“We are building a winning momentum but I am sure the best is yet to come!”
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield
After a weekend to rest the plethora of aches, pains and strains of a full-on season so far, this weekend the 1's XV travel to Essex to play tough, and uncompromising, Westcliff.
Westcliff are in 5th place in the London and South East Premier league at the moment, having won 4 out of 6 games thus far, slipping up only against Guildford and Sidcup. Barnes will be ready , and will certainly give Westcliff the respect they deserve.
For those of you that didn't see it last week, here is a review of the last league game we played, against Sidcup.
Barnes 1st XV vs Sidcup 1st XV - London and South East Premier League
In our last league run-out, Barnes 1st XV entertained high-flying Sidcup, who’s unbeaten run had come to an end the previous week against the resurgent Shelford. The encounter was always going to be a tough one, and so it proved, despite the final score of Barnes 31 Sidcup 6, a score that flatters to deceive but still yielded us the maximum five points and keeps us at the top of the table, 1 point ahead of Tring.
Sidcup were up for this one and played a very similar brand of open attacking rugby to Barnes and were in our faces for most of the game. Fast and agile, they never gave up.
Barnes defence was tight throughout and repelled each Sidcup attack and put in a few of their own. Always clinical on the catch and drive, it was unusual from one such move to find Hamish Reeves popping up with the ball to touch down, Charlie Wicks converted for the extras and the score was 7-3 to Barnes after 13 minutes.
After Sidcup slotted a second penalty to peg the score back to 7-6, Barnes strung together several tight phases to set up Matt Cornish, who broke through the Sidcup defence to take the score Barnes’ second try on 20 minutes. Charlie Wicks added the extras making the score Barnes 16 – Sidcup 6.
There followed a game of stalemate, played by both teams between the two 22’s, from the 20th minute through to the 70th. Barnes were often camped in the Sidcup half, but Barnes failed to convert at least six clear cut opportunities with players in the clear.
After that 50 minute period of no score, the deadlock was broken and Barnes were awarded a penalty, which Charlie Wicks slotted, to increase their lead to 17-6. In that one brief moment the game pivoted, that one small score seemed to knock the stuffing out of Sidcup and rev up the men in green and gold and in the last 10 minutes Barnes played at the delicious tempo of which they are always capable, first scoring the forwards muscled over with Andy Napier touching down, and then an outrageous break by the mercurial Tom O’Toole, finished off with a splash dive over the line, brought up the 4th try and the bonus point. Both tries were converted by the highly consistent and effective Charlie Wicks to give him a 100% record for the day.
One day we will play as we did in the last 10 minutes for most of a game, when we do we are going to inflict some severe damage on the opposition we play that day.
Each week bits of our performances improve, this week it was strong shut-out defence, and some serious pace in the backs. I do think that Sidcup were much better than the score suggests, which of course will be of no solace to them whatsoever, they will I am sure be there or thereabouts at the top of the league come next April.
Barnes 2nd XV vs Oxford University
The 2's fixture against an Oxford University team was instigated last season by the several blues that have played, and do still, for the 2's.
Two weeks ago Barnes 2nd XV won this eagerly awaited encounter 7 – 19 away at Iffley Road, in fact both teams liked this game so much that they agreed to a rematch at Barn Elms immediately last weekend.
The rematch was a very different experience for the plucky Oxford students and Barnes produced a brilliant performance to put Oxford to the sword 48-5 in the end. Both sides had large squads, but I want to emphasise that not one Barnes 1st XV player from the game against Sidcup the previous week featured in this game, yet Barnes 2's bristled with real talent, commanded, in only his second game of the season, by the mercurial Gareth WIlliams Davies at 10, who looked like a lean mean, and very sharp, fighting machine! He bossed the game and will no doubt be challenging for his 1st XV berth back very soon.
Barnes Ladies and Barnes Vets
Following on from last weeks’ lacklustre performance, Barnes ladies took the opportunity to redeem themselves by winning our cup game against Ashford Ladies 21-5 to secure a spot in the next round of the tournament.
The Ladies had a fantastic day playing rugby in the sunshine, and the Ashford Ladies and coaching team were incredibly welcoming – even sharing their water with us in the dying minutes of the game. We’d like to thank them for their hospitality and wish them the best of luck for the rest of their season.
After their brilliant win against Richmond Heavies, Barnes Vets faced a resurgent Harlequins Gents side last weekend and came down to earth with a bump on the wrong side of a 24-19 loss.
This weekend on Saturday all our teams are playing away but the Ladies are at home on Sunday if you fancy supporting your local club!
Saturday 21st October
• Westcliff v Barnes 1st XV - 3pm KO
• Ampthill v Barnes 2nd XV - 3pm KO
• Old Cranleighans v Occies - 3pm KO
Sunday 22nd October
• Barnes Ladies v Battersea Ironsides Ladies - 2.30pm KO
Onwards and Upwards, and here's to a brilliant winning weekend of Barnes Rugby1
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield
Chairman – Barnes RFC
Updated 21:51 - 17 Oct 2017 by Michael Whitfield