“This was a patient and controlled win, and a very important one in the context of our season”
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield
What a weekend for all Barnow with all four adult teams winning, it is a long time since I have been able to say that in one of my weekly roundups!
With this weekend being a rest weekend for the 1st and 2nd Xv's, and the Vets, it is left to the Occies to lead the way on Saturday, as they travel to Cobham, whilst on Sunday, both Ladies XV's are in action, the 1st XV at home to Hackney and the 2nd XV away to Redingensian Sirens.
Twitter - please note this change:
BRFC Twitter handle has changed to @barnes_rugby - please go and follow us right now!
Now let's have a look at each of the four wins last weekend - this is a long read so please persevere and read all about it!
Barnes 1st XV 20 DIngs Crusaders 15
It is a funny old game rugby isn’t it? We have been so close in so many games this season and, over the last few weeks, I have written that too many times for my liking, but cometh the hour cometh the Barnow. Stubborn, grumpy, feisty and determined - we never roll over when we’re really up against it, and Saturday reinforced that mantra.
This was a very different Barnes 1st XV to recent weeks, calm and controlled and always in charge against a Dings team bristling with confidence. To be honest, I never felt we would lose the game, that’s not arrogance, it is just how the game unfolded. Such was the patience we demonstrated, and the pace we injected when we decided to do so, that it does make you wonder where this mature Barnes performance has been in many of the games we have let slip by this season. But none of that matters. This game really mattered. We needed to maintain our gap over the bottom three, which we did, and keep in touch with the four teams above. We are one win away from 9th place in the league and with seven games left we are hoping for higher than that two. It is an incredibly close league this year, but that makes this run in all the more exciting!
In the game itself, we were in the game from the kickoff, George Head rounding off a good attack and Josh Hammett converting to make it 7-0 after 15 minutes. We let the Bristol-based side straight back in though three minutes later and suddenly it was back to 7-5. And that was all of the scoring in the first half, most of the action was between the 22’s, the Barnes defence held firm, the Dings defence held firm but there was no panic in the Barnes ranks.
As the second half started Barnes were all over the Dings back line, a double hit on the Dings 10 put them on the back foot, and when the ball reached their winger he was ram-raided by Alex Hind, dislodging the ball for Hammett to pick up and pop to the try machine that is Robbie Martey and he glided to the line making it is easy for Josh Hammett to knock over the conversion to make the socre 14-5. It looked pretty comfortable at that point but then Dings scored twice without a response from the home team to lead 14-15 with about 15 minutes to go.
But it never felt like we would lose the game, the boys were calm and built pressure patiently, forcing two mistakes resulting in penalties which the ice-man Hammett slotted perfectly to round off a perfect day at the office for for him and a Barnes win 20-15. It is so much easier to enjoy your beer after a win and on Saturday night the clubhouse was rocking with that winning feeling. Long may it continue!
This Saturday is a rest weekend and on 2nd March the boys face a tough challenge away at Taunton, who will be out for revenge no doubt after we soundly beat them at Barn Elms earlier in the season. The following week we are back at Barn Elms in another big game, this time against Worthing. I can’t wait!
Wimbledon 2nd XV 17 Barnes 2nd XV 34
Wimbledon came out the blocks hard and took an early lead which was the wake-up call we needed. After a couple of penalties from Ollie Milner we settled into the game. Late in the half, Sam Cullen intercepted and offloaded to Conrad Durund who touched down, with Milner added the extras. Early into the second half we drove Wimbledon back in the scrum near their line (Will Armitage used the word “mullered” to describe it)
found ourselves with a scrum on the Wimbledon's 5m line which we and the wonderfully named Storm Fauchx scored, again Milner again converting the try. Wimbledon hit back a Barnes relaxed a tad and now we were just in front 17-20. Straight from the kick off, we turned the ball over, and after a couple of phases, Greg Davies in his first game back after a nasty pectoral muscle cut a great line straight through the defensive line to dot down under the posts, the kick again successful.
With 20 minutes to play the 'finshers' came onto the pitch and added the final knockout punch. With Wimbledon camped in their half, their frustration grew and we turned the ball over Barnes forwards jumping on it like a tramp on hot chips! After some quick hands, Chris Moncur bowled over to score in the left-hand corner, Ollie Milner rounding off a 100% kicking performance with his final conversion of the day. A great win for the 2’s 34 -17 in the end, and some vital league points earned in Zoo Shield 1.
London Media 2’s 5 - 47 Mayfair Occasionals
The Occies made the short trek to Battersea Park to take on London Media 2ns XV in a league and cup semi-final double-header, confident after last week’s win against the league’s top side. Conditions were perfect - dry, mild and a slight breeze, and despite a number of injuries (some long term) we managed to get a solid squad of 21 players out, with some help from Rich Fenech and a few others from the Vets.
The Occies had a strong warm up, the intensity of which we took into the first 20 minutes of the game, rewarding us with two tries, including one from a set backs’ move from a scrum in the Media 22, and a pushover try from a five-metre scrum. The only downside was that we left two tries out there in this period from dropped balls on the line, but at least we were creating chances and dominating possession and territory. In the second quarter, the Media got back into the game, mainly through our own indiscipline by conceding a succession of penalties and a yellow card. We defended heroically but they scored a deserved try. At half time we led 5-12.
At the break, we chatted about discipline, repeating our intensity of the first quarter, and not panicking when close to the try line. We got the key next score with Rich Mayson offloading to Dan Sullivan 40 metres who ghosted past the full back to score under the posts. This was quickly followed by a brilliant individual score from centre Tom Challis giving us a convincing lead of 5 -26. As the Media chased the game, it became more and more open, and the Occies scored three more tries, including a brilliant team try with forwards and backs involved, all the way from our own 22.
At full time the score was a resounding victory to Barnes, 5 - 47. It really was a great win for the Occies, which puts us top of the league, and into the cup final!! Bring on the rest of the season!
Haringey Ladies 7 - Barnes Ladies Development XV 35
The Ladies Development XV played really well on Saturday with a half a dozen Ladies from Imperial College, our grass roots university link, taking the field in the green and gold. It was a very physical encounter, and the first half was a real arm wrestle, with both teams getting turned over and shipping the ball wide for some lovely running rugby. Barnes went into the break 14-7 up. In the second half, Barnes really found their rhythm, with some strong carries up front, and some slick handling and offloads, with sharp powerful running lines out wide. The final score was a resounding 7 - 35 victory, well deserved, and a great demonstration of the depth we have built up over the season in our Ladies section.
And finally...don’t forget our Twitter handle has changed to: @barnes_rugby
And these are the games Barnes are playing this weekend:
Saturday 23rd February
• Cobham vs Mayfair Occasionals - Cup game – KO TBC
Sunday 24th February
• Barnes Ladies 1st XV vs Hackney Ladies - 2.30pm KO
• Redingensians Sirens vs Barnes Ladies 2nd XV - 2.30pm KO
Onwards and Upwards Barnow! Here’s to a great weekend of Barnes Rugby, may we play in the original spirit of rugby that we hold so dear at Barnes RFC.
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield - Chairman Barnes RFC
Updated 21:20 - 5 Mar 2019 by Scribbler