At the beginning of every season your Chairman always contemplates with a little trepidation the months ahead in the same way - it’s three months until Christmas, then the break, and, if you have done well up to that point, the four month run in to the end of April.
This year, for whatever reason, I do feel different. All is calm at Barnes RFC this year. Brett Taylor, our Director of Rugby, who joined us in rush as the season started in 2011, has settled in well and is forming a formidable partnership with Coach Jamie Turner. Together they have planned well and recruited even better in the summer months. We have lost only one player from last season, a large loss in the large form of Super Gary Holmes, our inspirational Captain for the last few season, who, at the tender age of 26 has decided to give his broken and battered body a career break. We will no doubt see him supporting from the touch line in October when the grounds are softer with itchy feet, gagging to get back on the pitch!
Despite losing Gary as I said we have recruited well during the last few months and we approach this season with confidence but not with any complacency. The 1st XV squad have less travelling to do this year with all games being less than 100 miles or so from Barnes. We come up against our friends who fell with us last year to National 3, Hertford and Westcombe Park and we welcome back to Barn Elms Bishops Stortford, Dorking , Gravesend, Staines and Tring and the closest club to Barnes just over Chiswick Bridge, CS Rugby 1863 (Civil Service in old money).
Of course there some new exciting clubs to welcome to Barn Elms for the very first time: Channel islanders Guernsey, Old Elthamians, the highly rated Tonbridge Juddian, Thurrock and Westcliff.
All our opposition are welcome to enjoy the hospitality of Barnes RFC and we hope that the 2012/13 season is a really enjoyable one on and off the field
The 2nd XV, passionately coached by Paul Spencer and Julius To’o, will look to have another great season and, with competition for places so tight in the top teams, will hope to see lots of 2nd XV people getting regular starts in the 1st XV.
Courtney Maggs-Jones, our swash buckling Development XV skipper, will be looking to create a stable platform for spring boarding our talent up the ladder into the 2nd XV and beyond whilst Tom Sunderland goes it alone as Captain of the mighty Occies, looking to build on a good season last time. Many thanks to Alex Rigg who has worked in tandem with Tom for the last few seasons).
In the Vets it is time for the older generation to take over from Nick Bradley and Nick Morgans, sticking rigidly to their youth policy, Rich Fenech and Nick Bellis will prove a formidable team and I am sure we will see a great new Vets team rising shortly.
The Ladies has a rousing season last time and will be looking for an even better season this time.
In the Minis Hugh Ferridge is in charge again and, with over 200 minis signed up last season with an amazing army of mums and dads helping out, I can’t see anything other than a fantastic season ahead for our talented pool of youngsters.
So it looks like we are set fair for a cracking season ahead. Please feel free to come and play for us, support us or just join us for a quiet beer in our clubhouse – Barnes RFC will always welcome you with open arms into the Green and Gold Army!
Michael “Rhino” Whitfield - Chairman - Barnes RFC