It’s been a season of two very distinct halves! We started at a tremendous pace with record numbers of players, new support from a professional coaching team and new alliances with the Bank of England rugby club. Across all age groups, 629 minis, juniors and colts joined Barnes Rugby (up 13% on last season) with the great majority of players returning from the previous season, but also a large cohort of new players across the ages. We had 120 coaching volunteers, providing a player to coach ratio of under 6:1, helping develop all of our individuals at the pace that is right for them and having fun while developing in a team-sport environment. We are proud that 11% of the Minis playing membership is female and also that we were able to support a number of players through our Exceptional Circumstances scheme, opening up rugby to those who may otherwise not be able to afford it.
By the time the biblical rains came in February, we had clocked up a record number of competitive fixtures and festivals, as well as the ‘One Club’ socials boosted by the Rugby World Cup in Japan and hugely successful Friday Floodlit festivals for local primary schools. Minis festivals at Wimbledon, Windsor, Cobham/ Reeds and London Welsh Dragons were attended by most age groups for the first time as well as our regular calendar including Ealing, Richmond and Rosslyn Park. The Friday Night Floodlit Festival series run by Barnes RFC for local primary schools was the largest and best yet and over 600 players took part, with glowing feedback from schools, including for the girls-only festival introducing many newcomers to rugby.
With the premature end to the season due to coronavirus, tours to Somerset, France, Italy and Scotland very sadly had to be postponed. But instead we contributed an astonishing 1.8m KG to the Barnes RFC Big Lift, with 768 youth participants and their families, raising money for NHS Charities and in memory of the father of a Barnes senior player and great club man who tragically died from the virus. The Barnes RFC Big Lift has reminded us about the special Barnes spirit and the strength of the rugby community that is there with us during lock down.
Colts – U18s combined with U17s from Bank of England to create a tour de force in Surrey and Middlesex counties. The Colts won one of the Surrey Waterfall Cups and were well on the way to the Surrey Chairman’s Quins Cup Final in April when lockdown struck.
U16 – a very talented group of rugby players reached the semi- finals of the (postponed) Harlequins Cup – so a top 4 ranking in Surrey.
U15 –developed an attacking style of play with some very decent scalps taken in competitions throughout the season, which saw great progress.
U14 – were able to run 2 sides again for the season, with 50 players, and some outstanding rugby played when the boys “clicked”.
Girls Juniors training with Imperial College University and Women’s RFC training. Attended the England Roses training session with the Barnes Women’s squad.
U13 Girls – participated in their first Surrey tournament.
U13 Boys – unbeaten in their Surrey cup matches.
U12 – squad finished the season with a place in the Middlesex County Shield final.
U11 –a strong and tight-knit 70-player squad going great guns in their last season of mini rugby festivals before joining the juniors. Sad to miss out on their booked-to-capacity tour to France!
U10 – added a large cohort of new players making a total squad of 76 players and played some outstanding running rugby. Like the Under 8s, an end of season highlight was winning their respective age group TREDS award at the London Welsh festival for demonstration of core rugby values in their play.
U9 – took to tackling this year with gusto, registering wins against big clubs, while emphasising rugby values at this key transition stage.
U8 – had an awesome season with the squad bonding well in addition to welcoming many new faces, all playing together in true rugby spirit. The last season before tackling begins saw us focus on key ball skills, and supporting each other for that quick offload and try – which dazzled parents and opposition at our festival appearances.
U7 – demonstrated boundless energy throughout the season and grew tremendously over the season. We had a great turnout for festivals.
U6 – enjoyed consistently strong weekly turnout with a good mix of boys and girls. They continued to focus on developing the core skills of catching, running with the ball passing and evading being tagged . The mighty U6s are ready for festival rugby next season.
U5 – spent the season introducing an unprecedented cohort of new players (60 plus!) to some of the core rugby skills: catching, running with the ball in both hands, and dodging obstacles, including each other!