On Saturday 20th November, The Hague Barbarians (the combined teams from Wassenaar Warriors, WRC Te Werve and Voorburgse Rugby Club) delivered a solid winning performance against The Waterweg Warriors (The Hookers). The clubs had meet previously in a friendly competition, with The Hookers firmly beating The Barbarians in that pre-season warm-up. Learning from that experience, The Barbarians team delivered a winning performance that they can be proud of.

Taking the initiative, The Hookers started strong and placed The Barbarians under pressure from the first touch. Looking to be the stronger, fitter team, it took only 6 minutes for The Hookers to find the score line, with a conversion to follow. Clearly not fazed by this initial strong display, The Barbarians regrouped, refocused, and came back on the pitch with a determination to turn events around – and they did just that.

From the restart, both teams contested well, subjecting each other to pressure with fast moving attack and some very strong defence. The Hookers, being much faster in support, won the majority of ball in the ruck and The Barbarian’s had to dig deep and defend well – which they did with some brave try saving efforts being put in on both sides of the pitch. The turn-of-events finally came when Tollo Wachira eventually broke through The Hookers defence and scored on the left edge at the 30 minute mark. A tough kick for Tijman Pronk, we were unable to convert on this attempt.

With this new lifted spirit, the Barbarians continued to press into the start of the second half and Raphael Gain-Prost scored again for The Barbarians at minute 38. Stepping back up for the kick, Tijman successfully put his conversion between the posts this time.

With The Barbarians leading for the majority of the second half, the team did themselves no favours and made hard-work of the game. Some poor discipline in the ruck and tackles gifted The Hookers way too many penalties from The Barbarians – in a testament to our defence, the opposition were not able to exploit those opportunities.

Excitement came in the last 10 minutes when The Hookers made a strong push and subjected The Barbarians goal line defence to a sustained attack – eventually they broke through and scored on the 57th minute. With a successful conversion, The Hookers must have thought that had it in the bag with only 3 minutes left on the clock … not to be!

With a knock-on by The Hookers following the restart, The Barbarians were left in striking distance of opposition line as we entered the last 2 minutes. Bringing the ball out the back of the scrum, Jesper Verbeek, saw the gap and popped the ball forward with a perfectly weighted grubber kick and a well-timed attack, Jesper fell on the ball just over the line and secured the score for The Barbarians will less than 1 minute left on the club. Converting from in-front of the post by Tijman, the game was sealed.

Another win (four in a row) and despite several learning opportunities that came from the game, the lads should be truly proud of themselves for the display of determination that they all delivered throughout this match. Well played Barbarians!

Final score: Waterweg Warriors (The Hookers) 12: The Hague Barbarians 19.

Mark McCoy
Match reporter

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