“Michael "Rhino" Whitfield”
Without doubt one of our best performances in this
The cider-makers from Taunton, flying high at second in the league, came to Barn Elms full of confidence last Saturday, but left with a very sour taste in their mouth. The Titans suffered a 51-38 defeat at the hands of an effervescent Barnes 1st XV, who produced our best performance of the ten games so far this season, recording their fourth win on the bounce.
Last week the 2’s travelled to Jersey and came away losing 31-19 to Jersey’s 2nd XV, featuring several giant units apparently.
On Sunday, the Ladies 1st XV came unstuck against Sutton and Epsom, soundly beaten 0-82 at Barn Elms.
Also on Sunday, the juniors played four games and you can read all about their endeavours below as we focus on them too this week.
Barnes 1st XV 51 Taunton Titans 38 - an extraordinary game of rugby
On a sunny and crisp Autumn’s day, Barnes and Taunton served up a veritable feast of rugby amidst 13 tries in a pulsating game, which Barnes eventually won 51-38. Barnes played the perfect first half of rugby, and completely taking Taunton by surprise. This was total team rugby, mates playing for themselves. In that first period, we scored three tries. Alex Hind, running all over the park like a rampant rabbit, scored his first of two tries after only five minutes, and with Josh Hammett converting, Barnes took an early 7-0 lead, which Josh soon added a penalty to make the score 10-0. Barnes continued to put pressure on the Titans which lead to a further score from the flying Tom O’Toole after 25 minutes. Josh Hammett rounded off an outstanding first half for him personally with a try conversion and a penalty for good measure to make the halftime score Barnes 25 Taunton 0.
I imagine the air in the Titans dressing room was an interesting place to be at the break and that a few choice words were exchanged because in truth, sublimely as Barnes had played, Taunton contributed with a high penalty count and ill-discipline, which cost them dear.
In the second half, the Titans came out like men possessed, and showed that they are not top-of-the-table contenders by chance. They threw everything bar the kitchen sink at Barnes, scoring two minutes into the second period to make it 25-7, only for Alex Hind to reply immediately with his second try of the game. With Josh Hammett converting, the score looked comfortable for Barnes at 32-7 with half an hour to go. Taunton had other ideas and scored twice in quick succession to reduce the deficit to 32-17 with 20 minutes to go.
Captain Fantastic Jamie Collins, strong as a buffalo, with the pace and agility of an impala, burst through the Taunton backs, and cantered to the line, to increase the lead for the home side to 39-17. The tit-for-tat scoring continued, as the Taunton No:8 grabbed his second try of the half to reduce the deficit to 39-24. Barnes hearts started to flutter. There were bodies battered broken and bleeding, lying all over the pitch. With both sets of players approaching exhaustion, the game became an open free for all. Robbie Martey scored for Barnes and, with Josh Hammett converting, it looked like Barnes were home and hosed, leading 46-24 as the game entered the last 5 minutes.
But the Titans were indeed titanic, finishing stronger than the out-on-their feet Barnes lads, and they dug very deep to score two quick tries to bring the scores uncomfortably close for Barnes at 46-38.
Surely we couldn’t lose this one?
No, we couldn’t, and we didn’t!
The last laugh belonged to Barnes RFC, when Tom O’Toole, the Peter Pan of this young Barnes side, ran from inside his own 22, having read the opportunity of interception so early that it felt like it was Friday, not Saturday afternoon! Taunton, like moths to the light, duly obliged by passing the ball along the line for Tom to perfectly pluck the ball out of the sky at the optimum moment, and stroll in to make the final score Barnes 51 Taunton 38.
This was an outstanding win, played at incredible pace by both teams, and with equal passion too, a brilliant advert for National 2 Rugby, and the game of rugby itself.
I would also like to say how gracious in defeat the Titans players and coaches were after the game, which was pointed out to me by several of the Barnes contingent. It shows that the original spirit of rugby, which we hold so dear at Barnes RFC, is alive and well, and living in both Somerset and Barnes! There is no game this weekend and the 1st XV resume battle away to Worthing on 17th November, You can read more about that below.
Focus on the Juniors
Last weekend in the Junior section, there were three league games and a cup game. This section of the club is growing nearer and nearer to joining up with the senior club, so we will keep a very keen focus on them over the next few years as the day draw closer when a home-grown Barnes player debuts for the 1st XV.
The U17s had our first Surrey Colts Waterfall Cup match against Haslemere Colts. Barnes won 36-33 against an opposition made up of Under 18’s and Under 19’s, two of them already at University! We successfully defended in their half, rucked hard and produced quick ball to continually put the Haslemere under constant pressure. For the Barnes boys after the game, it was very funny to see most of their 18+ opposition at the bar after the match drinking pints ?. We just supped our orange squash and left!
Barnes Under 14’s overcame Bank of England by 39-14 in a friendly fixture. This age group have shown great progress this year and, whilst this wasn’t our best performance, they improved further as the game went on to come away with a convincing victory, making it 3 out of 3 for friendlies this year.
Barnes Under 13’s “A” team won handsomely at Rosslyn Park, playing their “B” team. This was the best performance by this team for a few years. It underpins a clear acceleration in the improvement of our basic skills this season.
Barnes U13’s “B” team lost narrowly to Effingham 8-6 at Barn Elms.
There are no games this Saturday as it is a rest weekend with the Autumn Internationals in full cry.
On Sunday, the Ladies 2nd XV are back in action, away to Battersea Ironsides, it is a 2:30pm kick off.
The 1st XV are back in action next weekend, travelling to Rugby Park to play our old rivals Worthing.
We have virtually identical records this season, having played ten and won five games. The Raiders have one point more than Barnes, sitting in eighth place in National League Two South.
Next weekend will be another test of how far we have come this season. Whilst Barnes will be confident after our win last week against Taunton, so will be Worthing after their convincing away win at Bury. The last time we played Worthing was in the 2016/17 season, Barnes winning at home 20-8 and Worthing winning Rugby Park 20-17. Those two games were as close as I think the game on 17th November will be. So prepare yourselves for another cracker of a weekend’s rugby then!
In the meantime, enjoy this weekend’s feast of internationals, with the Northern hemisphere playing out of their socks to win every fixture!
Onwards and Upwards!
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield
Updated 16:49 - 8 Nov 2018 by Michael Whitfield