Rugby Union: Old Cooperians backs coach Craig Ratford happy with season on the whole after ending with win at home to Cantabrigians

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 April 2017

Old Cooperians huddle together earler in the season (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

Old Cooperians huddle together earler in the season (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo)

©TGS Photo +44 1376 553468

Coops coach pleased with how team has fared back in London Two North East

Backs coach Craig Ratford says he is impressed with how well Old Cooperians adapted to their first term back in London Two North East.

After winning promotion last term, Coops stayed well clear of the relegation battle, finishing sixth following a 44-36 win against Cantabrigians on the final day.

And Ratford says he is happy with how the campaign went on the whole, believing it has helped Coops lay the foundations to be successful next year.

“The aim at the start of the season was to finish in the top half and myself, Pat Reed and Ian Cleverley are pleased with how the boys have done,” he said.

“We’ve surprised ourselves at times; we’d never beaten Woodford, Rochford or Romford before the start of this season.

“It’s the highest that we have ever finished as a club, so we’ve laid good foundations for next season.”

As for that final game, Coops produced a storming comeback to beat Cantabs after being 36-22 down midway through the second half.

Kolade Awobowale scored a hat-trick in the win, while Harry Fayers, Greg Fox, Reed and Jack Portsmouth all crossed.

And Ratford was delighted with Coops’ resilience after coming from behind late on to snatch the triumph.

“We were behind with about 25 minutes left, but we stuck at it and started to play our patterns,” he added.

“When we were trailing at half-time, the message was to keep going and it was the same when we were trailing throughout the second half.

“We always had that belief and we took our chances when they came late on, so I think we deserved the win.”

Awobowale’s treble against Cantabs capped a special year for the winger, who comfortably finished as Coops’ top try scorer.

The Coops flyer ended the season with 24 tries in total despite being ruled out for a month and a half following an injury in November.

And Ratford was happy to pay tribute to Awobowale following his prolific season for Coops in London Two North East.

“Kolade is a special player, we know that and the player has serious gas to go past the opposition,” he said.

“We still have to be able to create the chances for Kolade to be able the score the number of tries he has, though.

“Kolade has shown he is a superb finisher this season, but he’s also received a lot of good ball too.”

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