Evening everyone and what a weekend it has been for Barnstaple Rugby. The Chiefs so close as they grab their first point on the road in a tight game at Bury St. Edmunds while Athletic, Bucc’s and Colts all recorded good wins. SO as I can reimagine the game at Bury I’ll just run through the league as there were a couple of surprises there and we shall start with the Chiefs.
It looks like the overnight stay in Suffolk did the team good after the 300 mil trip to Bury St. Edmunds, two Luke Berry penalty conversions kept the Chiefs right on the coat tails of the home side who went in at half time leading 8-6. The second half started well for Barnstaple as Luke Berry converted his third penalty for the Chiefs to lead 8-9, but Bury St Edmunds soon hit back to retake the lead with a penalty but were unable to capitalise on the first of two yellow cards for the Chiefs in the second half and it wasn’t until the 72nd minute that Bury broke through the Chiefs defensive lines to clinch the game with their second try of the game to win 16-9. How much the weather played its part in this result is anyone’s guess but it does looks like a great defensive effort by the Chiefs and given the previous away games mauling’s we have had a good sign of better things ahead.
Now to the rest of the league and it looks like the losses suffered by both the front runners Clifton and Esher might have rattled their cages a bit as they both struggled at home this week with Clifton only winning by seven against Hinckley 20-13 and Esher drawing 17-17 against Barnes who after last week’s beating of Westcliff at seem to have found their feet. These will be nervous times for Clifton and Esher as they see their challengers take charge of the league with Worthing still top the charts after shutting out Rochford Hundred 17-0 and Redruth now winning their 4th game in a row and are the only team in the league unbeaten so far this season, although this one was close and must have been a great game to watch as the Cornishmen overcame a visiting Old Albanians by the tightest of margins 22-21.
Barnstaple’s opponents next Saturday, Canterbury, seem to be having a wobble after beating Worthing a couple of weeks ago, firstly being the only team so far beaten by Rochford Hundred last week and now this Saturday being shut out at home by Ding’s Crusaders 0-17. Finally Henley continue their winning ways beating Westcliff 7-36 and Guernsey Raiders are starting to show their pedigree, this time at home as they beat Leicester Lions 17-5 to extend their winning streak to four games.
Yesterday’s result now leave the Chiefs in 14th place tied on points with Rochford Hundred and just one point behind next week’s opponents Canterbury, making this coming Saturday a crucial game indeed. Worthing continue to impress at the top in their centenary year but the real danger currently is Redruth with one game in hand and an unbeaten season so far find themselves in third place just three points off the lead as are Guernsey in fourth.
Athletic, Bucc’s and Colts.
Barnstaple Athletic’s new head coach Brad Drew was looking forward to his team finally getting the chance to play at Pottington Road yesterday afternoon and didn’t they make the best of it against a good Devonport team. The first half was pretty even with the early pressure by Athletic earning them the first two tries of the game. Devonport Service responded with pressure of their own, helped somewhat by some sloppy set play particularly the lineout which was struggling and often resulted in turnover ball, to score two themselves in an even contested first half. The second half underway the first thing of note was the improved lineouts and with that came a much more sustained period of pressure by the Tic’s who chipped away at the Devonport defence and scored three unanswered tries to win what was a very enjoyable game of rugby played by both teams 32-17. This leaves Athletic in second place just 6 points behind leaders Ivybridge in Merit Table 1 with a game in hand. Next week their off to Sidmouth to try and improve that position but are back at Pottington Road on the 16th to take on Paignton.
The Colts, also at home, faced Okehampton Colts hoping that the experiences of their time on the road would finally pay dividends and it did as in another highly entertaining game they won 36-24. They now have a rest for a couple of weeks before travelling to Crediton on October 23rd.
Lastly to round off the blog this week the Bucc’s played their second game of the season with a trip to Withycombe to take on the Withycombe 2nd XV winning 0-22.
And finally just for you supporters, I know we pride ourselves on our hospitality here at Pottington Road but it is nice when we gets such kind words as these about the club in the rugby paper from some visitors to the Westcliff game that Jeremy Chugg posted on facebook.
So that’s it for another week and a very good one at that for the Barnstaple Teams a losing bonus point on the road is nothing to be sneezed at in this league and if the Chiefs can take that into this Saturday’s home fixture with Canterbury they have every chance of earning the win. Kick-off is 2.30 so make sure you get there in plenty of time I have a feeling this is going to be a fantastic game of rugby.