“One boy was sobbing to himself, upset to have lost. The lad alongside grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him closer into the circle of players, ruffling his hair. No words or other encouragement required ”
The Under 9 squad travelled en masse to the Middlesex Festival at Ealing Trailfinders on Saturday March 10th. We had a total of 38 players taking part, split into four squads. We were also giving our huge new Barnes RFC event shelter its first public outing – another indication of the investment the club is making in its Minis section. Once we’d worked out how to put it up, anyway.
Most Saturday mornings we get around 50 boys and girls training in our age group, so to have 38 of them playing competitive contact rugby – many for the first time – was a massive celebration of everything that Barnes Minis stands for. Every child who wanted to take part did so – as well as a few who probably weren’t quite sure that they were ready. There were a total of 20 clubs represented at the festival. Regardless of the size of their Minis section, not one had more teams or players taking part than Barnes - and only Rosslyn Park and the hosts matched us (well at least on playing numbers they did...)
There were plenty of highlights on and off the pitch – with our performances typified by good teamwork, excellent handling and solid defence. It was great to see pay off for our focus in training on getting the kids properly prepared for tackling – with some relentless defensive displays forcing multiple turnovers. Some outstanding tries were scored too – with great handling recycling the ball through several phases of close contact before shipping it wide into space. But perhaps the best moment came when one of our teams were huddled together after a tough, narrow defeat. One boy was sobbing to himself, upset to have lost. The lad alongside grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him closer into the circle of players, ruffling his hair. No words or other encouragement required.
Results are not officially recorded at this age, but suffice to say that the coaching team were pretty happy with the way our kids played the game. This is their first season of tackling and some have taken to contact more quickly than others, but overall their teamwork, commitment and handling were all impressive. The Middlesex Festival showed that we have a talented bunch of players who enjoy spending time together playing rugby – as Minis coaches, we can’t ask for much more than that.
Updated 22:01 - 1 Apr 2018 by Michael Whitfield