Happy new year everyone and finally a chance for the Chiefs to start the New Year of with a bang as Last week’s game was cancelled. I do hope you all had a cracking Christmas and thoroughly enjoyed yourselves and caught up family and friends and not too much alcohol. It is of course the Chiefs first home game of 2022 sponsored by our favourite supporters here at Barum, The Golden Oldies. More about their opponents Esher in a minute but first a couple of announcements. There is no outside bar this weekend BUT all the bars will be open inside including the Abraham’s Suite so you can spread yourselves out a bit and have much quicker access to the beers you need to keep you going on these cold days all the while keeping some distance between each other as we don’t want you all getting too close at least not yet. Also we now have free WIFI at the grounds brought to us by Zero7 and it’s easy to connect just check it out CLICK HERE.
Now to the game and Esher come to Devon today from the heart of Surrey very close to Sandown Park race course which is home to the Eclipse Stakes and five Grade One National Hunt races. Esher Rugby Club was formed in 1923 when four rugby enthusiasts, enjoying a pint at the Wheatsheaf in Esher agreed to start a club, which is why you will hear references to the Wheatsheaf when hearing about Esher. The pub itself is a 200 year old heritage pub that is still going strong. One of the quartet, a Welshman, insisted that the club should adopt his native Welsh club’s colours, which is why Esher adopted the black and amber of Newport.
Esher have a strong history in National rugby having been first promoted to National 2 South in 1997-98 season and showed early on their ambitions to go further winning promotion two seasons later. The club set a new points record when winning National Division Two in 2006–07 and were promoted to the Championship in 2009/10 season after winning National 1. During that season they also shared the world record for most tries in a competitive match when they ran in a total of 22 on their way to a record 148-0 thrashing of Manchester on the opening afternoon of the 2009/10 National One season. It equalled the world record set by Australia against Namibia in the 2003 World Cup. Esher then spent two seasons in the Championship before relegation back to National 1. So a big pedigree there and looking at their results a big desire to return to those lofty heights as they prepare to celebrate their centenary next season and looking at their new director of rugby former British and Irish Lions and England flanker Peter Winterbottom they do mean business.
So from the suburbs of outer London Esher arrive here in 2nd place in National 2 South and looking like a very promising contender for the title and a really tough game for Barnstaple as they again have to contend with a top three team. Back in September Esher showed us what they are about after beating the Chiefs 64-22 and have not stopped to impress in the league since.
For the Chiefs it’s been a tough reintroduction to National rugby as they finished the first half of the season with just two home wins against fellow strugglers Westcliff and Rochford Hundred. Yet they do make teams work hard for their points here at Pottington Road and that defence will have to work extremely hard again this afternoon if it is to keep the Chiefs in the hunt.
Today does see the return of the Chiefs first choice front row who haven’t started a game together since that win against Rochford Hundred. Also returning is Flynn Elworthy whilst in the backs it’s a welcome return for Kyran McManus who starts at full back. Here then is the team to face Esher…..
1. George Snell.
sponsored by Paiges Lane Barbers
2. Nat Bayet
sponsored by MLPA Surveyors
3. Martinas Dromantas
sponsored by Peter Jeffery
4. Ben Hilton
sponsored by Kas Crane Hire
5. Jake Childs
sponsored by SITIM Solutions
6. Flynn Elworthy
sponsored by Advanced Scaffolding
7. Winston James
Sponsored by Brewer, Harding and Rowe
8. Bryn Jago
sponsored by Longcross Scaffolding Ltd
Sponsored by Ocean Shade, Canopies & Awnings
10. Jake Murphy
Sponsored by The Pride
11. Ryan Lee
Sponsored by Access an Area
12. Johny Carter
Sponsored by Fields farm shop and Butchery
13. Sam Roberts
Sponsored by My Favourite Cottages
Sponsored by Barricane Solutions
Sponsored by Tea by the Taw
16. Alfie May
Sponsored by DS Carpentry
17. Gav Mitchell
18. Arthur Marks
sponsored by Floor Sanding Services
19. Ryan Smale
sponsored by Artisarni Resturant.
20. Luke Berry
sponsored by Artisarni Resturant.
Next week Barnstaple are on the biggest journey of their season as they fly out to Guernsey and hopefully will make it back in one piece to face Bury St Edmunds the following week kick off will again be 2pm.
Barnstaple Athletic and Colts
Barnstaple Athletic continue to be frustrated at teams unable or unwilling to travel north to face them and currently find themselves in second place in the Devon Merit table one with three postponed games leaving them with those three games in hand over leaders Ivybridge. I’m sure the form the Tic’s were in prior to the Christmas break coach Brad Drew would have preferred to have the points in the bag. It is what it is though and the Tic’s are not back at Pottington Road until February but do have several tough tests on the road until then.
Today is the first of four games on the road against surprise surprise, Brixham with Okehampton and Newton Abbot, the other two to fail to come to Pottington Road also on the list with the fourth being Devonport you did travel north. All four games are going to be huge tests for this young Tic’s side but win these and they will be all set to take that title.
Athletic are back at Pottington Road on February 12th against Cullompton kick off is 2pm.
For the Colts it’s finally back to some competitive rugby as their leagues begin this month, and they too are on the road in January before two home games in February against Tavistock and South Molton Colts. But not until next week when they are away to Bideford, they at least have another week off to prepare.
The Colts will be back at Pottington Road on February 5th when they face Tavistock kick off 2pm
That’s it for today enjoy the game tomorrow and remember to be loud and proud