Hosted at the home of Saracens Rugby, Allianz Park saw some of the best teams in the world come together for a day of sunshine and rugby, with a fine display by a number of international teams on the main pitch, including the GB team that's warming up ready for Rio 2016's inaugural Olympic rugby event.
In the Ladies categories were made up of two pools with a few of the usual suspects present and accounted for. Wasps fielded a first and second team, with Saracens Ladies looking quick and fit, while the two Maltese teams displayed real class in both pools as the welsh international team showed off their fancy kit and equally fancy footwork, and finally the Wooden Spoons - an invitational team - gave everyone a run for their money.
Barnes Ladies were up against some high quality teams, facing off with two premiership level teams in Wasps and Saracens, and one international grade team in the shape of the Malta Twisties - apparently a Maltese delicacy.
While the sun shone, we set about learning from our opponents, with our first competitors Wasps pushing hard and making us work. Although they scored a good few tries against us, our speedster Em managed to find a tiny gap down the right wing and powered over the line to set up an easy conversion, making sure Wasps didn't walk off the pitch with a clean slate.
Next up were the Maltese internationals, who made it very clear quite early on that their small stature belied the power and pace they had within the team. Again, despite a comprehensive beating, Em managed to squeeze around the outside of the group and place the ball neatly under the post, making the conversion impossible to miss and we escaped again with points to our name. The ladies from Malta were a really friendly bunch on and off the pitch and it was a great experience for the Barnes Ladies to come up against an international team.
Our final game against Saracens was hard fought and although we lost by a fairly large margain, we still managed to put five points on the board. The game was light hearted and Barnes Ladies showed good spirit in trying despite playing a team of a higher class.
All in all, it was a good day for learning, and although we lost our games, considering the teams we were up against Barnes Ladies should be incredibly proud of the way we played, never giving up even though we were beaten, working hard to make sure that even though we wouldn't win the game, we weren't going to let our opponents walk away with a clean sheet against us.
As usual, our kit got us plenty of attention (thanks again Taylor Woodrow) and we were able to make loads of friends on the day as we always do. A big thanks to our ringers Jordan and Georgie - you ladies were superb and we enjoyed being on the pitch with you, we look forward to seeing you at pre-season!
And on that note, the first training session of the season has sneaked up on us - tomorrow evening will see the start of pre-season training and I'm sure we're all looking forward to getting our fitness back up in the month or so before we start playing our league and cup games. The session starts at 7.30pm down at the Barne Elms training grounds (just past the Wetland Centre) so feel free to head down and get involved.
Updated 21:40 - 31 Aug 2016 by Russell Barnes