Welcoming TJ’s This Weekend
This weekend we welcome our old rivals, and good friends, Tonbridge Juddians to Barn Elms for the rematch of a cracking game earlier this season, where Josh Davies slotted a penalty deep into stoppage time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat 20-21 at their place. It was a very happy day for us.
And it heralded the start of a five-match match purple patch for Barnes back in the Autumn, but recent form shows a reversal of fortune with TJ’s coming to Barnes today off the back of a three match unbeaten run, impressively taking the scalps of Henley, OA’s and last week Bury.
Barnes on the other hand were on the end of an incredibly dominant battering 48-14 by the appropriately named Rams last week, following the pain of a last minute loss to Guernsey the previous week.
Before looking ahead to this weekend’s game against TJ’s, we have to have a look at what was a very tough last weekend.
Barnes were looking to get back on track against league leaders Rams Rugby, but it was always going to be a tough ask, made even tougher with several key Barnes players missing through injury, and an outbreak of flu laying low several members of the team on game day. I never make excuses for us, and we were very well beaten, but it was as though the gods had all conspired against us (ok a sort of excuse but cut me a little slack ).
Last week Barnes didn’t play poorly, they were simply outclassed by a side bristling with confidence, a side clearly preparing (and ready) for life in National 1. It was clear that we were facing a side much more confident, and significantly stronger, than when we ran them close before Christmas.
The Rams pack were dominant from the kick-off, and simply controlled all of the possession, starving us of any decent ball. Barnes proudly fought from the first minute to the last, and grabbed a couple of scores from the always evervescent Robbie Martey in the first half, to give Barnes some hope going into the second half trailing only 21-7. In truth, we defended valiantly for most of the first period, and I suspect the lads were pretty much physically spent by half-time. But we never gave up, and Johan van der Poel scored a consolation second try with ten minutes left in the game. I am very, very proud of these lads, and I know they will bounce from this.
Other Games Last Weekend
The 2’s also came a cropper against a very strong Rams 2nd XV, keen to avenge us beating them earlier in the season, and boy did they avenge, winning 43 -14 in the end, to reinforce what a confident and strong club Rams now are. We wish them well in Nat 1 next season!
The Occies also suffered one of the biggest losses I can ever remember, going down 60-14 to Reeds Weybridge. On Sunday the Ladies 2nd XV also lost 25-0 away to Hackney Ladies.
It was all looking rather gloomy for the green and gold, and the only ray of sunshine that broke through the grim thick rugby clouds last weekend, was the Vets away game against Camberley Vets, a cup and league double-header. It was the very first time we had played Camberley so we did not know what to expect but the Vets continued their winning ways, vanquishing this strong opposition 17-35 in the end.
If the Vets win was a ray of sunshine, the galloping, side-stepping of the strutting peacock-like skipper Rich Fenech, fair brought a warm vibrant glow to the cold cheeks of the enormous crowd of seven people gathered to watch. As if in slow motion, he waltzed through the Camberley team, thrusting and probing his gigantic thighs, which proved too large for the defence to circumnavigate. As he plunged over the line for his first try in a decade, it was if time stood still, and the world stopped to applaud.
It was at this moment that the normally unmoveable In many ways) Gus Graham dropped to his knees, not in some bizarre sex act but in a genuine expression of sheer unmitigated joy that his buddy Finchy had done it “Thank The Lord” he bellowed..and then it started…a quiet ripple of clapping which grew into a crescendo not heard since the debut of Stomp in the West End. At the final whistle off trooped both teams, not caring about the result, just happy that they could say “I was there”.
Back to Saturday’s game against TJ’s, with a few players back from injury, and hopefully other all recovered from the lurgy, we hope to rediscover some of that old Barnes magic, we will have regrouped, and we will be ready for the Kent boys!
Here are all of the Barnes RFC fixtures this weekend ahead:
Saturday 2nd February
• Barnes 1st XV vs Tonbridge Juddians - 2.30pm KO
• Barnes 2st XV vs Old Elthamians 2nd XV - 1.30pm KO
Sunday 3rd February
• Sutton & Epsom vs Barnes Ladies 1s XV - 2.30pm KO
• Barnes Ladies 2nd XV vx Battersea Ironside Ladies - 2.15pm KO
Please take a minute to read this last bit. I would like to wish better our very own Roy “Vicar” Carlisle, who last week suffered a stroke and is now recovering. We love you at barnes Roy so get well soon please! Our love and support also go out to Nicola, Fraser and Chris, you are all part of the Barnes Rugby family and we are all here to help you if you need us.
As to the rugby, well I know Roy would want us to go out and play to the very best of our ability for him, so let's go and do just that.
The very best of luck to both teams, may the game be played in the original spirit that we hold so dear at Barnes, but of course here’s hoping for a big Barnow win!
Onwards and Upwards!
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield - Chairman Barnes RFC