“The boys gave it everything last week at Bury, very proud of that performance”
On Saturday Barnes 1st XV welcome Guernsey Raiders to Barn Elms for our fifth league game in National 2 South.
After only one win in the first four games, Barnes will be looking to notch a second on Saturday. In truth, the three games we have lost so far could all have gone our way, and we know already what we have to do to reverse these results in the future
Last weekend the 1st XV went down 22-12 to Bury St Edmunds. We conceded early on, going 7-0 down, and it stayed that way, almost until half-time, when Barnes scrum-half, Josh Davies, scored a try, which Tom O’Toole converted, to make it all square at 7-7. That really should have been it for the first half, but the home team hit back, almost immediately, with a converted try, making the score at the break 14-7.
Bury scored a penalty immediately after the restart, to lead 17-7, and for much of the rest of the second half Barnes were right in the game, showing incredible passion and commitment. We had several scoring opportunities, one was mysteriously ruled out as “foot in touch”, and another when we managed not to score a nailed-on walk-in” try. Despite the disappointment of this previous couple of missed chances, we did nick one back towards the end of the game, Will Matthews touching down.
So, with five minutes to go, and Barnes trailing 17-12, we threw the kitchen sink at the home side, going for the win, but we were unable to score and worse than that we were turned over, Bury maximising the opportunity and scoring a further try themselves. There is no justice in the world!
We will, of course, lick our wounds, dust ourselves down and repair our many injured, which there were many of on the day. However gutting the result was last weekend, we live to fight another day, starting with Guernsey on Saturday at Barn Elms!
Coach Joe Gray, could not praise enough the spirit and determination shown by the lads last week. He knows we are getting there, it is only a question of when, not if. This Saturday, we will be out to prove that we are, indeed, learning these lessons from each week and becoming savvier.
Last season in the London and South East Premier League, we had two titanic battles against the islanders, losing at Barn Elms in the last play of the match 16-22, but then getting our own back at the sharp end of the season at their place, winning 22-28. The day and night spent in Guernsey represented everything, that is good, and that we all love about rugby, both on and off the pitch.
On the pitch, it was hard-fought, no quarter given by either team, and a Barnes interception try by the master poacher, Matt Cornish, was the only real difference in the teams on that day. Off the pitch, in the Swan pub that night, there were players and supporters from both teams, the ref, and both assistant refs all present, everyone was arm in arm, singing, eating and drinking the night away, as one big, happy rugby family. For me it epitomises just what our wonderful game of rugby is all about, proving yet again how the original spirit of rugby is alive and kicking - and long may it continue!
And so to this season. Both clubs made the cut to win promotion to National 2 South, Barnes automatically, Guernsey in the play-offs. We understand the islanders have been ravaged by injury so far, even recalling retired winger, and ex-Barnes player, Luke Sayer, to the ranks for last week’s close encounter, where they ran Redruth to within a point to lose 15-16. Despite the narrow loss, this must have been a welcome return to form after a couple of heavy defeats. We know it takes time to find your feet in this league and we are expecting an extremely tough game on Saturday.
We too have taken time to settle this season, and we know that we need to improve our execution when we have the opportunity to score, and that we must exit cleanly from our own half to avoid further disappointment!
As we improve in these key areas, then the talent and heart, that Barnes has shown already this season, will undoubtedly be rewarded with wins, let’s hope for that starts on Saturday for the 1st XV boys.
The 2nd XV had a tough old game against Cinderford’s 2nd XV last week at Barn Elms, but I am very pleased to be able to report that they overcame Cinderford, scoring 3 times to be up 19-10 at the break. In the second period, the mighty 2’s piled on more pressure and scored a hatful more tries to win comfortably in the end 36-13, a great win for the lads.
This weekend, apart from the crucial Barnes 1st XV vs Guernsey 1st XV match, there are several other Barnes games for you to enjoy, here they all are:
Saturday 29th September
• Barnes 1st XV vs Guernsey Raiders 1st XV - 2.30pm KO
• Bishops Stortford 2nd XV vs Barnes 2nd XV - 3pm KO
• Old Cranleighians vs Occies - 3pm KO
• Bank Of England Vets vs Barnes Vets - 2:30pm KO
Saturday 30th September
• Barnes Ladies 1st XV vs Millwall Ladies - 2pm KO
Onwards and upwards this weekend, and here is to a big Barnow win for the 1st and 2nd XV ’s, with all of the games being played in the original spirit that Barnes RFC holds dear.
Updated 17:16 - 25 Sep 2018 by Michael Whitfield
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield
Chairman Barnes RFC