“To go to Dings and come away with a win in those conditions is special, very proud of the lads”
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield
With the weather turning distinctly wintery, it was another scintillating weekend of rugby at Barnes RFC, with the 1st XV winning 5-10 at Dings Crusaders, the 2nd XV winning away at Iffley Road 22-32 against Oxford University, whilst the Occies also had a resounding win at Barn Elms 57-24, against London Media. On Sunday a depleted Barnes Ladies 1st XV lost narrowly to Rosslyn Park Slingbacks15-20.
This weekend the 1st XV take on high-flying Taunton Titans at Barn Elms, with an early kick-off at 2:30 pm, whilst the 2's travel to Jersey, hoping not to be fogged in as they were last year. The Occies are at home against KCS Old Boys and on Sunday the Ladies 1st XV are also a home against Sutton and Epsom. Before we look ahead to the 1st XV game, here is a quick look back to last weekend.
Barnes Ladies 1st XV 15 Rosslyn Park Slingbacks 20
The Ladies 1st XV played Rosslyn Park in the Cup up on Sunday. Starting with only 14 very fragile players, all recovering from the night before, Barnes Ladies put in a very gutsy performance, going down to 13 players after 20 minutes, 12 after 50 minutes and 11 at 73 minutes were 15-10 up. Of, course the extra 4 Park players told in the end and the opposition scored in the last play to tie the game at 15 apiece. It went to extra time, golden score, and after a long 90 minutes of rugby we succumbed to the exhaustion and lost 20-15. Our Ladies played in the original Barnes spirit, wearing their Barnes Ladies’ jerseys with pride, passion and commitment, and we are incredibly proud of them too!
Oxford University 22 Barnes 2nd XV 32
Barnes continued their regular fixture against Oxford University, travelling to the famous home of Oxford rugby, Iffley Road. Intrepid supporter, Charlie Whitfield, was on hand to report on another excellent win. It was both freezing cold, and wet, which lead to a host of penalties and handling errors from both teams.
Barnes’ pack was heavier, and that advantage gradually told as Barnes lead at halftime 15-19. Barnes scored twice more in the second half, and Oxford scored a consolation try at the end to make the final score 22-32. Charlie reckoned Barnes left a couple of scores out there, but also said that it was so bitingly cold that it was not surprising!
Dings Crusaders 5 Barnes 1st XV 10
It was equally cold at Shaftesbury Park, the new £5 million pound home to Dings Crusaders rugby club in Bristol, but the boys from the Barnes Bedouin tent were in no way intimidated by the first class surroundings they were greeted with. There was clearly a sense, from the home supporters, that a big home win was on the cards. But the cattle class solid crew from Barnow, who hone their skills on the Canada Geese poo-filled fields of Barn Elms, more than rose to the occasion, defending as if their lives depended on it throughout the match.
Barnes dominated the opening exchanges, against a much heavier pack, Ciaran Smyth opened the scoring after eight minutes, thrusting over the line following a classic lineout catch and drive from the Barnes pack. The conversion missed, Barnes led 0-5. Before halftime, Barnes was pressing again and, from another promising-looking attack, the Dings’ winger intercepted near his own line, running the length of the pitch to level the score. At the break, it was 5-5.
The second half was truly attritional, in conditions that penguins and polar bears would have revelled in. It was so cold that when Alex Hind came off he said: “I can’t feel my feet, and that’s a really weird sensation”. Barnes regained the lead after 55 minutes, when the pocket-rocket, Danny Ruddock, sealed off a man-of-the-match performance, bouncing off defenders like a demented ball in a pinball machine, to score what would be the winning try, and last score of the game. Full-time score was Dings 5 Barnes 10 - cue massive celebration on the bus coming home.
To quote the Dings’ reporter “Dings huffed and puffed, but lacked the guile and cutting edge necessary to unlock the Londoner’s defence, who held on for a deserved victory”
Yes we did!
Greg Watson, his son Ned and junior All Black Marty Conway, snuggled up for warmth to prevent hypothermia and together formed the Barnes travelling hoard. Greg reckons it was one of the best team performance that he has seen from Barnes in many-a-year, with the boys playing selflessly for each other, and our defence huge and impenetrable, other than the unfortunate interception try.
Greg also singled out halfbacks Jack Franklin and Josh Hammett for praise. Jack played the whole game after only half a game under his belt this season, following a three-month layoff recovering from a hip operation, he was barely able to stand afterwards in the clubhouse mind! Josh made his starting debut at fly-half, looking strong in defence and happy to have a go in attack.
It was particularly pleasing to see how easily those promoted from the 2nd XV slotted in, a testament to the senior squad system we operate at Barnes RFC. It made the grizzled and weathered face of Paul Spencer break into the slightest of smiles, or was it a snarl?
Barnes RFC plays as “One Club” where all the players play for each other, never for themselves, all the way from the Under 5’s through to the 1st XV, embracing the original spirit of the game that we hold so dear. Last Saturday was the epitome of that One Club philosophy and we should all be incredibly proud of the boys for their top team performance.
Barnes vs Taunton Titans - Saturday 3rd November at Barn Elms - 2:30pm kick off
With our third win on the bounce, Barnes move to 10th place in National League 2 South, and look forward to entertaining 2nd placed Taunton Titan at Barn Elms this Saturday, with an earlier kick off at 2:30 pm to accommodate the Autumn Internationals.
Last week the Titans crushed Bury 50-0 at the Commsplus Stadium, so they will be full of confidence travelling to play us South West London. Of course, so will Barnow, after our recent wins. This will be a true test of where Barnes has progressed to so far this season, With few other than the Barnes faithful giving us any sniff of a chance, but we all know that Barnes often produce their best performances against the best opposition, so we shall see what we shall see as they say!
Our last set of games against the Somerset side was in the 2016/17 season when we had two very close games, losing narrowly at our place 27-35 and drawing 31-31 later in the season at Taunton. So expect another hard-fought high-octane contest o Saturday, with absolutely no quarter given, and both sides going at it hammer and tongs for the full eighty minutes. I can’t wait!
The full list of Barnes teams playing this weekend is below:
Saturday 3rd November
• Barnes 1st xv - Taunton Titans - 2.30pm KO
• Jersey 2nd XV vs Barnes 2nd XV - 11.30am KO
• Occies vs KCS Old Boys - 1.00pm KO
Sunday 4th November
• Barnes Ladies 1st XV Sutton & Epsom - 2.30pm KO
See you at Barnes this Saturday for the Occies and 1st XV home games, and on Sunday you can also see Barnes Ladies 1st XV in action at the BEST playing fields opposite the clubhouse.
Onwards and Upwards! And here's to a brilliant weekend of Barnes Rugby, all played in the original spirit we love at Barnes, and of course, a fourth Barnow win on the bounce!!!!!
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield - Chairman Barnes RFC
Updated 16:49 - 8 Nov 2018 by Michael Whitfield