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See what Griff Rhys-Jones and Mel Smith make of Barnes RFC's logic defying win in the 89th minute of the game against Old Albanians last weekend

By Michael Whitfield

The 1st XV travelled to St Albans to play OA’s last Saturday and won 20-24 after 9 minutes of added time

“Our tactics this year are to be predictably unpredictable - this result shows how we are on track to do this! ” Michael "Rhino" Whitfield

Saturday’s win against Old Albanians is almost worthy of its own talking heads sketch, as perfected by Griff Rhys-Jones and the late Mel Smith - for you youngsters, they were a very funny comedy duo from the 80’s/90’s!

I am sure if they had seen this result, it would have gone something like this:
Mel: “I saw that the Barnes massif beat that Old Albanians mob last week”
Griff: “Did they? But they lost the previous 5 games on the bounce didn’t they?”
Mel: “Yep, that is the beauty of Barnow, you just can’t predict what they are going to do next, although they did win all of their five games before they lost those next five games”
Griff: “So they won on Saturday, lost the previous five games before they then won five in a row? Are they taking anything? Not part of an Asian betting ring are they?”
Mel: “No idea mate, but it gets more intriguing when you factor in that that also lost the five games before they won the five games and then lost the five games”
Griff: “Blimey, it’s a bit like rugby Sudoku; I need to stick my head in a bucket of ice to straighten out my brain. So having won last weekend I am guessing that they will now win the next four to keep their track record on track, right? ”
Mel: “f*cked if I know, let’s just see what hap ens, fancy a pint?”

Anyway, you get the picture. A win that few predicted before the game, other than the players, and as the game went on their resolve and belief grew into a stubborn and relentless determination to succeed.

And we did more than our fair share of trying to throw it away in the first half. Two yellow cards, and a myriad of penalties made it a difficult mountain to climb.

With little possession, we lived on scraps, and were 10-0 down after 25 minutes. During one of our yellow card periods, the irrepressible Robbie Martey seized the opportunity and popped over to reduce the gap to 10-7, much against the run of play, at half-time OA’s led 13-7.

Barnes started the second period well, George Head choosing a delicious line to crash over after only two minutes, giving Barnes an unexpected lead 13-14. Only four minutes later OAs were back in a 20-14 lead. Josh Hammett added a penalty for Barnes to reduce the home team’s lead to 20-17 and that is how it stayed right until the final minutes of the match.

Then this happened…..

With 77 minutes on the clock, Barnes are awarded a penalty on the halfway line. A big groan from the Barnes faithful indicates that we don’t find touch; this is greeted by naughty schoolboy laughs, reminiscent of Muttley in Wacky Races, as the OA’s player knocks on. What then followed was a bizarre set of Barnes scrums and OA’s penalties with Barnes camped on their line. Two Barnes scrums, followed by two OA’s penalties, but no penalty try, much to the frustration of the Barnes supporters. Then it looked like we had driven over and another scrum went down. Still, no try awarded. By this point Paul Spencer had wandered behind the posts and was chuntering loudly, like Glenn McGrath after having three plumb LBW’s turned down, he adds his own objective opinion “f***ing tight heads gone to ground”. The collective Barnow are giggling as everyone recognises Spence’s dulcet tones!

Still no room at the inn for Barnes, so the boys dig in again, there is a scary look in their eyes; they know they are going to win this. Yet another scrum to Barnes. We go through several pick and drives and so nearly get over. Looks like that is curtains for Barnes, but wait, the ref blows for an AO’s offside so it’s another penalty to Barnes. The ref calls “last play”. OA’s bring on the incredible hulk and his twin brother to bolster up their creaking scrummage. Yet another scrum goes down and the Barnes pack completely mullers the OA’s scrum. “Use it” shouts the ref and after 10 pick and drives and we only go and bleedin’ well score. Russell Nimmo grinning like Wiinie the Pooh in a honeypot rises with the ball in hand and Josh Hammett converts his third conversion in the 9th minutes of added time.

“Quite remarkable” said David Coleman!

“My little ticker nearly exploded,” said Greg Watson, real heart attack stuff.

But the boys never doubted themselves or the result, it was a thoroughly deserved victory.

This week we entertain Bury St Edmunds at Barn Elms. Bury, in 7th and 6 points above Barnes who are in 9th place in National League 2, also had a good win away against the baying hordes of Guernsey Raiders but we owe them for the 22-12 loss they inflicted on us at their place earlier in the season. One of several games we should have won but failed to.
One thing is for sue, the boys will not be lacking in confidence and resolve this weekend. I can’t wait, bring on Bury and Vets Annual Lunch with 170 sitting down to enjoy the fare, and later a big crowd there to cheer on Barnow, it promises to be a cracking afternoon!

Fixtures This Weekend

There is a full round of games this weekend, other than the Vets who are feasting, drinking and watching.

Here are the details:
• Barnes 1st xv vs Bury St Edmunds - 2pm KO
• Cinderford 2nd XV vs Barnes 2nd XV - 2pm KO
• Occies vs Old Cranleighians - 2pm KO

Sunday 13th January
• Barnes Ladies 1st XV vs Battersea Ironsides Ladies - 2.15pm KO
• Hackney Ladies vs Barnes Ladies 2nd XV - 2.00pm KO
Here’s to a fantastic weekend of Barnes Rugby, and may we play in the original spirit that we hold dear at Barnes.

Onwards and Upwards!

Michael “Rhino” Whitfield – Chairman Barnes RFC

Updated 13:27 - 18 Feb 2019 by Scribbler

Where next?

Barnes snatch draw out of the jaws of defeat against Bury last weekend In an extraordinary last six minutes, Barnes fought back from 10-24 down against Bury to draw 24-24 in a pulsating finish.
Improved performance against Henley brings some Christmas and New Year cheer for Barnes RFC Barnes 1st XV lost 17-24 to Henley in the last game of 2018, but can take some heart from a greatly improved performance from the Canterbury game

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