Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Richie Committed to Boro's Big Fight; Rugby Union

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Richie Committed to Boro's Big Fight; Rugby Union

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW WILKINSON

COUNT me in - Middlesbrough skipper Richie Barker will lead the battle to beat relegation, even though he is working in Aberdeen.

The powerful forward is travelling home to Teesside at weekends, and will play whenever possible.

"The Aberdeen club did call, but I said 'no'" said Barker. "I'm keeping fit at the gym, and I will take my boots up and have a run out to see what the standard of rugby is like.

"But I'm coming home to play for Boro. I want to play my part in getting us out of trouble."

Boro, third from bottom of North One East, turned in a much improved performance on Saturday, but went down 20-11 to fourth placed Sheffield at Acklam Park.

Boro led 11-8 at the break, courtesy of a try from scrum-half Peter Wright, and two Simon O'Farrell penalties.

But Boro conceded too many second half penalties and Sheffield's Mark Ireland kicked four of them.

"We can't afford to show ill-discipline. There are good number 10s in this league, who will put points on the board if you give them the chance," said Barker.

But he was upbeat after a performance that suggests Boro can beat more lowly opposition.

"We are in a run of games against top sides, but if we play like this we will win games and stay up. We stuck together and showed we can play," added the skipper.

Try scorer Wright took a bad knock in the eye, the bruising completely blocking his vision from that eye, as injuries again disrupted Boro.

Billingham captain Joe Evans damaged a knee ligament in the 32-18 defeat at National Three North leaders Chester.

An opponent fell on Evans and his leg buckled. He had the injury checked out in hospital and is returning today to have a brace fitted. The damage will be fully assessed when bruising subsides.

Chester are a fine attacking side, but Billingham pushed them hard and earned praise from their hosts. …

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