Suffering rugby withdrawals and desperate to keep our rugby minds active during the off season, the team has been taking part in some great 7's tournaments where we've learned an incredible amount about being rugby players - not only on the pitch, but in the pub after!
We kicked off our 7's campaign with an outing to the Middlesex 7's, hosted at Richmond Rugby Club. We somehow managed to be placed in a pool with three other teams who were far above our seeding, coming up against a very experienced and disciplined Saracens team in our final match - and although they dumped us unceremoniously out of the tournament we managed to concede the least amount of points to them in our pool. Unfortunately that also meant we were out of the running for the finals, but we did manage to sub a few players on to the field for the final match as the Saracen's opposition were missing some numbers by the end of the day.
We then made our way to a nearby drinking establishment where we joined two of our favourite London rugby teams for a laugh and to share rugby stories from the day. Haringey and Kilburn ladies were on fine form and there was a lot of laughter and eventually singing - the camaraderie of rugby is a wonderful thing.
Next up, the May bank holiday provided the perfect opportunity for Barnes Ladies to don our shiny new 7's kit and play a bit of rugby. Thanks to Tracey winning a competition, we had free entry to the Bournemouth 7's Festival (including access to the VIP party area and free camping) and played in the women's 'Beer Cup' - yes, quite aptly named considering the clientele.
Despite some light drinking on Friday evening and a reasonably peaceful night's sleep in our tents, we skipped off to our first fixture at 10am - when I say 'skipped' I mean crawled.
We played three pool games against nearby friends Windsor, as well as Southampton Ladies Trojans and finally West Country based Cullompton RFC. We lost our first two games against Windsor and Trojans, but our late afternoon fixture against Cully was a belter, with the final score at a 19 all draw. Thanks to the incredibly social nature of Barnes Rugby Club players, we'd managed to amass a small crowd of supporters, with Windsor Dames, Haringey Rhinos, Topsham Ladies, Beckenham honey badgers and a few stray Pink Elephants (our campsite neighbours Old Dunstonians) loudly willing us on to win the game from the side lines. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and we were knocked out on points difference, with Cully scoring marginally more than Barnes Ladies in their earlier fixtures.
As always, this didn't dampen our spirits and we made the most of the glorious sunshine and easily accessible drinks, dancing the night away with our new friends and old stalwarts Haringey Ladies. Despite some sore heads we still managed to enjoy watching the remaining games on the Sunday (well done to Exeter Uni's Fuzzy Ducks for taking the final against Southampton Trojans by the narrowest of margins) before dressing up in carnival themed finery to enjoy the closing party.
Tracey is in the process of coordinating 7's fixtures to keep us fit and busy while we await our first union game of the season, and has so far confirmed the following dates for events that we're keen to participate in:
11th June - WSM Wimbledon 7's Charity Tournament:
Team warm up starts at 9am at Wimbledon RFC, Beverley Meads, Barham Road, Copse Hill, Wimbledon SW20 0ET.
It's a local(ish) game so we'd encourage anyone at a loose end to stop by and cheer us on.
2nd July - Sevens and the City
This is a major event with loads of international squads playing, but don't worry, we won't be facing up against them - we'll be watching them and playing in an appropriately seeded pool for the women's 7s event. The games will be hosted at Allianz Park, home of Saracens Rugby, with a big after party to close proceedings off.
20th August - Man-Up UK 7s Rugby Festival
This event is hosted over the whole weekend in St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales - it's a small and beautiful village near the beach, perfect for post rugby match dips in the sea. There will be camping and there will be some epic rugby. If Bournemouth 7s festival was anything to go by, this one will be worth the journey!
If any other fixtures crop up, we'll be sure to post them - and we'll make sure we've got the match reports up for anyone interested in following Barnes Ladies' 7s adventures over the summer so keep an eye on the Barnes Ladies page.
Updated 15:30 - 15 Jul 2016 by Ashley Brandon