Last Saturday saw the end of an era as Club President Steve Barnes played what was probably his last game for the club before he leaves the area to work in the Orkney Islands. Fittingly it was the Presidents v Chairmans match which saw his swansong to a rugby career that began with Argaum in the 1973-1974 season. Countless players have come and gone during that time but Barney has remained a constant, fitting in matches when on leave from his work on the oceans of the world as a Master Mariner. Remarkably Barney (along with famous knitted socks) featured in a number of matches this season coming off the bench to appear for the club in the Cornwall & Devon League. He also found time to participate in initiatives such as Return To Rugby and Pitch Up and Play.
It is this spirit of service to the club that has seen Barney and wife Gerry hold most of the positions in the club at one time or other. This has ranged from the usual committee positions of treasurer and hon secretary to practical help such as fixing broken rugby posts or running the bar. Most recently it has been the vital role of liaising with the various organisations involved in the development of Roborough and the surrounding area as well as representative on Devon RFU committees. The executive committee have therefore asked Barney to continue in his role as Club President in order to keep the continuity with the organisations that he has established links with.
There has been massive change within the club in the last 43 years with perhaps the club now playing at about the same level they were back then. The intervening years saw many ups and downs and there is no doubt that the club owes a huge debt to Barney and Gerry for helping to steer the club through troubled waters. A prime mover in the club's past players association, PAPPA, he will be on the other side of the fence now in terms of catching up with club news. The wonderful thing about social media is that one can still be part of a club even from afar. So will he grace the turf at Bickleigh Down again? With the intention of taking up the whistle north of the border it is a possibility, perhaps as an exchange ref with Plymouth Referees Society; I'm confident The Combination would fund it!
Whatever happens we look forward to catching up with Barney in his new venture and also providing a warm Argaum welcome whenever he and Gerry are back in the area.
Barney's Argaum memories (written for the 125th Anniversary) are well worth a read and can be found here.
Union Street is a place that has undergone massive change in recent years and you may have noticed that the building once occupied by Feneck’s Military Tailors is now home to Sloggett & Son, ‘Seller of Interesting Things’. Last year I was reading an article about the shop, which sells a range of vintage and antique furniture and homeware, when I realised a possible connection with Plymouth Argaum.
It's just about 60 years ago that Argaum started work on building the clubhouse. With the help of donations, an RFU loan and an awful lot of hard work the club were in possession of their own facilities for the first time in their history, a facility the envy of many at the time.
Communication within the club has always been important, whether to publicise events, welcome new members or recognize achievements on and off the field. In the pre-internet days this generally took the form of newsletters and Argaum had their own internal newspaper, albeit on a very occasional basis, The Argus.