Evening everyone and welcome to round 3 and what a difficult game in store for the Chiefs tomorrow afternoon as they travel to sunny Surrey to play one of the title contenders this season Esher. Before that though I would just like to congratulate Josh Pilkington on being Nation League rugby’s player of the week in our league and rightly deserved. If anyone is looking for some rugby then get your backsides down to Pottington Road as Barnstaple Athletic are taking on Brixham Crusaders kick off 2.30pm and the added bonus of the return of the Bucc’s who take on Brixham 3rds as well, the bar is open.
ATHLETIC GAME IS CANCELLED and BUCC’S ARE PLAYING CHARD
Right back to the task in question, the Chiefs in Surrey. So just to put you in the picture about Esher, as if you didn’t know already, they were a National 1 side until relegation at the end of the 2018/19 season. During their time there they won the National 1 title in 2009/10 and played in the Championship for two seasons before being relegated back to Nat 1 for the 2012/13 season. So it’s fair to say that there is a lot of experience at Esher and it looks likely they are making a strong case to get back into National one after winning both their opening games with bonus point wins. At home they started their campaign beating Rochford Hundred 38-14 then stuffed Dings 19-45 in Somerset. So it will be a tough day that’s for sure especially after the long trip there.
Yet looking at those results there is something there for the Chiefs if they can get out on the pitch and enjoy their rugby like they did last Saturday, now I know it’s always easier to play at home in the sunshine with a big crowd behind you but looking more closely at Esher’s results, Rochford have not had the brightest start to the season being beaten at home by Guernsey 24-42 last weekend and Ding’s have also not been as impressive as we were made to believe for their first two games beating Westcliff with a last gasp try from nowhere in the last seconds of the game and then being thumped at home by Esher. So if the Chiefs get out there and play some quick rugby, be patient and take their chances then they might get something out of this game. There is certainly the talent to do that in today’s line up with the front row that did so well against Westcliff starting. Arthur Marks is now joined by Ben Hilton for his first start of the season. In the backs Dan Johnson is the only change starting at 11 with Ryan Lee moving to full back. On the bench Matt Gohl and Luke Berry make their first appearances of the season, whilst Josh Hill makes his National 2 South debut, here then is the team to face Esher.
1. Dominic Robson
Sponsored by Harry’s
2. George Snell
Sponsored by Paiges Lane Barbers
3. Alfie May
Sponsored by D S Carpentry
4. Arthur Marks
Sponsored by Floor Sanding Services
Sponsored by Kas Cranes
6. Flynn Elworthy
Sponsored by Advanced Scaffolding
7. Ryan Smale
Sponsored by Artisani
Sponsored by Sitim Solutions
9. Josh Pilkington
Sponsored by Ocean Shade canopies & awnings
10. Kyran McManus
Sponsored by Tea on the Taw
11. Dan Johnson
12. Johny Carter
Sponsored by Fields farm shop & Butchery
13. Jake Murphy
Sponsored by The Pride
14. Will Topps
Sponsored by Barricane Solutions
Sponsored by Access an Area
16. Josh Davie
Sponsored by Martin Hammit Associates
17. Josh Hill
Sponsored by MLPA Surveyors
19. Matt Gohl
Sponsored by Queens and Landmark Theatres
20. Luke Berry
Sponsored by Ian Baker
Okay so who is in the running this week. The Chiefs opponents next Saturday is the newly promoted Guernsey and of the three promoted sides it must be said they seemed to have had the better start with 5 points from 2 games on the road earning a bonus point win at Rochford after the loss at Worthing, Grabbing any points on the road is always a bonus especially at the start of the season but even more so as Guernsey have a further two to play before they finally get to play at home and the first of those two will be at Ding’s crusaders who themselves have had a difficult start to the season, albeit we are only two games in so a bit of hyperbole there I reckon. Even so today’s game should give us more of a clue as to how these two teams will fair over the coming months. Personally I think Guernsey might just edge this one but only just.
Rochford have another tough game as they travel to Bury St. Edmunds who have themselves stuttered a bit and after beating Canterbury lost away to Worthing, but on home soil I believe they will have too much for Rochford. Talking of Worthing what a start in their Centenary year with two good wins and maximum points both at home, putting them in third place currently. Today though they are travelling to Kent, not that far really, to face a Canterbury side that are pointless so far from 2 games on the road, so a tough test for both teams and could be the game of the week if they both get pumped for this one.
With Henley’s visit to Redruth postponed there are just three more games to look at and Clifton v Barnes will really show us if Clifton are the real deal this season so watch what happens there as Barnes had a really good win in the midlands beating Hinckley 24-43 and will be eager for another away scalp. Westcliff will hope to heal their wounds with a win over Leicester Lions at home today who have yet to register their first win although a losing bonus point against Clifon last Saturday shouldn’t be ignored as to do so will certainly loss it for the Essex team. Finally Hinckley will look to turn thing around when Old Albanians arrive. This will be a difficult game for the Midlands outfit as Old Albanians have yet to lose and with wins over Henley and Canterbury must start as favurites for this game.
Barnstaple Athletic, Colts and Buccs
Barnstaple Athletic began their campaign in style last weekend beating Crediton away from home 0-31. Now unfortunately I can’t tell you how the game fared but judging by the scoreline it looked a great performance to shut out the home side. Today will probably be a much sterner opposition heading to Pottington road as Brixham visit hoping to spoil the party kick off is 2.30pm.
The Colts are in great form so far as they grabbed their second win and first one on the road out at Tavistock winning 5-31. Head coach Lewi Joce was pretty pleased saying
“just the fact that we played really well and Tavistock made us work for the 31 points. We had a really good dominant defence, we got 4 tries scored by Ethan Drew, Fred Rees Cooper, Alex Hookway, Ned Kingdon, one conversion by Sam Palmer and 2 conversions Alex penny”
Today they are on the road again this time out at Kingsbridge.
Now then it has been awhile but the Buccs are back as Barnstaple’s 3rd’s and have returned for some much needed entertainment. They play their first of just a handful of games this season at Pottington Road and today they face Brixham Kick off I believe is 2.30pm but not entirely certain.
Finally and unbeknown to me but we can all watch the full games on YouTube, which is great news, so if you want to relieve those classic moments then watch out for the links, the Westcliff game is below, and to Will topps I apologise as in my match report I suggested that there was a two on one that left him clear for his try when in fact he had to work much harder than that by cutting inside between two Westcliff defenders leaving them grabbing air for his try. That’s what you get for watching a game through a camera viewfinder, there is always stuff to the periphery you just don’t see either that or my old age who knows anyway good luck to all four teams out there.