“Winning ugly is an important asset in this league”
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield
" Boy you is one Ugly Motherf**ker!" was the sentiment of the corwd at the end of last week's squeaky bum win.
What an amazing weekend of Barnes Rugby, with only the Occies coming up short in their game preventing a clean sweep across the club in all adult teams.
The 1st XV won ugly in a horribly tense encounter 17-10 to a highly capable, and muscular, Old Redcliffians side form Bristol, and I actually thought I might expire at several points in the second half, more of that later!
Girls Event at Rosslyn Park
The weekend’s games were kicked off in fine style on Friday night at Rosslyn Park under the lights. Firstly, there was an amazing spectacle as Barnes Minis hosted a girls’ rugby evening, with over 150 girls from 8 local schools in full voice. The growth of girls rugby is spectacular, reinforced by the fact that in April on our first girls evening we only had a third of the numbers present. Hats off to Ashley Brandon and the Ladies players who organised and reffed, and of course a massive thank you to the dynamic duo of Chris Williams and Charles Roberts, who ran the event like clockwork, there is no doubt that Charles is a man who loves his hooter .
2nd XV vs Wimbledon 2nd XV
The girls’ rugby event was followed by the 2nd XV game against Wimbledon 2’s. This was a game of David and Goliath. A very large Wimbledon side we more than match by an agile and zippy Barnes team (who were probably giving away 4 stone a man in the front row!). But we more than matched the Dons and at half-time we were locked together 10-10, a try from the evergreen Rob Malaney, who, having just turned 30, showed amazing pace for a man off is age bursting through and leaving the Dons defence in tatters.
In the 2nd half Barnes fitness and pace took its toll on the Wimbledon lads and, minute by minute, they tired allowing Barnes to cut loose, first through Nick Van Buuren running a delicious line, followed by two tries from the pocket battleship Lachie Stewart, Barnes winning comfortably in the end 32-10.
1st XV vs Old Redcliffians
I said last week that the ORs results so far this season, and their position in the league table, were not a fair reflection on their playing ability and stature. And I was right. From the kick-off, this highly mobile and robust team came at us in a way no other team has this season, and they kept up that battering ram intensity for the first 60 minutes, giving us our hardest game so far this year. It was a highly physical and intense encounter throughout, not made any easier by both sides making basic errors in the steaming cauldron of battle.
For the first ten minutes, we were pinned in our own half and were 0-7 down after three minutes. It took us until midway through the first period to get into the game, Jack Garrett the beneficiary as the pack drove over the line. With the conversion missed, Barnes were in the game at last at 5-7. Ten minutes later, we scored again, and what a try it was, Josh Davies breaking clear, offloading to Ciaran Smyth, who cantered into acres of unfamiliar space before slipping a perfect pass to the pocket battleship Danny Ruddock. Again, the conversion was missed and we lead 10-7 at halftime.
Early in the second half, OR’s drew level at 10-10 through a penalty kick, and that’s the way it remained as both sides through the kitchen sink at each other desperately searching for the next score.
In the last fifteen minutes Barnes began to dominate, but frustratingly couldn’t break down the rugged visitors’ defence. With time running out the tension mounted, could we snatch a win? Would the oppo sneak it? As we entered the last couple of minutes I had convinced myself that a draw would be ok, two points would be fine, and then IT happened.
Barnes kicked the ball away but OR’s fumble it in their half, Matt the magician Cornish hacked through an army of broken bodies and miraculously the ball pops up into Matt’s arms for him to score. With replacement Josh Hammett slotting the extra two points that was it, game over, and we won 17-10. I am not sure I can take many more games like that! This was an ugly win, but it was a game we may well have lost in previous encounters in this league. The never-say-die attitude of the lads was exemplary and they fought until the end to get the result. I was drained and speechless when the final whistle was blown!
This weeks’ game is going to be as tough, of that there is no doubt at all.
The 1st XV travel to the new rugby facility where Dings Crusaders play. Dings are sitting pretty in 6th place in National League 2 South, having won five out of eight games this season so far, including the scalps of both OA’s and Bury in the last two weeks. We hav not played them since the 2011-12 season when they won at their place 31-17 and we won at Barnes 28-19. That, of course, means nothing, So much has changes for both clubs in the interim. We can expect a game f huge intensity again. One thing is for sure, after last week’s titanic battle we will ready for another one!
Also last week, the Occies slipped up to Old Tiffinians 2’s 38-21, whilst the Vets won in the end 50-31 against a young Old Paulines 2nd XV. Barnes Ladies 2nd XV continued their amazing debut season with a resounding 47-10 home victory against Hackney Ladies 2nd XV.
Another big weekend ahead of Barnes rugby awaits us, with the 1st XV travelling away to Dings Crusaders in Bristol and the 2nd XV playing away at Oxford University.
Here is a full list of games on:
Saturday 27th October
• Dings Crusaders vs Barnes 1st XV - 3pm KO
• Oxford University vs Barnes 2nd XV - 3pm KO
• Occies vs London Media 2's - 3pm KO
• Barnes Harrodians Vets is to be confirmed
Sunday 28th October
• Barnes Ladies 1st XV vs Rosslyn Park Ladies - 2pm KO (Cup Game)
Here’s to another brilliant week of Barnes Rugby and to another 1st XV win at Dings!
Onwards and Upwards!
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield - Chairman Barnes RFC
Updated 16:49 - 8 Nov 2018 by Michael Whitfield