Barnstaple Rugby Facebook For more photos from the game
What a great game of rugby that was and well played Chiefs who I feel deserved something from the game with a really good second half performance.
Barnstaple started brightly but handling errors and penalties stalled any progress for both teams in the opening 10 minutes as both teams attempted to set their mark on the game. Esher are a quick side with a fly half that was electric with the ball in hand, they were always going to be dangerous opponents and so it proved as Barnstaple having missed touch from a penalty kick, Esher took the ball from half way inside their half downfield finishing off with a lovely floated pass to put their winger in for the opening score.
The Chiefs came back strongly and following some good pressure drove a maul up to Esher’s 22 and from there spread the ball first left then right with a lovely kick pass from Jake Murphy to put Will Topps in a one on one with Jake Childs inside for the pass, unfortunately the full back covering guessed correctly and intercepted the pass to run the ball down into the Chiefs 22. From then on it was all Esher for the next 15 minutes with the Chiefs again putting in a huge defensive display that kept the visitors out, at least until the half hour mark when a 5 meter line out was driven over for Esher’s second score to lead 0-12. Five minutes later and Esher were in again as they spread the ball from one side of the pitch to the other to enable the winger to score in the corner.
It cannot be underestimated how good the Chiefs defence was up to this point and the tries scored were top of the table quality scores that stretched the defence, but it still kept Barnstaple in the hunt and finally they were rewarded for their efforts. With just a few minutes to go it was all Chiefs as they mounted a sustained attack on Esher’s defence. With the half coming to a close Johny carter ran a lovely line having spotted the gap to go in for his first try of the season reducing Esher’s lead at half time to 7-19.
The second half again showed a great defensive effort by Barnstaple but the quality of their rugby started to earn them more attacking opportunities and right from the start they began creating problems for the visitors. Esher however weathered the opening eight or so minutes to register another three points from a penalty. Several promising Barnstaple attacks were then thwarted, partly by themselves as penalties were awarded to Esher for back chat by the home side but Barnstaple continued to look for gaps when in possession and one such gap saw the Chiefs turn over the ball inside their 22 and quickly move the ball up field with Ryan Lee breaking a tackle to get past the half way line, again though Esher’s full back guessed right as Ryan tried to get the pass away to two Barnstaple players inside him for what was a possible try scoring moment and intercepted the pass.
By now it was a much more evenly fought contest with the Chiefs playing some nice rugby, but both defences were thwarting each other and it wasn’t until the 76th minute that Esher finally broke through to score that all important bonus point try. From a lineout on the Chiefs 22 they first spread the ball left then a lovely jinking run beating several players by the fly half opened up the space to the right and a pass out wide to the second rower who was in for an easy score.
The Chiefs though left the best for last as they quickly attacked from the kick off and from inside their own half the Chiefs turned the ball over, working it downfield through several phases before a cracking run by Ryan Smale through several defenders saw the Chiefs break through the Esher defence into the 22, he then offloaded to Sam Roberts who took a lovely line to get within 5 meters. The very next phase saw Jake Murphy successfully kick pass the ball to the opposite side off the field straight into Will Topps hands and over for the try of the match.
So the Chiefs may have lost this game 14-27 but if they can continue to put in performances like this one especially the second half performance there will be more wins this season I’m sure. Don’t forget this was top of the table v bottom of the table and the differences between these two teams was millimetres not miles and I for one was very happy with how the Chiefs played, especially after the second half, if not the score line and while Esher deserved the win for taking their chances and scoring four very good tries, Barnstaple I feel definitely deserved a bonus point out of this even though they missed out. All in all though it does bode well for the future fixtures here at Pottington Road. One concern though is Ryan Lee who had to be carried off following an injury to his foot hopefully it’s not too serious but I do expect him to be out for a few weeks which is a shame because he has been excellent out there for us.
So that’s it for the Chiefs for what was a very enjoyable game, next week it’s off to Guernsey before they are back the following weekend to face Bury St. Edmunds and what a prospect of a game that one is, kick is 2pm so don’t be late and I hope to see a full grandstand for that one.
Well it was time to face Brixham for the Tic’s having been denied the chance earlier in the season as Brixham couldn’t make the first game, this one though wasn’t too taxing for them as it was on their home soil so not too much travelling involved. Athletic though definitely showed them what they are all about as they put 7 tries past the home side to win 20-43. Tries by Ross Swales (2), Tom Swales, Tyler Gordon-Oke, Cameron Johnson, Connor Swan, and Harvey Rostock sealed it for the Tic’s with Tyler converting four of them. According to Coach Brad Drew it was a
Hard abrasive game today. Good character shown and some fantastic tries scored out wide, with the pick coming from Ross Swales after a kick from Ed day, gathered from Cam Johnson who offloaded to Ross Swales who ran in 25 metres
Next up for the Tic’s is another away day trip this time to Devonport Services which will be a really tough test for this young side who had a tough game against Devonport at Pottington Road winning by just 15 points 32-17 so they will very much need to be on the ball for this one.
No Colts this weekend but they do play their first competitive game of the season next weekend at Bideford kick off time isn’t confirmed to later in the week so look out for that and let’s get as many Barnstaple supporters over there to quieten the Bideford crowd and cheer our Colts on to a great victory, hope to see as many of you there as possible.
See you next week.