By Liam Scott

THIS season, despite coronavirus cutting it short, was a great one for Barry RFC.

With over 367 players registered for the mini and junior section, youth and two senior sides, the club is one of the largest in the Cardiff Blues region and are able to field teams running from Under 7s all the way through to the 1st XV.

In particular, it was an exciting time and challenge for the senior section being promoted to Division 1, for besides being the first time in the club’s history that this has happened it is also the highest level that the vast majority of the players had ever played in. It was also a period of change in that the club also had some new faces on the coaching and management team, with Liam Scott moving up to head coach, and Mike Morgan coming in as an assistant coach.

The Barrians (the 2nd XV) also had a new face in Andy Leitch, with Glyn Pirso also continuing to coach.

On the management team, there were also familiar faces and new roles for Ken Chow, Joel Williams and James Hollister undertaking the various team manager responsibilities.

There were also new additions to the player leadership groups, with Tomos Perry coming on board as the new club captain, assisted by Harry Moyle as 1st XV vice captain, and Tom Haigh as the Barrians' captain.

The 1st XV knew at the beginning of the season that being in a higher division meant it was going to be a different challenge to previous ones.

The first league game of the season was a baptism of fire against a very good Rhiwbina team, followed by a great win away to local rivals Dinas Powys.

These initial weeks seemed to set the tone for the rest of the season with some great wins against Mountain Ash, Dinas Powys and Cambrian Welfare, but also some disappointing losses.

The management had set themselves the target of sustaining Division 1 rugby with a top eight finish in the league and although the season was cut short due to the global pandemic, they achieved it by finishing in eighth place in an extremely competitive league where there were only seven points separating fourth and 11th place.

The 1st XV also qualified for the semi-finals of the Mallett Cup and were due to play Rumney RFC on 7th April but unfortunately this wasn’t to be due to the season being cancelled.

With so many players returning to play for the club, the 2nd XV, now renamed the Barrians, were able to come back together after a year out and take their place in Division 1 of the of the Cardiff & District Leagues.

During the season they played some great rugby in the league and also made the semi-Finals of the Ron Lucock Cup (sadly also cancelled because of the pandemic).

Other highlights of their season were hosting fixtures against UIC Barcelona and Stompers (Malta) at Cardiff Arms Park. In all over 70 players represented Barry RFC across the two senior teams.

Following a three-year break there was also a welcome return for a youth team led by the coaching and management team of Lee Jones, Ieuan Rendell, Ian Fifield and Richard Rendell who deserve every commendation for bringing together a bunch of 35 great players and creating a fun and enjoyable environment for them both on and off the field.

This was evident in them achieving second place in the Blues South Conference before Christmas before going into the Blues Championship Tier 1 and winning five of their seven fixtures.

Unfortunately, due to the season being cancelled, they were only able to complete two fixtures in the Championship, a win against Pentyrch, and a loss against Gilfach Goch.

When one considers that the current team consist of a majority of first year youth players, this bodes well for the coming years as they continue to develop.

Overall it has been a hugely successful year for the club and Barry RFC look toward to the next few years and the challenges that come along with them.

The club is fortunate to be in such a healthy position with a strong volunteer base throughout every age and area of the club that underpins everything and will allow the club to continue to develop and grow.