Last Saturday while the Chiefs were involved in a very tough game against Guernesy and Athletic were stroming it against Devonport winning 58-0, Barnstaple Colts were involved in thier first competitive game of the season as they were much less travelled than their older counterparts just hop over to Bideford. Now we have a fantastic report of the game by Reuben Faulkner who is a much better writer then me, the photos in the report are from the earlier friendlies that were played before Christmas, so over to you Reuben

On the 22nd of January the Barnstaple Colts travelled to Bideford to compete in their first league game of the season. Bideford came into the game after playing out a draw with Tavistock Colts a week prior; Barnstaple were hungry for the victory with their defeat against Bideford on Boxing Day still very much fresh in their minds. The game kicked off under the flood lights with a 4:30pm start.

Barnstaple’s Morgan Gabe took the kick-off and Bideford immediately found themselves on the backfoot. An onslaught of Barum pressure saw Bideford pegged back deep inside their own half for the majority of the first half. Barnstaple’s intensity in ball carrying saw them come close to scoring several times at the start of the game. It was the final execution that let the team down in these situations. However, their misfortune was short-lived as in the 20th minute Fin Body crashed over the Bideford try line to put Barum 5-0 up, the conversion was missed.

Only minutes after the try, Barnstaple suffered a blow with their outside centre Alex Penny leaving the field after suffering a suspected head injury, on in his place was Charlie Hakin. Nonetheless, this proved to be no problem for Barnstaple because soon after Henry Wilton struggled to the try line to score the away team’s second of the day, the conversion was put wide again. The break in play that followed the try saw Dylan Kingdon replaced by Kai Chappell.

Colts on their way to beating Exeter Saracens in November 2021

At this point in the game, it looked as if Barnstaple would go on to put 30 or so points past the home team and win comfortably, although this was not the case. Following Barnstaple’s second try was a succession of missed passes, tackles and kicks. The home team could smell blood and a re-vitalised Bideford put together some successful bouts of play that caused the Barnstaple defence numerous problems. Bideford received a penalty in a favourable position and opted for the posts, however they missed. The end of the first half was very different to the start of it; Barnstaple looked like certain victors in the first half hour, but that prediction looked uncertain now as Bideford’s change in attitude and approach had nulled Barum.

Barnstaple made three replacements at halftime with Zac Wheaton, Josh Rumson and Fin Hawkins all taking the field in places of Mikey Newby, Charlie Hakin and Fred Rees-Cooper.

Bideford started the second half in the same way they ended the first, with intensity. Disarray and mis-organisation within the away side was capitalised upon and Bideford were awarded with a try in the 41st minute, Barnstaple were still winning though as yet another conversion was missed. A larger crowd had now emerged from the clubhouse and looked to spur on the home team. This added to the intensity of the game and caused numerous squabbles to break out on the pitch as both teams tussled tirelessly for victory. Mikey Newby was re-introduced to the field in place of Fin Body in the 47th and Joe Hill and Dylan Kingdon were introduced in the 53rd minute in places of Sam Palmer and Kai Chappell. Halfway into the second half Barnstaple found themselves under Bideford pressure once again and in the 21st minute Bideford scored and then slotted their conversion; the score now stood at 12-10 to the home team who had made an admirable comeback.

Colts score against Crediton Colts in September

Time now ticked on, and Barnstaple needed to rally together if they wished to get anything out of this match. Barnstaple made their way into the Bideford half via marauding runs from their forwards and darting runs from Morgan at fullback. Bideford were camped tightly on their try line as Barnstaple player crashed forward in hopes they would break through. Despite being brought back on moments ago Mikey was forced into being re-subbed after chipping his tooth and suffering a bloody nose when running into the Bideford defence, Kai Chappell took his place. The game wavered on, and Barnstaple continued to pester the Bideford defensive line, but the home team stood strong. Three minutes remained on the clock and then Barnstaple got the break they so desperately needed: Bideford’s players were sucked into the breakdown and there was a heavy overlap on the wing and the ball had to go, however Ned Kingdon took a dive for the line and stretched to place it down. In the excitement that followed the try the Barnstaple bench could not find the kicking tee, so Joe Hill was forced to use a cone. Fred held the ball on the cone as Joe began his run-up, but Fred knocked the ball at the last second and caused it to fall as Joe struck it, the ball consequently sailed wild; the score now stood at 15-12 to Barnstaple.

The missed conversion only left Bideford within three points of the away side and even though there was 2 minutes left supporters and players were left anxious. This was short-lived though as Barnstaple aggressively carried the ball forward once again and won a penalty directly in front of the posts. The bench had now re-located the kicking tee and Stan Kift stepped up to take the kick, he slotted it perfectly and the final whistle went, Barnstaple had won the game 18-12.

What a game it was to watch, full of drama and intensity throughout. Captain fantastic Scott Incledon deservedly received the man of the match award, his aggression in both attack and defence was superb throughout the game.
See you all next week for Okehampton away.
By Reuben Faulkner.
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