“A beautiful day with an excellent win last week, great way to kick off the season”
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield
Wow – what a brilliant first weekend of rugby at Barnes RFC!
The 1st XV entertained London Irish Wild Geese at Barn Elms, notching up a good win 33-14 on the first game of the season, whilst the 2’s missed out just going down 29-19 at Ampthill.
Before the 1st XV played, the Minis kicked off their season, with 100’s of excited boys and girls filling the air with laughter, and squeals of delight. The older Junior section had to wait until Sunday to get their season underway, featuring an Under 17’s side for the first time ever at Barnes RFC, as we head towards a joining up of the senior and junior parts of the club in a couple of years’ time, and what a day that will be!
The Ladies also kicked off their season before the 1st XV played on Saturday, with a large squad entertaining London Welsh Ladies. The game was fast and furious but, in the end, Barnes Ladies went down 10-22.
Looking at the 1st XV game in detail, we had a splendid lunch before the game, sponsored by Colum Mannix of Eveready, and well and truly christened the refurbed clubhouse. By the time I had waddled to the game, we were bleedin’ well 0-7 down to the Geese, a good try apparently with the ball going wide.
Then I saw Cizza hooking, because our selected hooker pulled a hammy in the last minute of the warm up, I never had hamstrings as a front row player so this really confused me! The omens were not good, and we looked unstable at scrum time and the arrows in the line out were a little varied in direction, despite the valiant efforts of Cizza stepping up. After 20 minutes new coach Joe Gray, and the coaching team, made the call to bring on Big Al Ryan to play his first game at hooker since he was 16 years old.
The additional poundage that Al brought to the pack steadied the ship, and in fact gave us the upper hand and we were soon pushing the Irish pack backwards. With good ball the backs were unleashed and the ball moved slickly along the line before Robbie Martey sliced through the centres to score an absolute beauty, which Charlie Wicks converted making the score 7-7 after 25 minutes.
The Geese lost two players to injury, notably in the front row, and after a long stoppage at the restart Barnes moved the ball at real pace for winger Andrew Scott to score. Charlie Wicks added the extras and the half-time score was Barnes 14 London Irish Wild Geese 7.
Straight from the second half kick-off the Irish fly-half attempts to clear but we charge down the kick and the effervescent jack-in-the-box, Rupert Crossland, powered through to dot down the ball. Wicksy somehow managed to shank the conversion in front of the sticks but Barnes now lead 19-7 with the whole of the second period in front of them.
For the next 30 minutes, the Irish pounded our defence, which held firm in the face of the Geese’s bombardment. During this phase, Barnes gave away far too many penalties. Eventually these pens totted up and new prop Thomsons Boaden took a yellow one for the team and spent 10 minutes cooling his heels. Irish were spurred on by Barnes having only 14 players on the pitch. In their enthusiasm to throw the kitchen sink at it, Irish moved the ball sweetly down their line but the steely-eyed speedster, Robbie Martey, hungry for a second try, intercepted the pass and ran from our half to the Irish posts to score a try, Charlie Wicks converted, making the score 26-7 with 20 minutes to go.
The final twenty minutes were somewhat scrappy as both sides tired and plays broke down but Irish scored a try and, in the last few minutes of the game, Barnes backs cut loose again, with Tom O’Toole opening his try-scoring account for the season. Charlie Wicks added the final two points of the match and that is how it finished, Barnes 33 London Irish Wild Geese 14.
On reflection, a good first game for Barnow, with 5 points in the bag first up, We have to be happy with that of course. BUT, in the first half an hour of the second half, we only managed to attack twice in anger. Now some would say that was fine as we scored on both of those occasions, however, methinks we will need to give away less penalties, make less mistakes and grab more possession against the many better sides than London Irish that exist in this very tough league.
Afterwards, there was much merriment and happiness and even more Guinness, as we drank the club dry of all beer!
We even had the King, Elvis Presley, making several appearances, once as a young man and once in his dotage. It was all very strange, but great fun was had by all well into the night on the back of a big Barnow W.
Let’s hope we feel that feeling many more times this season!
This weekend the 1st XV travel to Henley. Make no mistake, this will be a very tough game against a top team, who last week went to much-fancied Bury St Edmunds, and racked up a bucket full of points to win in a very high scoring encounter. We will need to be on our mettle that is for sure if we are to continue our wining ways.
The 2nd XV are at Barn Elms against Cambridge 2nd XV, and the Occies are also at home, kicking off their season against Kings Cross Steelers.
On Sunday, we see the debut of our Barnes Ladies 2nd XV, so if you are sitting at home, twiddling your thumbs, why not get down to Barnes and support the Ladies additional team, they would absolutley love that!
All kick off times, and a reminder of this week’s games, are listed below again.
Saturday 8th September Fixtures
• Henley 1st XV vs Barnes 1st XV - 3 pm KO
• Barnes 2nd XV - Cambridge 2nd XV - 3 pm KO
• Occies vs Kings Cross Steelers - 3 pm KO
Sunday 9th September Fixtures
• Barnes Ladies 2nd XV - Marlow Ladies - 2 pm KO
The very best of luck to all Barnes players this weekend, may you all play in the original spirit that our club prides itself in, and here's to a hatful of victories!
Onwards and Upwards Barnow!
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield
Chairman - Barnes RFC
Updated 08:09 - 3 Oct 2018 by Scribbler