Around 10pm last Saturday night (my memory is somewhat hazy on the exact detail) I sat down, on my own, in the very lovely Awesome Thai in Barnes. Sometime later, I awoke with a jolt, it was full when I came in but now it appeared like I was the only one left. “Please may I order some rice and chicken?” I asked. “You have already had it sir” came the reply. “Ah well, best I pay the bill then” “You have done that too sir” the patient waiter added. “Best I go home then” I blurted out, pathetically smiling to cover my mild embarrassment at forgetting ordering, eating and paying for my meal, and then falling asleep. “Was it worth it sir?” asked the man, as he held the door open for me to miss the step completely, and stumble out onto the street, “Oh yes, it so was” I called back, as I bounced like a demented pinball along the road back to my house, a beaming smile on my face, as I remembered the day just gone at Barnes Rugby Club, on the occasion of the 11th Annual Barnes Vets Lunch.
A crowd of over 400 flocked to Barn Elms last weekend, largely made up of Barnes’ players from the last 50 years. We trailed Bury throughout most of the game and, with six minutes to go, we looked down and out at 10-24 down.
But these Barnes boys never lie down at times like these, and they refused to accept defeat.
Earlier in the afternoon, we started far too slowly and Bury romped into a 0-12 lead inside the first quarter. It did not look good. Bury are composed, organised and read our game really well, and we just couldn’t get any momentum.
But that was before Frank The Tank Macarthur got involved. Like a balding Popeye, this swash-buckling John Belushi of a man, picked a great line after a wave of Barnes attacks and strode across the whitewash on the half hour to score. With Josh Hammett doing the honours, as we approached half time the momentum was with Barnes, now trailing 7-12. Right on halftime, the Bury loose head upset the ref and was yellow carded, the resulting penalty allowed Josh Hammett to reduce the deficit further. At the break, Barnes found themselves in the somewhat surprising position of being only 10 -12 down.
The second half went much the same was at the first half had, with the visitors scoring 12 unanswered points to lead 10-24. Bury looked homed and hosed with only ten minutes to go.
Maybe Bury relaxed too much thinking it was game over?
Maybe Barnes finally believed in themselves?
Maybe the pending wrath of Joe and Belly in full cry in the changing room after the game put the heebie jeebies into the lads?
Whatever it was, Barnes were inspired in that last few minutes.
First the evergreen, and ever grumpy, Dave Butler went over with six minutes to go, then, right on the final whistle, it was the turn of our Man of Steele, Matt Steele, to be Jonny on the spot and score the vitial try.
Just as vital was the sharp shooting skills of fly-half Josh Hammett, who slotted both conversions nervelessly, in deteriorating light and weather.
And that was it. Job done. The whistle blew, and there we were with a share of the spoils, the final score being 24-24.
Bury were absolutely gutted.
Barnes were absolutely ecstatic.
We probably got a get out of jail free card there, but you need some luck, and we never gave up, so you could also say that we got what we deserved, I certainly will!
This week the 1st XV travel to Guernsey with a party of Vets, and venerable and intrepid supporters who, if they are anything like me, will have only just sobered up from the very large night that followed the Vets Lunch and game against Bury.
We had a cracking game last year, which we just won, thanks to a Matt Cornish interception, that result effectively deciding who won the league and who came second. Earlier this season, we were completely ambushed by Guernsey Coach Jordy, and his band of merry Raiders, when they journeyed to Barn Elms. We were sucked into an arm-wrestle against a team who love nothing better. We ended up losing 21-26, so this return leg is set up to be an absolute belter. We owe Guernsey for that loss earlier in the season, and the Raiders will be desperate to inflict more pain on us.
Should be a cracking game and night after!
Other Results Last Weekend
Loads of other games last weekend. The 2's lost heartbreakingly in the last play to Cinderford, whilst the Occies continued their excellent run of form. On Sunday the Ladies 1st just lost out to Battersea Ironsides Ladies.
There were a host of Junior games last Sunday too, our Barnes Girls Under 13's winning against Battersea Ironsides, the Under 13's and 14's teams winning against Camberley and Cobham and the Under 15's just missing out to Sutton and Epsom. Well done to all of the teams that player, our Minis and Junior sections are in rude health!
Here are the results in detail:
Saturday 12th January Results
• Cinderford 2nd XV 24 - 22 Barnes 2nd XV
• Occies 34 - 15 Old Cranleighians
Sunday 13th January Results
• Barnes Ladies 1st XV 5 - 15 Battersea Ironsides Ladies
• Barnes Under 13's Girls 6 - 4 Battersea Girls
• Barnes Under 12 Boys 3 - 12 KCS
• Barnes Under 13 A’s 4 - 2 Camberley A’s
• Barnes Under 13 B’s 6 - 7 Old Reigatians B’s
• Cobham Under 14’s 15 - 58 Barnes Under 14’s
• Barnes Under 15’s 21 - 31 Sutton & Epsom Under 15’s
Fixtures This Weekend - 19th and 20th January
As I said earlier, Barnes 1st XV travel to Guernesy with the Vets this weekend and the 2nd XV are at home against Bishop Stortford.
Here are the details:
Saturday 19th January
• Guernsey Raiders vs Barnes 1st XV - 2pm KO
• Barnes 2nd XV vs Bishops Stortford 2nd XV - 2pm KO
• Guernsey Vets vs Barnes Vets - 11am KO
Sunday 20th January
• Windsor Ladies vs Barnes Ladies 1st XV - 2pm KO
Here's is to another brilliant weekend of Barnes Rugby, and a fantastic win in Guernsey!
Onwards and Upwards Barnow Rugby!
Michael "Rhino" Whitfield - Chairman Barnes RFC