Briars Senior Rugby
July 2022 – Quarterly Report

With any new season comes a new set of challenges – for Briars Rugby, new competition in the form of an expanded Division-2 competition would test the club’s skill, strength and resilience.

We faced an expected baptism by fire in round-1, with UNSW pulling no punches after Briars won 3rd Grade by 1 point. The hosts claimed the rest of the grades in a clinical effort, a display of the higher standard of competition to be expected at the top end of the Subbies hierarchy.

The first month of our season was disappointing, with our boys simply outclassed by the opposition. A disrupted pre-season and rain-affected schedule saw training sessions and matchdays rained out, relocated or postponed. The long lay-off, caused by the winter lockdowns, had clearly taken its toll on the club.

Large losses and injuries only added to our woes, this was perhaps most evident after our home game against Valley was relocated to Windsor on late notice and our former rival in Division-3 put on a masterclass to win all grades.

We’d finally return to Concord, albeit at St. Luke’s Park, in mid-May, hosting the wet weather round make-up games against Harlequins and a relocated away fixture against Old Barker. These Saturdays showed some promise of better things to come despite the gloomy weather and suboptimal conditions.

Colts and 2nds would go down to Quins, but both would secure the losing bonus point in the process, with 2nds only losing to a last minute try.

The following week against Old Barker saw 2nds rebound, grinding out a 7-5 victory in a muddy battle of attrition with both teams scoreless at half time. Colts weren’t so lucky, however, going down to yet another try on the bell, but still earning the losing bonus point.

Round 6 saw us finally return to Rothwell Park, hosting Old Ignatians, a fixture which last season sparked a resurgence which would only be halted by the lockdowns. While Colts and 3rd Grade went down to the red, white and blue, 2nds were only denied after missing a conversion to win from the sideline at full time. 1st Grade repeated their feat from 2021, defeating Iggies 24-14.

Round 7 saw a rejuvenated Briars head out to Blacktown. Colts went to the home side after a delayed start due to low numbers on both sides, with 2nds going down in another tight bonus point loss, yet another last-minute try sealing our fate. 1st Grade would avenge a heavy defeat to the Warriors last season, winning 43-12, with the bonus point to boot.

Wins have been few and far between in what can only be described as a frustrating season so far. The long break between the premature end of last season and the beginning of this season, combined with the difficulties of adjusting to a new style of rugby, stricter laws and new opposition, has tested the resilience of the players, coaches and everyone involved.

What hasn’t changed is the passion and dedication of all involved. The players and committee have had a lot asked of them this season, particularly with so many fixtures being relocated or postponed on very short notice.

It has taken an almost superhuman effort to ensure we can get 15 players on the right park at the right time, not even including other tasks such as running the canteen and barbecue, fielding assistant referees and coordinating physios.

We still have 3 games scheduled for Rothwell remaining and we urge all Briars to come down and get behind our club. No matter the result, our boys in gold are still giving their all for the jersey and need your support. Our matchday experience and barbecue is the envy of other clubs and are complimented by the recently installed draught beer taps in the Ted Stockdale Pavilion.

We host our Mediterranean Day on July 16th against Hills, Ladies Day on July 23rd against Lindfield and our final home game, Back to Briars Day, on August 20th against UNSW, all of which will be held at Rothwell Park, starting from 11:40am.

As for on-field results, the only way is up. As we approach our Centenary season in 2023, our players and everyone involved with this club are dedicated to capitalising on the momentum we’ve been able to build over the past few seasons.

Disappointing early results this season won’t change our belief that Briars can be the pride of Subbies Rugby, something that everyone in this club remains committed to achieving. We are confident that we will continue to learn from these difficulties and adapt, continuing our climb up the Subbies system over the past several seasons.