By Rich Fenech
Evening fellow Barnes lovers…..
For me one of the greater aspects of Barnes RFC is our ability to allow the Club to become a safe place for people to explore their inner passions and better understand who they really are so that they can free themselves of the burden of ridicule and harsh judgment! Many of you will understandably and with haste jump wrongly to the conclusion that I refer to Simon Curran; shame on you….! Andy Pickering, I hear you cry! Even more shame on you! Frank!!!......err Nope!
At the Vets end of the Club we have been doing our part in the community to help other less amazing clubs feel better about themselves and allow them to field teams of wholly inadequate players and go on to give us a good thrashing and by doing so rebuilding their inner confidence. Of course such work in the community has to be carefully managed and well thought through so selecting the opposition Clubs we wanted to work closely with was important. As such we felt Quins Amateurs needed a bolster so we allowed them to win the game 24-19, the mighty Sutton and Epsom had many new fresh baby faced players who really wanted to feel good about themselves so we felt really pleased with our work when they beat us 41-31 and now sit top of the league table unbeaten.
Not content with our humble approach to working closely with these insecure clubs we even took only 14 players away to Farnham last week to see if we could help them out. Having narrowly beaten Farnham in a league decider only a few years ago, we knew that they were in much need of our kind charity and coaching prowess. Embracing the good nature of our work, Farnham arranged for a squad of 28 to greet us and even allowed two of their players to represent us and pull on the hallowed Harrodian jersey! Despite pumping us 31-10 the Farnham hospitality and post match banter was impeccable and soon Skips turned to leave smiling that our good spirited work was done here!
This theme of Barnes RFC Harrodian Vets helping other meek Clubs to improve their self esteem by beating us, really caught on quick amongst the boys who became really creative in finding ways in which they could help! Not surprisingly many ideas ensued but here are some of the best ways the guys have helped other Clubs:
1. Sorry Skips I’m off to India for three weeks
2. Sorry Skips I’ve got family dinner
3. Sorry Skips I’ve got the S**t’s
4. Sorry Skips the wife said no
5. Sorry Skips my back is stiff
6. Sorry Skips I am on Daddy Duty!
It’s this sort of selfless commitment I admire and is what makes a great side……putt the opposition first and play with humility.
In fact on a serious note, that’s just what a small group of us recently did under the motivational leadership of Mike Croft who runs the amazing 3 Pillars project helping troubled young men who for various reasons have found themselves serving time at HMP Wormwood Scrubs. I personally was hugely humbled with the way in which a handful of inmates came together using the values of rugby, which we all embrace, to give these young Men some ‘hope’ to learn from; I urge all of you to have a look at Mike’s work.
However, back at the dizzy heights of Vets rugby I soon had to turn my attention to this weekend’s fixture with London Irish. Things had backfired as the Occies game was cancelled and so players became available to represent the Vets, the 2s had played on Friday night so Spence was up for a game which meant all of Spence’s friends wanted to also play alongside him; well Gibbo in the end decided too!
All of a sudden we had a squad of over 21 players ready to take on the Irish! How could this be, how on earth were we going to help London Irish feel good about themselves on such a perfectly crisp, cold, bright winters day……
Step forward referee Paddy Hayes…..
“Tood aftatanooon Fellas! Can I see ya spuds peease!”
Errrr…..yes Sir….errr…..are you on the opposition team by any chance!?
Of course I was pleased, an Irish ref to officiate a game with the Irish v Barnes Harrodian – quintessentially everything English and to hate RFC! Boom – we should lose this one I thought!
As it happens Irish were pretty handy from the off and came at us with a quick try to test our resolve. We then replied and for large phases of the game lost our mojo and dominated the scrums, lineouts and punished them with fast ball from all over the place. In fact Barnes played so well, some have commented it was one of our best games ever! I am reliably informed that we were ahead by 41 to 19 in the early 2nd half and were at risk of winning.
Yet in true Harrodian spirit, especially at Christmas time we felt we should sabotage the game and try to lose it! Sending offs weren’t going to help and Skips can’t afford another red behaving like Rocky, so best ploy was to let the backs have the ball and see how many interceptions they could give away….gits galore indeed! Not one, nor two, but three fecking, crazy, pointless passes were made – just like the drunken Octopus having an epileptic fit, (who somehow made it into Skips match report some years ago); an unimaginable picture of disarray!
With five minutes to go we were 41-36 up and even the ref was overwhelmed with excitement at the prospect of seeing his family win, though no sooner had he blown his whistle he legged it in fear for his knees!
So it transpires that if Harrodian Vets field a half decent bunch of players we are in danger of finding our winning form; Skips will have to think carefully about how we approach our next encounter!
Meanwhile, whilst the 1s and Vets achieved great wins, one of our close brethren was warming up his vocal chords in preparation for his new found singing career! It’s not often someone amazingly brilliant and inspirational, whilst being a giant in his chosen industry confides in you and there are many things Column and I discuss! Though it was the fact our very own Chairman has decided to apply all his skills, experience and larger than life humble nature to reaching out to the very many retires all over the UK and bringing back his own take on Val Doonican. We salute you Rhino and are all immensely pleased you feel happy to explore your new found passions!
The Squad who delivered – at last!