Civil Service Barbarians V Hanwell RFC
On Saturday 30th November, Hanwell RFC travelled to Tolworth to take on the Civil Service Barbarians in the penultimate league game of 2013.
The term "barbarian" refers to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized, intimidating and ferocious. In reality, the Civil Service Barbarians were not only the perfect hosts, but were also one of two clubs who proposed Hanwell's application to join Middlesex RFU.
However, as far as the niceties went. They ended at kick off when the Barbarians reverted to type, playing with ferocity and an intimidating forwards pack.
The visitors started brightly however and were camped in the Baa Baas 22 for much of the open 10 minutes. The hosts defended their line heroically and managed to clear their lines again and again.
Eventually, Hanwell started to put some good phases of play together and broke through to the Barbarian's 5 metre line where quick ball from the ruck, went through the backs hands to Captain Steve Nolan, who accelerated through a gap in the defence to offload to his brother Phil Nolan to cross the line for the first score out wide. With the conversion narrowly missed, the game restarted with the scores 0-5 to the visitors.
More good phases of forward play once again put Hanwell on the front foot, with a sweeping backs move cutting the home side apart, only for Hanwell to knock the ball on when it would have been easier to score.
With the home side clearing their lines, Hanwell once again gained ground, when prop Ashley Chapman shrugged off an attempted tackle and rampaged through 3 defending Barbarians only for his pass to narrowly miss the supporting Kenny Hassan.
At the resulting scrum, Hanwell's number 8 picked up and ran into space, passing perfectly to flanker Myles Cavendish to run into the 22 and over the try line.
Again the extras were not taken and the game restarted at Baa Baas 0 Hanwell 10.
Rather than letting their heads drop, the second try seemed to galvanise the home side who began to use their powerful pack to start influencing the game.
Hitting the rucks hard, the hosts put Hanwell on the back foot, resulting in a series of penalties which the Barbarians used to put themselves into the corner.
Despite knowing what to expect, the Barbarian lineout and resulting maul was expertly executed and their pack drove their way over the try-line in the far corner.
The host's flyhalf stepped up from a difficult position and nailed the conversion to close the scores to 7-10 in favour of the visitors.
From the restart, the hosts were back on the attack. Once again using their pack to edge their way into the Hanwell half, a Baa Baas player (centre?) picked and ran with feet like Fred Astaire through three Hanwell defenders to score a fantastic try. This time, with an easier conversion, the extras were missed.
The halftime scores; Civil Service Barbarians 12 Hanwell RFC 10.
The beginning of the second half was a close affair - similar to a game of chess with both sides seemingly cancelling out each others attacking moves.
Eventually, a change in the Hanwell front row was made with John Bodman stepping into the hooker's berth, having been playing at flyhalf until that point.
The change had an immediate effect with the first scrum causing the Barbarian hooker to go off to the concussion bin for five minutes.
Hanwell were ruthless during this period, with both fullback Kevin Falvey and centre Paul Doherty both crossing the line for scores.
With the home side back to 15 men, Hanwell kept up the pressure when a Baa Baas player had been shepherded out on his 22 line. The lineout was taken quickly with John Bodman throwing an NFL style pass to Paul Doherty, who put through centre Kirk Saunders who crossed the line with two Baa Baas players still hanging on to him.
The hosts came fighting back with another power play from the forwards, resulting in one of their locks scoring a try that even he wasn't 100% sure that he had managed to cross the line. The Hanwell players debated among themselves, but the score was more than deserved by a team fighting for every one of the 80 minutes.
With the game all but won, there was just time for Hanwell Number 8, H.O. Louwrens to pick up at the base of the scrum and running blind to cross the line unopposed.
The game was very physical and with the hosts fighting to the end it was sad to see H.O. Louwrens suffering a knee injury that will sideline him for a while.
The final score of Barbarians 17 Hanwell RFC 36, keeps Hanwell in second place in the Merit Table, with the Civil Service Barbarians in seventh.
3rd December 2013