Back in March Michael ‘Rhino’ Whitfield, Chairman of the Barnes Rugby Football Club, booked me for the photography at their annual BRFC City Lunch, an annual get-together of club members old and new to eat, drink and be merry! After a couple of years holding the event at One Whitehall Place, this year it moved to The Montcalm Hotel for a bit of a change of scene.

I’ve photographed a couple of the City Lunches now and they’re a lot of fun with boisterous speeches from various club dignitaries, a charity auction, and an after-dinner speech from an invited guest. This year: Willie John McBride, a former Irish and British Lions rugby league player, who captained the most successful ever Lions side, touring South Africa in 1974. Incidentally, this year’s City Lunch fell on the 40th anniversary of that very tour!

Boys being boys, things get pretty rowdy and the humour gets pretty bawdy, but when Willie took the stage to speak the room fell absolutely silent as he spoke. I don’t follow much rugby but I knew this was a highly revered former player, and you could feel that reverence in the room. At the end of the afternoon I overheard someone comment they’d never heard a room packed so tightly full of drunken rugby players go so quiet so quickly.

Here’s a few of my favourite shots that I think capture the spirit of the afternoon, just click or tap on them to see them large. You can find out more about my event photography here.