Rugby: Cooperians get better of Barking

PUBLISHED: 16:53 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:53 01 September 2017

Nathaniel John (left) celebrates a try for Old Cooperians (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Nathaniel John (left) celebrates a try for Old Cooperians (pic George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Old Cooperians made it two from two for pre-season as they came out on top 33-19 under the Friday night lights at Barking.

Having beaten Hackney away from home 38-12 the previous weekend, head coach Craig Ratford made a number of changes to his starting XV as players returned from their summer holidays.

New forwards player-coach Nik Grier was handed his debut and Coopers broke the deadlock after 15 minutes when their dominant scrum set the backs up to go wide and an illegal slapdown by the Barking wing left the referee with no option but to award a penalty try.

Barking then came back immediately from the restart and pounced on a loose ball to bring the score to 5-7 on the half-hour mark.

But Coopers responded with a well-worked try of their own, as outside centre Tony Bly crossed in the corner, before the away team lost second row Greg Fox to a broken finger.

However, it was Barking who had the last word of the first half as their forwards drove over for a converted try, and the teams went in at the break level at 12-12.

Ratford made a few changes at the interval which paid dividends almost immediately, as another dominant scrum set up wing Kolade Awobowale to open his account for the evening, crossing in the corner, with Bly adding the conversion.

Moments later Coopers gained field position in the Barking 22 and from the resulting lineout prop Nathaniel John drove over at the back of a rolling maul, with the conversion slotted once more by Bly to increase the visiting team’s lead to 26-12.

However, the best try of the evening was yet to come in the shape of Coopers’ fifth and final score and Awobowale’s second, as the wing collected the ball some 40 metres out, handed off the Barking outside centre, crashed down their left wing, and turned the full-back inside out before scoring under the posts.

Bly’s kick made the score 33-12 with a few minutes left to play, and just before the final whistle Barking mustered up a converted try close to the posts as some consolation.

The 2nd XV open their pre-season with a visit to Mavericks this weekend, with the first team beginning their London Two North East campaign with a home match against Cantabrigian on September 9.

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