Barnstaple Chiefs v Exmouth team news

Good morning everyone and what a great day of rugby we have in store for you today sponsored I’m happy to say by Brewer, Harding & Rowe solicitors, Brends Hotels and Taw Garages. Today the Chiefs prepare to take on their fiercest Devon rivals Exmouth at Pottington Road, kick off is 2pm. Now there is no need for an introduction to this fixture and quite frankly this will be a very short piece as what more can I say than this rivalry between these two teams is never dull, usually full of exciting rugby and a lot of fire and brimstone for added spice.

Now we can expect Exmouth to come out all guns blazing looking to avenge the Devon Cup loss to us at the end of last season and recent results do suggest that they could cause the Chiefs some problems as well. Both teams have had differing fortunes this season with Barnstaple currently in 1st place eleven points clear of the field while Exmouth have been fighting a rear guard action near the foot of the table. Yet January has seen a return to winning ways for the Cockles with consecutive wins including being the first team to win at Okehampton this season. With a breather last week they will be raring to get stuck in to this game and should not be underestimated.

As for the Chiefs they suffered their third defeat of the season last weekend, this time away to Exeter Uni, with a much depleted squad missing six first choice players including the two main props George Snell and Martinas Dromantas, and then the props who did start also suffered injury during the first 25 minutes, yes lightening does strike twice. Even so the Chiefs nearly got the draw losing in the final seconds 34-29, but more importantly earning those precious two bonus points which not only keeps a decent lead at the top of the South West Premier League but also keeps the Chiefs in the driving seat of the Devon Senior Cup standings and of course home advantage.

The good news is that George Snell and Martinas are back in the pack although with Starkey unavailable this Saturday Martinas goes to hooker and Mitch Turner starts at prop. This is the only change to the program with Jake Childs on the bench as cover. The 2nd row pairing of Adam Lloyd and Ben Hilton are also back in action and there is also the introduction of new signing Dan Johnson a former South Molton and Devon U20’s county player who has spent some time at Taunton and has now signed for Barnstaple. Dan, who is a promising winger / full back, will be on the bench so you should get to see him in action later in the game. Here then is today’s line up

  1. George Snell – sponsored by Webbers Estate Agents
  2. Martinas Dromantas – sponsored by Peter Jefferies
  3. Mitch Turner – sponsored by the Union Inn
  4. Adam Lloyd – sponsored by Mike Brends Groundforce
  5. Ben Hilton – sponsored by Pearce Construction
  6. Matt Gohl – sponsored by SPR Services
  7. Brendon Darley – sponsored by DS Carpentry
  8. Nat Bayet – sponsored by the Corner House
  9. Dylan Gosling – sponsored by Loosemore Builders
  10. Haydn Lidstone – sponsored by Rubita Construction
  11. Will Topps – sponsored by Barricane Solutions
  12. Kyle Spear – sponsored by Zero 7
  13. Kyran McManus – sponsored by Tea by the Taw
  14. Josh Davies – sponsored by Advanced Scaffolding
  15. Ryan Lee – sponsored by Access an Area

On the Bench

  1. Jake Childs – sponsored by Advanced Scaffolding
  2. Casey George – sponsored by GW Heating and Plumbing Ltd.
  3. Dan Johnson

Next weekend is another difficult Devon derby at Ivybridge and today they travel to a Weston Super-Mare team looking to get back up to pace with the top two  after their match last weekend was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch. It will be a tough day for the Devon side but they have pulled off a surprise win or two on the road this season most notably at Barnstaple and Maidenhead the top two teams, can they add the third placed scalp to their collection, we will have to wait and see but recent results are not in their favour.

Exeter Uni will look to capitalise on their tight win last Saturday as they visit bottom club Bracknell full of confidence however they should bear in mind that Bracknell’s five wins from the season have all come in their last five home games and will not be a push over at Lily Hill Park. Okehampton having lost their 100% home record will be looking to reinforce the theme that Oaklands Park is still a tough place to visit and today they prepare for the visit of Launceston to very much do that. Launceston though have had a very good 2020 and have won four of their last five games with the only loss a very close one at Maidenhead and could very well inflict a second home defeat for Okehampton.

Brixham welcome Drybrook to Astley Park in good spirits following their win at Camborne and they will be facing a team who haven’t had a win on the road since October. Finally Maidenhead have the tricky fixture of travelling to Newbury blues who on their day can beat anyone at home as they did when defeating Barnstaple. Whether they can do the same the Maidenhead is up for grabs but unless Maidenhead are on song they could come a cropper especially as they haven’t won on the road since 5th October.

Barnstaple Athletic and Colts

Athletic continue to dominate at the top of the Devon Merit Table 1 following their 11th consecutive win last Saturday beating Paignton 50-0. This now gives them an 11 point cushion over 2nd placed Exmouth who they play today over on the second pitch. Exmouth though have two games in hand over the Tic’s and so today’s game is vital for Athletic to win if they want to put some clear water between themselves and the rest of the league as we come into the home straight. At Exmouth the Tic’s got an awesome win beating Exmouth 29-55 and hopefully they can reproduce that performance today.

Here is Athletic’s line up for today

  1. Dominic Robson
  2. Max Lees
  3. Connor Robson
  4. Chris Philpot
  5. Tom Karslake
  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 – Sponsored by Turnstyle Designs
  10. Robbie Hume – Sponsored by Torch Farm Vets
  11. Harvey Rostock – Sponsored by Just Office
  12. Luke Knight – Sponsored by Evans Heating & Plumbing
  13. Ed May
  14. Connor Swan
  15. Tom Swales – Sponsored by Howdens

On the Bench

  1. Jozef Budd
  2. Brandon Moore
  3. Cal Ford
  4. Ben Sharples
  5. Euan Kent
  6. Alex Pike
  7. Ross Swales


And to cap off a great weekend the Colts also went top in their Devon Colts Merit Table NE following wins against Exeter Saracens 57-7, Okehampton 29-5 and last weekend Tiverton 0-50 which now puts them 3 points clear at the top. Today Barnstaple Colts have another league fixture away to Bideford Colts.

Good luck to all our teams today and let’s have a cracking weekend with three from three. See you all at Pottington Road later today.


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