A local rugby derby has the potential to be great and St Ives Rugby versus Barker Old Boys did not disappoint. It was like two tribes going to war at Hassall Park in St Ives on the weekend in the second round of this division 2 clash. There was a good crowd of supporters who were there to see the clash of these talented suburban sides.
Barker Old Boys, as its name suggests, consists mainly of rugby players that attended Barker College in Hornsby. Barker Old Boys, or BOBs as they like to call it, play hard; they party hard when they are off the field and they are a force to be reckoned with on the field. This is the beginning of the season and a few of the players looked like they were still ‘bulking’ rather than ‘shredding’ but all-in-all they were fit and match-ready.
St Ives is the local team and the hosts for the day. They have an enviable set-up at Hassall Park with two flood lit pitches and a clubhouse with bar upstairs. This turned out to be an absolute blessing as the heavens opened and the rain came in. Watching two tribes battling for supremacy, whilst enjoying a drink under cover felt quite indulgent.
The men of St Ives Rugby are a strong, battle-hardened outfit. Their forward packs were fearless and willing to grind out any encounter.
I watched two games closely, the Colt sides, or Under 21’s playing in the Robertson Cup and the First Grade sides battling for the Barraclough Cup. The Colts game was fast, open and flowing. Despite the weather, ball handling was good and the play clean and fast. Barker Old Boys had the upper hand right from the start with the match being played mostly in the St Ives half. St Ives fought hard, but any chance that BOBs were given to get the ball out to their backs was capitalised upon quickly.
St Ives Colts had one of the Kennan boys playing in the side; a third generation Kennan playing for the club and a mark of the loyalty this club engenders in to its members.
Sadly, the game had to be shortened when, in the midst of the second half; one of the St Ives players was badly injured scoring a fantastic try right in the far corner. The player was carted off to hospital for precautionary scans but I am told that he is going to be okay, if a little sore. Final score had BOBs win 17:7.
The Open’s match was a much more solid affair. It’s like watching a couple of tectonic plates smashing together. These lads are big, strong and unwilling to give any ground to their opponents. Once again, any chance that St Ives gave to the BOBs backs was punished with a dash for the try line. However, this was a much more evenly matched affair because St Ives has a large, strong forward pack. St Ives quickly realised that their best opportunity was to keep the ball with their forwards and grind out the match.
The score line was 29:5 giving BOBs a well-deserved win. However, I feel the contest was a more even affair than the score line shows.
A great afternoon was had. On the field it was a tough match at all grades, slogged-out in the rain. Once players had showered and a put on a change of clothes, there were speeches, presentations and a great end to an enjoyable afternoon at Hassall Park.
Match day photos are on our Facebook Page.