The start of the Barbarians third season saw another game dedicated to the memory of Alex Wallis.
Our opponents were the star studded Princethorpe Old Boys whose glitterati included the outstanding Oscar Heath from Birmingham and Solihull and five members of Old Leamingtonians First XV.
The Barbarians, as ever, comprised an eclectic mix . There were newbies (welcome to Josh Hickman, Laurence Parkin and Sam Ackers in particular). There were 2 sets of brothers .The Haynes’ boys were making a welcome appearance at half backs with George returning from 18 months of being a luvvy . The Rapley boys were out in force . There were squaddies (congratulation to James Nichol on being selected for the Army Under 23 Squad), recent A-Level students who appear to have been taking their freshers week training if not their rugby training seriously and a vagrant, who on closer examination transpired to be Nick Prince with a hangover worthy of Oliver Reed!
Creditable debuts were also made by 17 year old Colts, Corey Joy and Joshua Schram.
As ever, there was a warm and appreciative crowd and, the game was refereed by former Kenilworth Juniors Coach , Dermot Collins, who refereed with his usual good natured belligerence.
Princethorpe took the lead with a try from Oscar Heath but the scores were soon levelled by an outstanding team try scored by Sam Ackers converted by Josh Hickman.
Princethorpe then regained the lead to 14 : 17 after a try and (in an act of heresy in a Barbarians’ fixture) they opted to kick a perfectly runnable penalty to take the score to 17 : 7.
After the break, James Nichol who was on outstanding form all day, narrowed the scores with a try to 17 : 12 converted again by Josh Hickman.
Two further tries by Princethorpe, however, one converted stretched their lead to 29 : 14 but in the closing moments of the game, another excellent try by James Nichol again converted by Josh Hickman, brought the final score to 29 : 21.
A beautiful day and a very enjoyable game played out in front of an appreciative crowd.
Many others deserve a mention. Paul Grenney, was a tattooed wrecking ball, in mid field .
Ollie Lee having played the previous day for a different club remembered which team he was playing for
Rob Gardener Gerard Rhodes and Sam Cullen were as lively as ever. Ed Hannam who had played for the First XV the previous day was equally as effective and malevolent in the back row and centre.
The three Jones boys, Ollie, Michael and Tommy were all lively performers with Ollie Jones winning the Man of the Match Award.
Jamie Higgins made a welcome return after a serious shoulder injury and we all give our best wishes to James Rapley who is off to serve with the Foreign Office in China! God help us!
Callum Hanlon is a powerful and athletic centre and Andy Rapley was as ever extremely pleasant in the bar afterwards!
Dan Roberts looks more and more like Spongebob Squarepants every time he plays but made an important contribution
A hugely enjoyable day and we look forward to the next fixture against Moreton Morrell College on the evening of Wednesday, 25th September 2013 KO 7.15ish