This game was important to both teams as they started the day one point, and one place, apart in National League 2, OR’s in 12th and Barnes in 13th place.
On a soggy and windswept pitch in Bristol, Barnes played down the hill in the first half in pretty appalling conditions which proved challenging and lead to errors from both sides throughout the match.
Whilst OR’s slotted an early penalty, Barnes soon responded with Tom O’Toole touching down to give Barnes a 3-5 lead. OR’s bounced back and retook the lead 8-5 after 20 minutes. It stayed that until just before half-time when Josh Davies scored, and with Tom O’Toole bagging the extras Barnes now lead 8-12. The lead was further extended with a successful O’Toole penalty just on the break. Barnes turned around 8-15 up. With worsening conditions, and the slope now against them, the main question as the second half kicked off was would Barnes be to resist the big OR’s pack rolling down the hill and maintain their well-deserved lead?
Early in the second period, after a try-saving tackle from OR’s prevented a certain Barnes try after an interception, we were made to pay with a penalty that reduced our lead to 11-15. From then on OR’s were in the ascendency, turning the screw in the tight, and dominating the scrums. It seemed inevitable that OR’s would score and, after another dominant scrum, they did just that. With the conversion good OR’s now lead 18-15. One final score for the home side and that was it. Again Barnes fought hard all game, but the lead at half time was not enough to defend against a big robust pack like OR’s. In the conditions, once OR’s got the nudge on we were always on the back foot and as the game went on this became the deciding factor.
We move on this week to play Dings Crusaders at Barn Elms, in another critical game for us. Dings are 5 points and 3 places in front of us in the league. A win on Saturday from Barnow and we are back in a relatively comfortable position in the league, conversely a loss makes it more uncomfortable, I know which result I am rooting for!
Other Games Last Weekend
Last week both the Occies and the Vets recorded great wins, despite the trauma of having Barn Elms closed due to perceived water-logged pitches. This required a gargantuan effort from fixture secretary Christy Pickering to find alternative places to play and we are eternally grateful to her and Old Tiffs and Esher for accommodating this 11th-hour inconvenience.
Old Tiffs were probably Old Miffed was the Occies won 17-0 and Farnham Vets were blown away by Barnes Vets 59-7 - no try for skipper Finchy this week though.
This weekend there are only three games, the details of them are below:
• Barnes 1st XV vs Dings Crusaders - 2.30pm KO
• London Media vs Mayfair Occasionals - 2.30pm KO
• Haringey Ladies vs Barnes Ladies Development XV - 1.00pm KO
Please do come down and support your 1st XV on Saturday against Dings, it is an incredibly important game, and the boys will massively appreciate your cheers!
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield - Chairman Barnes Rugby Club