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Young Gibraltar Barbarians returned to the field

Saturday 1st October saw the return of the Gibraltar Barbarians competing, together with its sister club Bahia 89 from Algeciras, in the Andalusian league. The Gibraltar Barbarians would like to thank GibDock for its continued financial support, without which we would not be able to continue in this competition. For the second season the joint Barbarians/Bahia 89, BaBa’s, have been able to enter an under 16 (boys and girls born 2007 and 2008) and under 18 team (boys born 2005 and 2006). Both teams played a double header in Algeciras against local rivals San Roque.
First up were the under 16s. With a lot of players moving up from a very inexperienced u14s team from last year it was always going to be a tough day against a team that was extremely competitive at under 14 last season. The BaBa’s fought hard from the outset but inexperience was clear and San Roque took a 15 - 0, three try lead, into the half time break. A brave second half from the BaBa’s pulled a try back through David Valarino but conceded a further two tries. San Roque ran out 27 - 5 winners.
The afternoon saw the BaBa’s under 18s take to the pitch, or battlefield, as it was soon to become. Both sets of players have known each other for many years and also include local rivalries with some players from both teams attending school in Gibraltar. The early exchanges saw San Roque dominate possession and even with solid defence from the BaBa’s, San Roque continually recycled the ball to maintain the pressure leading to a penalty close to the posts which they converted to take an early 3 - 0.
The BaBa’s were stirred into greater efforts and solid forward play lead to the opening try of the game for the BaBa’s converted by our very own Bradley Beards. This galvanised the team, who continued to pile on the pressure, crossing the line for 3 more tries one of which Bradley scored himself. Bradley converted all of them with a kicking masterclass. San Roque were able to pull a try back while Ronak Hariramani was yellow carded for taking one for the team and illegally stopping a quick tap penalty that could have led to a try.
The second half saw San Roque with their tails up and they pulled another try back. The BaBa’s, understanding that the game was far from over, put their minds back into the game and closed it out with 2 more try’s, one of which came from an unstoppable power run from our bulldozer, Stefan Tilbury. Bradley Beards missed the last conversion to upset his perfect record with the boot but still finished game on 15 points to go with his impressive territory kicking game that pinned the opposition in their half for much of the game. There were great performances from all of the Gibraltar based players.
Rugby continues to grow on the Rock at all youth levels with locally based competitions to be introduced very soon so the game can be enjoyed by a wide group. If you want to join at any age from 2 to 18 just get in touch with Gibraltar Rugby through their Facebook page Gibraltar Rugby Mini and Youth.
Gibraltar Rugby have teamed up with professional premiership side Northampton Saints to hold a camp at Europa Stadium from the 24th to 26th October for ages 8 to 18. For more details contact Ricky.taylor@gibraltarrfu.com

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