Posted on 31st March 2020
Hope everyone’s keeping well!
The GB Nationals, which we were invited to, were supposed to be held this weekend in England. We’ve come far since we started the GB League’s Division 3 in 2017.
Our Irish League 2018 kicked off in Bangor in May, moved on to County Laois in June, then to Cork in July, before the Finals were played in Dublin. 2019’s campaign began in Laois in May before moving on to Dublin in June. We hosted Round 3 in the Antrim Forum in September, and travelled to Cork’s Neptune Stadium for the Finals in October where we clinched 3rd place despite a rough few weekends. This year’s 2020 Irish League has been postponed unfortunately due to the current situation.
We commenced our GB campaign in Stoke Mandeville Stadium for Division 3’s Super Series 1 that October. Super Series 2 was in Stoke-on-Trent in January 2018 while we finished up with Super Series 3 in Reading on St Patrick’s weekend. We passed through Division 3 undefeated to top the table and progressed on to Division 2 for the 2018/19 season.
Division 2 began for us, once again, in Stoke Mandeville. We finished the weekend in 7th place out of 8, which wasn’t a bad place for us to be, considering we knew the next level up would be tougher and our objective for the first year was to remain in the Division. We knew that Division 2 held some lessons for us, and we remained in now-joint 7th place after Super Series 2 in Stoke-on-Trent in November. Super Series 3 was in Stoke-on-Trent again, and we fought back to place 5th on the weekend – holding on to 7th place overall to remain in the room as it were. So we achieved our primary objective in our first outing to Division 2, which was a positive.
The 2019/20 Season began with Super Series 1 in Stoke Mandeville, and the Ulster Barbarians placing 4th this time around. This was progress – going into November’s Super Series 2 in a relatively strong position. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to travel to Stoke-on-Trent for this and found ourselves dreading another edgy situation at Super Series 3. January’s venture to Leicester came around and we found ourselves placed 6th which, while not ideal, was not as bad as we feared. We managed to hold our heads were it counted and, while slipping at certain profitable moments, managed to move up into 5th place – just missing out on the 4th place automatic-invite to the Nationals tournament in April. As it happened, other teams were having similar issues to ourselves in the run-up to April and we consequently received an invite – before it was unfortunately cancelled.
We hosted out own tournament in September – the Barbarians’ Blitz – which was a huge milestone for us as it was our first tournament. Along with ourselves, we had competition from the Caledonian Crushers from Glasgow, the DMP Bulls from Darlington, the Irish Development team and a team put forth by our club patron an ex-rugby union international Trevor Ringland who took on our volunteers during the lunchtime break – and who our volunteers beat by three tries. The DMP Bulls placed 1st, followed by Irish Development, Ulster Barbarians, then the Caledonian Crushers in 4th.
We have had a great few years in our ongoing mission in building our competitiveness. For now, we are taking time out to recuperate, build ourselves and get ready to hit the road again when the time comes.
Look after yourselves. We’ll be in touch