Barns Green were heading into the last game of the season undefeated amongst the Sussex-based teams with only St Francis left in their way of cleaning up. The matchup against St Francis was billed to be a physical showdown of two teams that play up front rugby and don’t shy away from the physicality of the game.
St Francis started off the better side, grinding away at a resolute Barns Green defense when a gap opened for St Francis fly-half to slide through and touch down for the opening points of the game. Barns Green tried to fight back but several unforced errors meant that any potential momentum was quickly shut down. Despite the tenacity of the small village side, St Francis put more points on the board after several penalties led their pack crossing the line with not long left to go. The nerves in both the players and the large support began to show as it felt the day might not be theirs.
Barns Green had to score the next points if they were to have a chance and that’s exactly what they did. As the momentum started to slowly shift BG’s way thanks to the dominant scrum, the forwards hammered at the St Francis door when Danny Conway spotted a gap from 2 meters out which he took full advantage of driving himself over the line. Shortly after, the halftime whistle blew, and Barns Green knew that they had to forget the first 40, if they were to make the last 40 of the season count.
The halftime team talk from Captain Thomas Bouet calmed the nerves and reenergized the players as they came out with a vengeance. It wasn’t long before Conway touched down for his second try after a strong run from Mike Mann opened the defense allowing Conway too make use of the disjointed defense and crossed over under the posts.
With the Barns Green forwards were dominating both the line outs and the scrums whilst the backs were able to make ground with the quick ball it wasn’t long until Barns Green took the lead from another Conway try. Barns Green dominated a drive from a lineout. As they marched on, Conway broke from the back to attack the blind side and touched down for a 17-12 lead.
Barns Green now looked confident and in control of the game. With the luck of some 50/50s going their way, it was Conway who really sealed the deal with his 4th try of the afternoon after he found himself on the shoulder of Matt Sprigge who offloaded out of a tackle which allowed Conway to canter into the corner. With daylight now opening between the two teams, Barns Green were relaxed and started to play with confidence. After a well-worked set of phases Charlie Adams capped off the day with a try by the posts to make the score 29-12.
As the final whistle blew, Barns Green finished off a brilliant club day and season with an emphatic win at the field of dreams. The players gathered in the middle of the pitch to toast the season, coach, captain and VPs with some well-earned refreshments. As the summer break begins, minds turn to recruitment for the next season as they aim to carry on their momentum and success into next season.
Coach Bailey thanked the players for their commitment and willingness to learn during a season in which there was never a dull moment. He added that preseason training starts on 10th July.
Result Barns Green 29 St Francis 12
Trys Conway x4 Adams x1
Conversions Sprigge x 2