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Southend Rugby Club boost survival hopes with win against Barking
SCRUM half Sam Arnott grabbed two tries as Southend Rugby Club ended a run of 15 months without an away win at Barking in National Two South on Saturday.
The 22-year-old’s efforts secured the Seasiders a fourth win in five wins.
But, despite moving out of the relegation zone with the victory, Arnott still feels there is everything to play for at the foot of the league.
“We’ve won four out of five which is good but it’s still very close at the bottom and we’ve achieved nothing yet,” said Arnott.
“With the results we’ve had you would maybe have expected to pull further away but only a couple of points separate a few teams down there so we have to keep it going.
“It was nice to win away from home again but it was probably our worst performance since I returned to the club and we had to rely on our character to get through.”
Southend, whose previous last away win came at Shelford in December 2011, are now 12th in the 15 team table but are just three points above the relegation zone.
They were set on their way at the weekend when returning winger Danny Cleare touched down and Rob Kirby added the conversion to make it 7-0.
The next 35 minutes became extremely disjointed as Barking harried and hassled denying Southend time and space.
Whistles blew, flags waved as the play from both sides became difficult to officiate. Eventually referee Fergus Kirby lost patience and yellow carded Southend captain Chris Green.
He followed that up eight minutes later with a dual dismissal of Southend’s try scorer Cleare and Barking’s David Kersey just before the break.
But Southend came out for the second half and immediately took the game to Barking.
They extended their lead from a five metre scrum which resulted in Arnott touching down.
Kirby again added the extras to make it 14-0 before Barking hit back with Oliver Forrest kicking a penalty.
In reply, Andrew Frost soon broke away for Southend before being brought down close to the line.
The supporting players bundled the ball forward, enabling Arnott to touch down and Kirby to convert.
However, Barking hit back when Stephen Hihetah sped through to score and Forrest’s conversion cut the Seasiders’ lead to 21-10.
Southend had the final say though and secured a bonus point with their fourth try of the afternoon when a fine Bradley Burr grubber kick picked out Mike Stanley who ran past his defender to score.
Kirby kicked the conversion and made sure of another successful afternoon for a rejuvenated Southend side.