BARNSLEY RUFC are delighted to be putting smiles back on faces at Shaw Lane following their best performance of a perfect season so far as they won 80-0 at home to Halifax Vandals.
The Shaw Laners have won all eight matches so far this season, leaving them six points clear at the top of Yorkshire Division Three and 13 clear in the promotion places.
The team did not play a competitive game for 18 months, following their relegation last year, while Shaw Lane Sports Club was one of many businesses whose existence was threatened by the coronavirus crisis.
Director of rugby Mark Smith said: “As well as being pleased with the results and league table it’s great to see the smiles on faces of players and club members after the long period without rugby.
“We’re working hard behind the scenes to keep trying to improve in all areas of the club.
“Obviously we’ve had a brilliant start, perfect in terms of maximum points from the first eight games.
“But if you look at the teams just behind us then you see that we’ve had to achieve that to keep just ahead of them.
“We’ve had some really tough games, despite what some of the results might say.
“When we were preparing for this season after relegation, it was really important to me that we always focused on what we can do to the best of our ability and not taking anything for granted.
“That will be the same every game we play.
“The exciting part is we know we have areas where we can get better at and we’ll keep working at those.”
Against Halifax, Tom Bagnall scored a hat-trick, George England and Mark Fisher crossed twice each while Joe South, Ethan Tweddle, Elliott Copley, Callum Posa and Kieran Hyde touched down. Joe Perry kicked ten conversions.
Coach Ant Posa said: “It was fantastic. I have been saying that we have areas to work on but we put together a performance we have been threatening for some time.
“Castleford (a 40-35 win the previous week) opened our eyes a bit and, in a healthy way, we treated it like a loss.
“Halifax Vandals definitely felt the backlash. Halifax aren’t that bad a team but it was 20 minutes before we made out first mistake and we’d already scored four tries.
“It was very pleasing to watch and just shows how hard we’ve been working.
“It was the best performance of the season by far.
“I am really proud of that performance. But we have to keep moving on and play like that every week.
“People are talking about promotion, which is our main focus, but we’re just focused on the next game.”
Posa is now with the Croatian national team, who he also coaches, as they play at home to Slovenia tomorrow before a game in Cyprus a week later.
Barnsley do not play tomorrow and are back in action the following week at Sheffield Medicals, with professional player Ryan Burrows coaching the team in Posa’s absence.
Posa said: “I have coached at many different levels and I just enjoy it – whether it’s at professional level or with my son in the back garden.
“I will only miss one game and I’ve left the team in good hands.”
Wath won 41-12 at home to Ripon in Yorkshire Division Two.