So who saw that one coming? Be honest?
Certainly not many of those who peer into the club from their own ivory towers outside from other clubs. that's for sure.
I am sure that even some of the Barnes massif would have doubted a win of this magnitude, maybe they would have considered a sneaked win by a couple of points, or a last minute draw perhaps?
Well, how wrong you all were! However, if you had talked to any of the players or coaches then they would have told you that we have been threatening a performance like this all season. And on Saturday that performance came, for all 80 minutes.
We defended like the Welsh Guards at Rorke’s Drift in the first half, and we attacked like Mel Gibson’s Braveheart in the second half.
In the local paper, the home club was being tipped to notch this one up as a five-point home win that would keep their hopes of survival alive.
But matches aren’t played on paper are they?
With the Bees full of confidence after a run of good form, which had seen them record victories over Worthing and Old Albanians in successive weeks, and with Barnes still not technically safe in 10th place in National League 2 South, you could be forgiven for thinking that Barnes were seriously up against it. Bees also had an enviable winning home record, having not lost at Portway since the Rams visited them in December.
Those who regularly read this weekly ramble from me will know that I am often wont to say, cometh the hour, cometh the Barnow. And boy, did they bleedin’ well cometh!
At Barnes, we like nothing more than to be told: “we’re all doomed Captain Mainwaring”. That is when we love to defy the odds, and win!
Still licking our wounds after losing a winnable game at Clifton last week, the boy came out of the traps fast, hooker Jack Garrett scoring the first of his two trys of the afternoon from a rolling maul after only four minutes. Josh Hammett rediscovered the kicking boots that deserted him at Clifton the week before, converting the try, and slotting a further penalty. With only eight minutes on the clock, we led 0 -10.
There followed a long period of midfield arm-wrestling. Despite two yellow cards, the Bees held firm, and it was the home team that scored just before half-time, reducing the gap to 5 -10 at the break. The scoreline does not tell the full story of the first half, where Barnes defended magnificently against sustained Bees pressure. That defence set us up well for our second half performance. And what a performance it was!
Too often this season, we have taken a lead into half time only to squander it early in the second period. But last Saturday did not add to that roster of “if only we had done this instead of this” results. In an exact symmetry of the first half, after only four minutes Alex Hind stormed down the blindside from a five-metre scrum, seizing the initiative back for Barnes, and extending our lead to 5-15.
That try broke the Bees resolve, opening the floodgates for Barnes, and we notched up four more trys. Jack Garrett bagged his second, man-of-the-match, super skipper Jamie Collins scored one, and the mercurial Tom O’Toole and the effervescent Greg Davies. With Josh Hammett slotting three of the four conversions, that wrapped up the action and Barnes recorded an emphatic 5-41 victory, securing our status for next season in National League 2, and almost certainly relegating the Bees. This game can be fantastic sometimes, but also very cruel, and if Birmingham do go down we wish you very well for the future, we have been there a few times ourselves so we know how it feels!
This weekend, we entertain the City side from Canterbury, one of only two sides that have soundly beaten us this season, the other being the Rams who we congratulate for their well-earned promotion to National 1, which they secured last weekend. At Canterbury’s place in December, we went down 38-5, and they have not lost since they slipped up at Dings in January.
So yes, Canterbury are on top form, they are flying high in second place in the league, but they have TJ’s snapping at their heels. This is a must win game for the Kent side, lose and TJ’s may well overtake them. The pressure is all on Canterbury, and of course we owe them a much better performance than we delivered in our previous game. It should be a real cracker!
Please do come down and support the lads, they will really appreciate it.
Saturday 13th April Fixtures
In addition to the Barnes vs Canterbury game, the 2nd XV face a tough encounter away to Richmond Saxons, and the Occies play Battersea Ironsides a double-header encounter, being the league playoff game and the semi-finals of the cup competition they are in – full details below!
• Barnes 1st XV vs Canterbury - 3.00pm KO
• Richmond Saxons vs Barnes 2nd XV - 2.30pm KO
• Mayfair Occasionals vs Battersea Ironsides - 2.30pm KO
The very best of luck to all of the Barnes RFC teams this weekend, may you play in the original spirit that we embrace at Barnes RFC, and may you come away victorious and happy!
Onwards and Upwards!
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield - Chairman Barnes RFC