now back at Barking as their backs coach and fly-half.

There could also be a spot of sibling rivalry in the front row with Coops prop Nathaniel John coming up against his brother and former team-mate Samuel John, who is the skipper of the Gale Street side.

Those are just some of the interesting sub-plots leading into Saturday’s game, and current Coops head coach Pat Reed is anticipating an enthralling match.

“There’s a bit of spice with this game and we see it as a big rivalry now, so it should be the fixture to watch this weekend,” he said.

“We know they’ll want to dominate in the pack, while we’re looking to be on top in the backs.

“It should be a really good game on Saturday and we’re all really looking forward to playing Barking.”

Off the pitch, Coops and Barking will be hoping to raise plenty of funds for Saint Francis Hospice on Saturday, with both sides having chosen it as their charity for the season.

While the sides will be raising funds throughout the campaign, there will be some initiatives for the league meeting this weekend.

Coops will hope the visit from Barking brings their first win of the campaign after losing their opening league fixture 30-27 at London Borough of Havering rivals Campion last Saturday.

Reed added: “The first game was always going to be tough and because so many of the players hadn’t got the minutes they needed in pre-season, it was almost like another pre-season runout.

“We have to keep improving week by week and if we do that then it shouldn’t be too long before we are up and running.”

Away from the first team, Coops’ junior section continues to swell in numbers, with new players always welcome to join the club.

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