Anyone not familiar with the rugby might find the idea of Civil Servants running around a grassy field behaving like Barbarians to be either baffling or worrying! But those familiar with the oval-ball game are likely to be far more reassured. In rugby-terms, the name is generally given to a team made up from different clubs gathering together to play a handful of matches while enjoying the camaraderie of the game and playing attacking, adventurous rugby.
It was a philosophy that was adopted by the CSSC Barbarians Rugby Club, according its founder and inaugural club Captain Ashley Robinson.
We wanted to create a friendly rugby club with no airs and graces & club that is run by its members for its members. We take a lot of pride in representing our departments and Civil Service in the rugby arena!
Starting as the Immigration Irregulars Rugby Club, the ethos was born out in an out of hours Civil Service board room and the team went on to play its fist ever game of rugby in Carshalton, Surrey.
The inaugural match took place against Mitcham Rugby Club on Saturday 8th April 2006 . The Irregulars team was comprised primarily of Immigration & Police Officers and a few officers of the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman.
The team captain was Ashley Robinson who ensured they all met early, in order for some to take a crash-course in the laws of the game, and for others to meet each other for the first time. The match kicked off at 15:00 and the game started well with an early try for the Irregulars.
Lack of knowledge of the laws of the game, and lack of knowledge of team mates names (!) had a noticeable effect, and by half-time Mitcham led 19-5. The second half, however, saw the Irregulars come out fighting with heads held high. After a few substitutions injected a bit of much-needed fresh blood (and youth) the Irregulars started playing like a team that had been together for years.
Three tries from the forwards, including two from the captain, made it anyones game and half-way through the second half the Irregulars were right back in it and were leading 20-19! Mitcham were however fighting hard to get back in the game and put another try down late in the second half to regain the lead. The Irregulars spirits were still high, and encouraged by some vocal support from the touchline they subsequently stole the last try of the game.
The match ended with the Irregulars victorious 27-24. Man of the match was fly-half Raymond Stephens. Mitcham were perfect hosts and provided kit, a pitch, a ref, food and refreshments for all the team, although I believe they were a little surprised at how well the Irregulars played on the day! The match was competitive but played in the best of spirit with handshakes all round.
Following discussions with Home Office Sports and Social Association and the Civil Service Sports Council (CSSC), the Immigration Irregulars Rugby Club, the club later became the National, Civil Service Rugby Club.
Remaining dominated by Immigration Service and Home Office staff the club took on the name CSSC Barbarians. The change widened the player base, for the greater good of the club, however still retaining a strong Immigration presence with the UK Border Force Director General acting as its Honorary President.
The club aims to offer rugby to players of any standard or level of experience, wherever they may be in the country.
The club is set-up to play fixtures around the country against a mixture of club teams and other government departments. We have had a mixture of experience in the teams we have put out so far - some people turn out regularly for a club side while some people haven't played before. We always find a place for anyone who wants to play; it's one of the integral parts of the club.