Barkers Butts Rugby Football Club
Barkers Butts RFC prides itself on being a club where ‘friendships flourish’ and continues to play a vital role in their local community. Rugby Club Magazine recently caught up with their Head Coach, Glen Southwell to find out more about the good work they have been doing lately.
He told us, “I first joined Barkers about fifteen years ago. At that time, the 1st XV were under the direction of Derek Eaves and the standard of rugby was pretty high. I knew a few lads who played at the Club and liked their approach to the game.
I was attracted by the fact that they had principles – they would never pay a player to run out for the side – something that rings true still today. They were a proud club who thrived on their reputation for giving grassroots players a professional platform. The social side of rugby wasn’t bad either!”
“The most challenging aspect of my role is an easy one for me and links back to our principles. We’ll never pay a player to put on their blue and gold shirt, but we’re constantly under threat from poachers. Not the ones in their Barbour jackets – the ones waving their cheque books around and trying to lure our lads away with the promise of riches.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t encourage any of the lads to play at the highest standard available to them. I just hate seeing talent go to waste when they’re playing second fiddle and warming the bench for a small fee.”
“Seeing a kid come through our mini and junior section and running out for their first team debut is hugely rewarding. It’s the old cliché of turning from a boy to a man. But it’s something we’re so passionate about at Barkers. We’ve got five lads in the first team this season that are all products of our most recent colts team. They’re invested in the club and we’re invested in them.
As well as coach for the senior team, I’m also hugely passionate about coaching our current under 11s, where my own son plays. It takes a whole different set of skills coaching kids but it’s equally as rewarding if not more. We’ve taken kids from a variety of backgrounds and given them an environment to try a new sport, meet new friends and have fun playing rugby.”
“The mood here is buoyant! Our mini and junior section is thriving, we have one of the biggest M&J sections in the UK and we’re immensely proud of that. Our 1st XV may not be rocketing up the league tables but we play a decent standard of rugby and wear the badge with pride.
We regularly have three senior teams running out each Saturday and on a Sunday you can’t move in the clubhouse for our little future stars. We’ve recently started coaching girls into the sport and in one year we’ve gone from a squad of approximately 15 to around 40 under 13s and under 15s girls.
The club is a place to meet up and enjoy rugby, and maybe a beer or two. We’ve appointed a new bar manager who has transformed the clubhouse. He cooks great food and serves great beer – what more could a rugby club ask for?”
“There is no such thing as an off-season at Barkers. Every weekend we’re booked up with motorbike rallies, caravan clubs and even a wedding or two. Our mini and junior section have summer camp outs and we carry on fun summer training for adults and kids.
This season we just want to keep doing what we’re doing. If it ain’t broke and all that. Obviously we’d like to finish as high as we can in the league and keep attracting our colts into the 1st XV for next season.”
“Youth rugby is everything for us. Without the kids we have no future talent to draw on. We have joint training sessions during the week where the Colts can mix with the senior players – they share the banter and they get to know each other on and off the pitch. It may sound trivial but everyone at Barkers wears the same kit – which helps everyone feel part of ‘one great club’.”
“Recent media coverage about contact sports and the effect they have on young people is potentially damaging. It could limit the number of new young players who are interested in taking up the sport. At Barkers, we’re hot on safeguarding and making sure our coaches are trained and equipped to bring out the best in kids in a safe and supportive environment.
We’re keen to keep the conveyor belt of young players into the senior squad. Our facilities can always be improved so we need to attract sponsorship and investment to make that happen. We’ve always been a pretty steady ship in terms of our finances, but who wouldn’t say yes to a nice injection of cash to improve what we’ve already got?”