Okay so we made it to the end of 2021, what a crazy year that was. Rugby at least has made it to the end of the year as we await those Cornishmen from Redruth to engage our very own Chiefs at 2pm this Saturday afternoon. What will happen in the New Year is anyone’s guess let’s just hope we can continue to watch rugby here at Pottington Road. Talking about watching the rugby here I know we are a passionate and very vocal group of supporters here at Barnstaple, probably the most passionate within the National leagues, but there has been concern that some of that passion has overstepped the boundaries of what is considered robust support of your team and has been, to put it mildly, disrespectful of the officials as they go about doing what is a very difficult job in officiating a rugby match especially given the huge amount of rules they have to consider in just a split second, so the committee would like all our supporters at Barnstaple Rugby to please take heed of the following
Dear Loyal supporter and Member of Barnstaple RFC
It recent weeks it has been noted that there has been a significant increase in verbal abuse directed to match day officials. Abuse of Match Officials (including non-appointed/volunteer touch judges) on and off the field is totally unacceptable and shall not be tolerated.
As we are sure you are aware, there is a desperate shortage of match officials to cover all the matches played across our region. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the Referees’ Society to not only recruit new members but also to retain current members, and Abuse of Officials (from players and spectators) is given as one of the causes of this.
Referees and non-appointed /volunteer touch judges freely give up their free time throughout the rugby season because of their love and support for the game and to ensure that rugby can be played at weekends for the enjoyment of players and spectators. Naturally, we should all be encouraging and supporting our Match Officials at every opportunity, as without them there would be no rugby!
Your committee wants to make it quite clear that verbal abuse towards anyone whilst at our Club will not be tolerated and may lead to offenders being asked to leave the club. It may even leave to Membership being revoked.
We must all remain mindful that one of the major strengths of our Club is that famous “Barum Spirit” which so often lifts our players gain a few more hard yards. We know that our “Barum Spirit” is built on passion to ensure that our club strives for betterment; please don’t let things get out of hand as that may have a negative impact on our payers, other supporters and the very good reputation of Barnstaple RFC.
So what can we expect from today’s game, well after another heavy defeat last week it looks very likely that the Chiefs are going to be up against it against a Redruth side that is striving for the top spot and are looking favourites to do so. With just 1 point between them and 1st place Esher at the top of the tree, with Worthing and Clifton just 3 points further back, these four look likely to be battling it out for the no1. Position next year and I fully expect Redruth to come out all guns blazing as every bonus point will be crucial by the end of April and they will not want to lose points here today. Mind you Barnstaple will make them work extremely hard for those points as we have done so with other teams that have visited and I fully expect the Chiefs to do just that.
As for the Chiefs they still have to believe in themselves, yes it was another bad score line away from home, but at Pottington the performances have been good and much better than some of the score lines would suggest. With another eight home ties in the New Year there is every reason to believe that there will be a few more wins on the cards, whether today will be such a day is a big question, I do hope so but in any case the Chiefs should just get out there and enjoy their rugby and see where it takes them today.
To that end we see the return of Winston James which a big plus but still no Dan Lee or Martinas and also missing is Nat Bayet this week but Mitch Turner and Alfie May start. The backs are as they were last weekend which is good news and there is a couple of new signing on the Bench with Noah Sixton who many of you have already read about in the Gazette and Journal but for those who haven’t Noah can list amongst his achievemnets so far three caps for England at the World Rugby Sevens tournament in Vancouver, Canada two years ago. Here then is the team to face Redruth.
1. Alfie May
sponsored by DS Carpentry
2. George Snell
sponsored by Paiges Lane Barbers
sponsored by Wrey Arms
4. Ben Hilton
sponsored by KAS Crane Hire
5. Matt Gohl
sponsored by Queens Theatre and the Landmark Theatre
6. Flynn Elworthy
sponsored by Advanced Scaffolding
7. Bryn Jago
Sponsored by Longcross Scaffolding Ltd
8. Winston James
sponsored by Brewer, Harding and Rowe
9. Josh Pilkington
Sponsored by Ocean Shade, Canopies & Awnings
10. Jake Murphy
Sponsored by the Pride
Sponsored by Barricane Solutions
12. Johny Carter
Sponsored by Fields farm shop and Butchery
Sponsored by My Favourite Cottages
14. Dan Johnson
Sponsored by Tom Johnson Decorators
15. Ryan Lee
Sponsored by Access an Area
16. Noah Sixton
17. Josh Davie
Sponsored by Martin Hammett Associates
18. Gavin Mitchel
19. Chris Philpot
20. Ryan Smale
Sponsored by Artisani Resturant
As you might have seen I’ve not been giving my usual league updates but today I thought a nice round up would be prudent as we head to Christmas and the first game to note is the big one this weekend as current league leaders Esher travel to Worthing with Esher in top form having not lost since 9th October and Worthing losing their last two home games against Hinckley and Clifton, this should be a cracking game. The other top four team Clifton, travel to Dings and should be in a confident mode with Ding’s less than impressive form against the top sides at home but those games are always close as I expect this one will be too.
Fifth placed Henley travel to Barnes following a home defeat by their nearest challengers Leicester Lions last weekend and will need this one to keep their place as Leicester host Hinckley and their home form this season has been excellent only losing one game in week two to Clifton and I fully expect them to keep that record going into the New Year.
In mid table Guernsey travel to Canterbury having had a challenging last month having won only once since late October against Westcliff which has seen them slip from the top to 8th place and will be eager to get back on track especially as they have two games in hand over some of those above. As for Canterbury they still find themselves in the bottom half of the table with just four wins to their name and will be under the cosh so to speak as Guernsey’s away form is one of their strengths.
Elsewhere Bury St. Edmunds welcome Old Albanians as the two teams fight it out and bottom of the table Westcliff travel to Rochford Hundred.
Athletic and Colts
Barnstaple Athletic were again denied a home game as Newton Abbot 2nd XV struggled to get enough players for the game and this is now three games they have been let down on and it’s still a wonder if they will ever get played which is a shame especially as Ivybridge’s thumping win over Exmouth puts them two points clear at the top although Athletic do have a game in hand. Athletic do have a break now and don’t play until 15th January when they visit Brixham and that’s the first of four games on the road which takes them up to the middle of February and a real test of whether Athletic have the metal to take the merit table.
Athletic next play at Pottington Road against Cullompton on February 12th kick off 2pm, although they do have a Boxing Day appointment here at Pottington Road with Bideford’s 2nd XV
The Colts showed us what they are all about with an impressive performance against Newton Abbot Colts winning 19-14 in a very good game of rugby from both teams and a very enjoyable afternoon for all those watching. They too have a well-deserved rest until the competitive part of their season starts on January 22nd away to Bideford Colts and are home again on February 5th and 12th against Tavistock Colts and South Molton Colts.
Finally most of you will have heard that the Cornish comedian Jethro passed away earlier this week, what some of you might not know is that he used to play at prop for Penzance in the 70’s and remebered playing against Barnstaple and Stuart Chugg in particular from what I’m told. Anyway watch out for the match report if I manage to get one done this weekend as it’s a busy one for me just before Christmas but if I don’t let me just say now have a great great Christmas and stay optimistic for 2022 good luck to you all