“After this pulsating game, which Barnes won convincingly, the boys will relish the return match after this spicy offering!”
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield
Barnes 1st XV vs Westcombe Park 1st
I made the choice last weekend that I would rather go and watch Barnes play at Westcombe Park than I would England play Argentina. And what a good choice that was with Barnes trouncing WP 10 - 51.
Whilst England played out their grindathon and won against the Argentinians, Barnes kicked off in the mud ar WP and it was clear from the off that the Kent side were well up for a feisty game. There was as much verbal off the pitch as on it, and it was clear that these boys didn’t like the “posh pussies from poncy London” as I believe one of the supporters referred to us. It was no less friendly on the pitch and WP’s aggressive start went well for them, scoring a deserved penalty and then a converted try using the old rolling maul from the line out to great effect (hang on a mo isn’t that our USP??). By that stage we were getting as much abuse from the Punch and Judy front row as we were from the supporters, it was difficult to find a haven from the tirade of insults so the massive throng of supporters hid in a container and prayed for an eclipse that would distract the barrage coming our way.
At 10-3 down after 20 minutes, and to be honest not playing bad rugby, Barnes began to exert the pressure that we are more capable of, gaining parity after Dave Butler ran a great line through the centre and then, on the stroke of half-time the muscular and abrasive Matt Cornish scored to make the half time scored 10-17 to Barnes.
Just before the break Dave Butler was injured in contact and broke several bones in his hand, a bad injury for one of our senior players which will likely keep him out until well after Christmas. Another one to add to our worrying injury list of well over 10 first team squad players, thank God for a deep and talented squad! Dave was replaced by the fizzing Ollie Foster who looked sharp and impactful from his first minute on the pitch.
After halftime WP came at us again, hard, and the Barnes D held out calmly and tightly. After absorbing the initial onslaught carefully then took control for the rest of the game, silencing the WP supporters, and by now several of their more vocal players who had been subbed or retired from the arena.
Johan van de Poel rounded off an excellent game to drive through a pack of WP players to score, closely followed by three quick tries, two by the outstanding Robbie Martey forever searching back and forth across the pitch for chinks in the WP armour, and an opportunist break down the flank after Van de Poel seized on a loose ball to put Hamish Reeves away down a vacant blind side.
After our 6th try things got a bit tasty with unsavoury fights breaking out, but the Barnow boys would not yield and inch and gave at least as good as they got. In many respects I think that we have needed to have a game like that where an opposition felt they could bully us, for us to get annoyed and let our rugby do the talking. A seventh try from the excellent Olli Foster sealed the game, resulting in a final score of WP 10 Barnes 51. Our best all round performance of the season and at last I can say I went home thinking that we reached the standards we achieved at regular intervals last season (despite being relegated! ).
Charlie Wicks slotted 2 penalties and 5 conversions to put the icing on the cake.
There is a rest weekend next weekend and our next game is at Barn Elms on 25th November when Barnes take on top three side Guernsey in what will be one of our season-defining games. It will be a 2pm kick off.
Barnes 2nd XV vs Blackheath 2nd XV
In an extraordinary game under floodlights on Friday night, Barnes 2nd XV travelled to Blackheath, confident after a recent rich vein of form. It did not look good for the green and gold at 0-20 down but such is the resilience and talent of this team that they clawed their way back to overhaul Blackheath and win against all of the odds 27 - 34 in the end. A brilliant win which underpins entirely the club spirit of never-say-die!
Barnes Ladies vs Tabard Ladies
On Sunday, Barnes Ladies lost 7 - 15 at Barn Elms against Tabard Ladies in a closely fought contest.
Fixtures on 18th and 19th November
With the 1st XV resting this weekend, the 2nd XV travel away to Ampthill in a crucial Zoo Shield game and will be looking to build on recent performances whilst on Sunday the Ladies play Tabard Ladies again in a repeat of last week’s game against Tabard Ladies in a 2pm kick off.
There are no other games this weekend.
A reminder from the Mini and Juniors section of the club:
The Barnes Fantastic Friday Night Floodlit evenings are back soon. As with last year we will play these on Rosslyn Park’s all-weather pitch on the 24th November and the 8th December – watch this space for further details.
[Good luck to all our teams this weekend, and safe travels for 2's as they travel to Ampthill this weekend.
Don't forget, Barnes next 1st XV game is at Barn Elms on 25th November against high-flying Guernsey.
Onwards and Upwards the Green and Gold!
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield
Updated 00:56 - 16 Nov 2017 by Michael Whitfield
Chairman – Barnes RFC