What a way to celebrate my 60th, with a convincing win over Exeter Uni, so thanks Chiefs for that one very enjoyable indeed and thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes it was a good day indeed. So another difficult test passed by the Chiefs and a good test at that. Coming into this game both sides had been averaging almost 40 points a game and Exeter Uni are a very good side, but if they have one area of weakness it is their away record, in fact they haven’t won on the road yet this season, but they did put over 40 points on the board when they lost at Maidenhead so nothing was being taking for granted.


Barnstaple Chiefs v Exeter Uni Photos

This week all photos were taken by Derek Parnell

The first 10 minutes was all Exeter as they crashed into Barnstaple trying to rip through the Chiefs defence but I don’t think anyone told them about how good this defence is this season and the Chiefs just puffed their chests out and absorbed everything Exeter threw at them for the first 10 and did not give an inch. Having absorbed those first attacks the Chiefs mounted their first attack into the opponents half which also gave them their first try as Luke Berry went over to score in the corner. In the absence of Jake Murphy it was Kyran McManus who was given the kicking duties and from way out to the right he didn’t disappoint giving the Chiefs a 7-0 lead by the 15 minute mark.

From then on it was mainly Barnstaple attacking, probing for opportunities and testing Exeter’s line and the Chiefs next try was driven in giving Winston his 6th of the season. By now Barnstaple’s scrum was dominating proceedings and grabbing at least one scrum against the head. Exeter Uni did have several forages later in the half which resulted in two converted penalties but it was Barnstaple who had the last word before the break when with consistent pressure on Exeter’s defence Haydn saw an overlap and launched a huge pass to the wing which landed just short of Ryan Lee, thankfully Ryan was patient as he had time to gather the ball and sprinted into the corner for the Chiefs to go in leading 21-7 after Kyran again converted the try from the left corner, three from three very difficult conversions pity about the penalty in front of the posts.

So far so good and for me the Chiefs best 1st half performance of the season, given the quality of the opposition. The second half continued the theme where Barnstaple dominated possession and territory and within the first minute Ashlee Crouch scored his first try for the Chiefs since his return crashing over the line to put Barnstaple 26-6 up. Three minutes later Robbie Hume added to the score and it looked to all watching that the Chiefs were gonna walk this one maybe even put fifty points on the board. Silly me. The Uni boys started to mount some pressure and they also started to get under the Chiefs skin who began to lose their discipline. Some decisions were felt to be a little contentious and Barnstaple didn’t do themselves any favours with the back chat either and sure enough the first yellow of the day saw Robbie Hume off for 10 minutes.

Now sometimes there are some strange refereeing decisions which no one can fathom and look bizarre, but this league I believe is the hardest to ref. Unlike National 2 these refs have to make judgements without any help from assistants as they have in Nat 2 and yet the game at this level is still played at quite a pace, not National 2 pace, but still quick. So they can’t see everything and don’t poses swivel eyes, the team really must calm down and clench their teeth even when it seems they are being penalised just for breathing. And it was, ironically, to Exeter’s detriment that having found a way back into the game following Robbie’s yellow card and scoring their first try of the game, the Exeter try scorer Jordan Bond found himself with a yellow straight after scoring presumably for back chat as well.

Barnstaple again charged at Exeter stretching their line and Barnstaple’s final try came from a unlikely winger as Ashlee Crouch out wide was passed the ball to run in the Chiefs 6th try to wrap up the game. Exeter did score another consolation try following a yellow card for Bryn Jago after some handbags but even so the Chiefs had won this one quite impressively 36-16. It was a shame they allowed the opposition and ref to get under their skin and the two yellows did cost them those two tries of Exeter’s, otherwise the score line could and possible should have been more impressive but thankfully it didn’t take away from what was a very good display by the team. Next week the Chiefs have another daunting task as they travel to Exmouth a ground they haven’t yet found a win from since 2009/10 season a full 10 years ago, could this be about to change.

Well the signs are that Exmouth do not like being on the road, having already been soundly beaten by Newbury Blues a fortnight ago this time it was Western Super-Mare who crushed them 63-7. Not sure what is happening at Exmouth but rest assured at home they will be tough and Barnstaple will need to be at their very best to grab their first win at the Imperial for 10 years. As for Western that was an outstanding result and definitely the bounce back for last week’s loss on the road. They ran in 9 tries four of them from Brad Talbot. That win now puts them into second place just four points behind The Chiefs. We travel to WSM on December 14th for what will be a crunch game indeed.

One of the big questions this week was could the Cornish All Blacks finally get a win after that magnificent effort against Maidenhead last weekend and sure enough visiting Newbury Blues who themselves have improved especially at home, Launceston came away 16-28 winners to record their first victory. The big question now must be why was their earlier defeats so huge at the start of the season and how tough will they be now. Bracknell again faltered at home in a very close game giving Camborne their second win on the road 17-18.

Brixham, despite the rumours of some major signings, have still not found any form even with a week off to regroup as a visiting Camborne recorded their first win on the road to beat Brixham 17-24. Okehampton are still 100% at home as they recorded not only their third win of the season but also Ivybridge’s first loss 27-11. The new boys in the league are going to be a tough proposition on their own turf this season showing that they are not afraid of anyone visiting Oaklands Park.

That’s week 6 all sorted for now, next week it’s that train ride to Exmouth but before you board the train there is a world cup quarter final to watch as England take on Australia. We are showing at the clubhouse, kick off is 8.15 and Jacqui will have the bar open from 8am. Lee is cooking breakfast throughout the game. What a day it will be breakfast, beer and rugby, it’s not a bad life after all.

Barnstaple Athletic.

The Tic’s had some soul searching after the drubbing they got from Devonport 2nd XV and a trip to Paignton seemed the right sort of remedy to get their season back on track. Of importance was getting their defence sorted and area they worked hard on over the last couple of weeks and this paid dividends as they shut out Paignton 0-57. There was a hat-trick for Waqa with Ed May and Ross Swales grabbing a brace, while Josh Davie, Harvey Rostock, Peek, Alfie Pennyfield and Luke Knight grabbed one each.

Athletics forwards looked as strong they have been for a while with the set piece constantly dominating and giving the Tic’s a lot of front foot ball. It was a really good test for the lads after the disappointment of two weeks ago, but the boys stepped up and that’s really good to see especially leading into league leaders Exmouth next week.

 See you all at breakfast on Saturday

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