“Just when I thought this season couldn't get any better it just did!”
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield
Well, that really is it, the season is now finally over and, although last weekend no adult games took place, there was one other humungous event that did take place.
Barnes RFC exclusively took over the whole of the Twickenham stadium for a Minis and Juniors Extravaganza, courtesy of O2, Try For Change and the RFU with whom we have excellent relationships.
350 boys and girls and over a 1000 parents, grandparents were there to witness this historical event, and it will be one of those days that will forever linger in the memory for me (as long as I am able to remember that is!), and everyone was there.
Some of the conversations I had with kids and parents were extraordinary, here are a few of their stories and anecdotes:
• The 11 year old girl that gave up rugby until we introduced a girls team this year and was so excited.
• The 10 year old boy that hasn't been able to play because he had such bad eyesight. Six months ago he joined Barnes RFC, and he now wears contact lenses so he can play, and he just couldn’t stop saying thank you to me, with the widest grin you have ever seen on his face!
• The Under 5's coach, a lady who joined Barnes RFC this year, knowing nothing about rugby so she could learn about rugby through coaching, and be able to talk knowledgeably to her husband and her young son about the game they both love so much.
• The family with three children who used to play football but then discovered the green and gold of Barnow and will never go back to the round ball!
• The 4 boys who were in the Under 16’s on Saturday, having played in every age group since we set up our Minis section 10 years ago.
• And the coach who could not stop the tears rolling down his face whilst standing on the side of the pitch as each of his three children were playing on the hallowed turf in front of him.
Danny Care also attended the event in support of Try for Change, posing for photographs with fans, signing autographs and rounding up the day by hosting the presentation and raffle. Fiona Pocock, England and Harlequins player, also came along to show her support and led the Under 13 Girls session, instilling enthusiasm and determination into the next generation of female rugby players.
There was plenty of fun for all ages off the pitch too, with guided tours of Twickenham stadium, and the world rugby museum, face painting, a balloon modelling clown and a fabulous silent disco.
It was an extraordinary day, even the driving rain in the afternoon could not dampen the spirit and I will never forget the smiles on the boys and girls faces. That is what rugby is about, that is what Barnes RFC is about, and it is what playing in the original spirit is all about.
So the season is now over, we have had our AGM, plans are being made already for next season with the 1st XV back in National League 2 South, but for now, let’s just look back over a hugely successful season for the whole club, and that wonderful day at Twickenham last Saturday. And smile, very broadly like I am right now!
Thank you for playing, supporting and looking after the club we all love so much.
Have a wonderful Summer, see you at pre-season in July and back at Barnes RFC for kick off proper in September!
Onwards and Upwards Barnow!
All the very best for the next couple of months.
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield - Chairman - Barnes RFC
Updated 10:37 - 10 Sep 2018 by Scribbler