Good morning everyone hopefully by the time you are reading this the rain has given up the ghost and moved on with enough time for the pitch to dry out as rugby returns to Pottington Road today for what promises to be a fantastic South West One encounter as the two teams that locked horns right up to the end of last season for that playoff spot now meet for the first time this season. Thank you to Town and Country Insurance services and Chichester Developments who are sponsoring today’s match.

Last season saw both these teams alternating for that playoff spot on a weekly basis right up to the final days of the season and yet their corresponding home games against each other were, to say the least, fairly comfortable with Barnstaple winning here 39-7 and Maidenhead winning at Braywick Rd 45-10. This season is not that different with the Chiefs in 1st place and Maidenhead not that far behind in 4th with just 6 points separating them.

Last week in particular saw both teams repair their reputations following loses. Barnstaple got back to their feet with an impressive, if somewhat fractious, win at Launceston in horrendous conditions, beating the Cornishmen 5-36. Games against the Cornish All Blacks were always full bloodied affairs and a 20 year gap hasn’t it seems dulled that aspect about them as young Kyran McManus can testify following a smack in the face which resulted in a broken nose and concussion. Kyran is absolutely fine but this does now unfortunately rule him out for the next three weeks.

Maidenhead also got themselves a course correction last week after giving up way too many points in previous games and finally managed to put a plug in that leak by shutting out last weekend’s league leaders Weston Super-Mare 22-0, showing they are going to be tough opposition indeed.

This does lead us nicely into what I think will be a massive test for both teams and it will be the most disciplined that I think will prevail and Barnstaple’s defence will have to be at its best today as there is one thing Maidenhead do know how to do is score tries, as do Barnstaple this season. So we head into this game with both teams in confident mood and weather permitting ready to stamp their authority on this one. Whoever wins this will be making a statement of intent as we approach the festive season and both teams have shown they are up to the task following last week’s results.

Kyle Speare in action at Pottington Road in April 2018

As I mentioned earlier Kyran McManus is out for at least three weeks following his concussion, also Ashlee Crouch has been recalled to Plymouth following their huge front row crisis, hopefully he will get some game time for them. Ben Hilton, Oli Mason and Jake Murphy are still side-lined currently which does leave a fairly big hole but Jake Childs is again starting having returned from injury last weekend, while Josh Davie gets a chance to impress at prop having been on the bench last Saturday. Kyle Speare also makes his first appearance at Pottington Road this season after having a successful comeback last weekend. Here then is the line-up for today’s game.

  1. George Snell – sponsored by Webbers Estate Agents
  2. James Starkey – sponsored by Slee Blackwell Solicitors
  3. Josh Davie – sponsored by Martin Hammett Associates Ltd.
  4. Adam Lloyd – sponsored by Mike Brends Groundforce
  5. Matt Gohl – sponsored by SPR Services
  6. Nat Bayet – sponsored by the Corner House
  7. Winston James – sponsored by Brewer, Harding and Rowe
  8. Jake Childs – sponsored by Advanced Scaffolding
  9. Robbie Hume – sponsored by Torch Farm Vets
  10. Haydn Lidstone – sponsored by Rubita Construction
  11. Kyle Speare – sponsored by ZERO 7
  12. Ryan Carter – sponsored by Paiges Lane Barbers
  13. Will Topps – sponsored by Barricane Solutions
  14. Tom Clark – sponsored by K & J Electrical
  15. Luke Berry – Sponsored by the Mortgage Hub

On the Bench

  1. Mitch Turner – sponsored by the Union Inn
  2. Brendon Darley – sponsored by DS Carpentry
  3. Ryan Lee – Sponsored by Access an Area

 

Next week Barnstaple travel to Newbury Blues who today have the envious task of travelling to Weston Super-Mare. No doubt WSM will want to put right last week’s result at Maidenhead with a very strong display today, if not the wind just might get knocked out of their sails and although Newbury Blues are at the foot of the table with just one win, they have scored more points than the three teams above them, including losing by just three points at Maidenhead, and might just shock the home side if they’re not careful or too complacent.

There is just one Devon derby today with Brixham preparing to face a visiting Ivybridge riding on the back of 36-0 shutout of Bracknell last weekend. Brixham though will be a different prospect than they were a few weeks ago following that 18-14 win against Exeter Uni and are probably well rested following the postponement of last week’s derby against Exmouth.

Two of the bottom clubs meet each other at Lily Hill Park as Bracknell await Launceston, both having suffered bad loses. While this might be a chance for the Cornish All Blacks to grab a second win on the road it is always tough to get a result at Bracknell and they will have to step up their game considerably to do so.

Camborne will definitely be looking to cement their position in 3rd place with their 7th win of the season as they welcome an Exmouth side that is totally lacking in confidence and form on the road this season having lost to two of the 4 clubs below them at the foot of the table and only scoring a total of seven points against those clubs combined. Finally Drybrook will be well rested after enjoying a two week rest as they prepare to face an Exeter Uni that is also struggling for any form on the road with no wins away from home just yet.

Barnstaple Athletic and Colts

Harvey Rostock scoring a breakaway try from inside Athletic’s half

Last Saturday Athletic made it three straight wins as they find themselves climbing into third place in the Devon Merit Table 1 just 6 points behind both Exmouth and Devonport with a game in hand. Last week’s result was particularly satisfying with the Tiverton 2nd XV fielding a number of first team players and provided a stiffer test for the Tic’s than was expected, especially in the first half where Tiverton had most of the possession and territory for the first 30 minutes but could not find a way through Barnstaple’s defence which dulled any cutting edge Tiverton might have had. The second half it was Athletic that made all the running having increased their intensity and tempo and surged ahead not giving Tivvy any chance of meaningful ball and took the game away from them.

Today Athletic travel to Newton Abbot for another tough examination. Newton Abbot are currently just 4 points behind the Tics with a game in hand and have four wins under their belt. This game will be a huge test of both the resolve of Barnstaple as well as their determination to win. This was especially evident when they played at Exmouth beating the current second placed team 29-55 on their own turf. If they can reproduce that kind of performance they will give Newton Abbot a lot to think about. Here then is the team that will look to do just that.

  1. Connor Robson
  2. Max Lees
  3. Joe Budd
  4. Chris Philpot
  5. Domonic Robson
  6. Bryn Jago – Sponsored by Solar PV Tech Devon
  7. Matt Phillips – sponsored by Artisani Resturant
  8. Alfie Pennyfield – sponsored by Phil Sherborne Gas Services
  9. Zac Davie
  10. Luke Knight – Sponsored by Evans Heating & Plumbing
  11. Harvey Rostock – Sponsored by Just Office
  12. James Owen
  13. Josh Davies – Sponsored by Advanced Scaffolding
  14. Ed May
  15. Tom Swales – Sponsored by Howdens

On the Bench

  1. Mike Peek
  2. Garreth
  3. Dibi
  4. Panda Roberts
  5. Waqa

You can next see Barnstaple Athletic at Pottington Road next Saturday against Crediton 2nd XV kick off is 2pm

 

 

The Colts are also on the road as they travel down to Exmouth for another friendly. Their next competitive game isn’t until 21st December where they face 3rd place Cullompton Colts here at Pottington Road. The Colts currently are in 1st place with a 100% record winning all three of their fixtures to date. You can next see the colts in another friendly next weekend when they will hopefully face a visiting Ivybridge Colts.

That about wraps it up for another week, now don’t forget you have just two weeks to book your place for a famous Barnstaple Rugby Christmas Lunch. If you don’t want to miss out on this amazing meal before Barnstaple kick off against Okehampton then book your table with Jacqui Edwards behind the bar. Full details are in today’s match program and on this website, but hurry before they all go.

Good luck to all our teams today and we need all you supporters in full voice with that Mighty Barum Roar.

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