Welcome to another weekend of fun and thrills as Barnstaple Chiefs are again at home preparing to take on visitors Old Albanians for this weekends National 2 South fixture sponsored by John and Brenda Sharman and AZETS UK. Now while we are getting ready for this fixture now is as good a time as any to reflect on the horrors faced by the ordinary people of Ukraine and with that in mind Barnstaple Rugby would like to make to following announcement.
BARNSTAPLE RUGBY CLUB IN SUPPORT OF THOSE IN UKRIANE
Dear friends and loyal supporters,
Like so many of us, your club are extremely concerned by the intensification of fighting in Ukraine, which has brought essential services to a halt, created huge upheaval, loss of life, and separated families.
According to UNHCR, more than 2 million people have left Ukraine in recent days.
We don’t need to be reminded that the situation is incredibly tense, dangerous, and distressing. Some of the most vulnerable are the hardest hit, including children, people with disabilities and medical conditions. People now lack the most basic supplies such as food and water.
In order to show our solidarity to those so badly affected we hope that you can join your club in casting some of our famous “Barum Spirit” to those most in need. Our intention is to raise a charitable donation to support the British Red Cross who are at the forefront of delivering critical assistance directly to the point of most need. To enable this, a number of committee members will be moving amongst you during Saturday’s game against Old Albanians (KO 2pm) with collection buckets. All proceeds raised will be sent directly to the British Red Cross.
In addition, the club will proudly fly the Ukrainian National Flag at half-mast and we are also planning a minute’s silence before the game to enable us all to reflect on the crisis.
If you are unable to attend the game on Saturday but would still like to support our drive, then perhaps you may consider donating directly to the British Red Cross using the following link – donate to the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Thank you all
Congratulations to Ryan Lee who makes his 100th appearance for Barnstaple Chiefs this afternoon. Ryan who has progressed through the junior ranks and Colts to become a Barum favourite played his debut game for the Chiefs almost six years ago, aged 18, against Chinnor in 2016, his talents already admired by the coaching staff then and now, has been an important member of the squad ever since. Well done Ryan and we look forward to another hundred plus games in the Chiefs shirt.
And congratulations are in order for former Barnstaple Colt and Barnstaple Chiefs Ben Vellacott who has been selected as a replacement for Scotland’s crucial game against Italy. This will be a great chance for Ben to earn is first full international cap and possibly the beginning of a fruitful international career.
Our visitors today hail from Herefordshire and their rugby club came as a result of the desire of a group of Old Boys of St Albans School, regarded as the second oldest school in the country founded in AD 948, to continue playing rugby hence the name Old Albanians which is the name for St Albans school Alumni and thus a rugby club was formed in 1924. Early days saw the club move to a ground in North St Albans, known as Beech Bottom and in the nineteen fifties a group of OAs including architects and builders constructed a homely pavilion entirely from their own resources. This housed the OA rugby, cricket and shooting clubs. Their current ground at ‘Woollams’ named in honour of Charles Woollam, a former mayor of the city in the nineteenth century and generous benefactor to the school, opened in 2002, is considered one of the finest sporting facilities in Europe housing a host of sporting pitches for a range of sports including cricket, hockey and soccer and tennis courts. They are also a very strong community club with a mini’s and juniors’ section which totals over 900 members whilst during the weeks of the season, Saracens RFC train at Woollams consolidating the links the club has with the premiership side and its academy.
Old Albanians have had a number of notable players over the years including Jeff Probyn before he moved to Wasps and England fame and more recently Maro Itoje, played a full season as did Nathan Earle. The OAs junior and Colts have also produced the likes of Nick Isiekwe and Max Malins who are now coming to prominence on the international scene
Old Albanians have had a very successful time recently being promoted to National Leagues in 2010/11 and then to National 1 as Champions the following season. From then they have had two spells at National one before returning to National 2 South in 2018/19.
Today will be OAs first visit to Pottington and their first taste of the Barum faithful. They currently find themselves in 10th place with just one win from their last eight games, although one word of caution is that this team does like to travel as the Old Albanians have won seven games on the road including beating Clifton and just three wins at home.
As for Barnstaple Chiefs it was another case of almost as a spirited second half fightback against Dings Crusaders saw the Chiefs get to within five points of the visitors with two very good tries within 5 minutes early in the half. Unfortunately, 2 yellows in a minute almost immediately handed back the initiative to Dings you scored a further two tries within a couple of minutes to put the game out of reach. Another good try right at the end did get the crowd on their feet right at the end but honours did go the Dings Crusaders whilst Barnstaple were left to rue another what if.
Can they go one better today and finally break their losing streak, all signs say that given the quality of the rugby these youngsters are playing at the moment, and they did rattle Ding’s as the second half progressed, they must do so at some point and perhaps today is that day. There are a couple of notable returnees as well to help their cause as Dan Lee is again available for this one as is Josh Pilkington who starts on the bench. Here then is the team to face Old Albanians.
1. George Snell
Sponsored by Paiges Lane Barbers
2. Nat Bayet
sponsored by MLPA Surveyors
3. Martinas Dromantas
sponsored by Peter Jeffrey
4. Ben Hilton
sponsored by KAS Crane Hire
5. Arthur Marks
sponsored by Floor Sanding Services
6. Jake Childs
sponsored by SITIM Solutions
7. Bryn-Lee Jago
sponsored by Longcross Scaffolding
8. Dan Lee
sponsored by Anyweld and Tarka Tennis Centre
9. Ross Swales
Sponsored by Edd’s greengrocers
10. Tyler Gordon-Oke
Sponsored by Mount Sandford House
11. Tom Swales
Sponsored by Howdens
12. Johny Carter
Sponsored by Fields farm shop and Butchery
13. Jake Murphy
Sponsored by THe Pride
14. Ryan Lee
Sponsored by Access an Area
15. Kyran McManus
Sponsored by Tea by the Taw
16. Ashlee Crouch
17. Mitch Turner
Sponsored by Wrey Arms
18. Chris Philpot
19. Ryan Smale
Sponsored by Artisani Resturant
20. Josh Pilkington
Sponsored by Ocean Shade, Canopies & Awning
Barnstaple Athletic and Colts.
Barnstaple Athletic’s winning streak came to an end last Saturday at Exmouth and with just two players on the bench against the third placed team in the league it was always going to be a tough day. The Tic’s did start well and with tries from Zak Davie, Jamie McLagan, Callum Ford and Dominic Robson with two of the conversion successfully kicked by Harvey Rostock, not only did Athletic earn the bonus try point but were leading 21-24 as they entered the later stages of the game. Unfortunately two late tries from the home side secured the win 33-24.
So, a setback but not too bad a day as the Tic’s left South Devon with a bonus point in the bag and a week’s rest before they take on their biggest challenge of the season at home to Ivybridge and a must win game if there is to be any chance of winning the Title. The game is at Pottington Road on the 19th March while the Chiefs take a well-earned break and kick off will be 2pm so let’s get as many of us down there as possible to really give Athletic a Barum boost.
Colts Match report by Reuben Faulkner
On Saturday 5th March Barnstaple travelled down to Kingsbridge for their next league fixture. Both coaches and players expected the game to be extremely difficult after they had already suffered a 33-0 defeat at their ground back in September. However, saying this, the squad that Barnstaple had at their disposal that day was a depleted one and now they were travelling down to South Devon with one which was viewed as extremely strong and determined; it promised to be a great game.
Kick-off immediately brought what was expected which was an onrush of pressure from the home side. The Barnstaple backline stood strong despite being pegged back deep inside their own half, tackling low and keeping disciplined Barum were able to keep Kingsbridge from putting any points on the board. Notable work in defence from Fin Body, Mikey Nott and Alex Hookway saw Barnstaple able to retain the ball and progress into Kingsbridge’s half. Latch and drives from the forwards proved to be a great method of breaking through the home team’s defence and after only a few minutes of working with the ball captain Scott Incledon dropped out of the back of a driving maul to score the first points of the day. Joe Hill then proceeded to slot the ball between the posts and make it 7-0 to the Reds.
Despite Barnstaple’s early success, the Kingsbridge onslaught continued. Their centres found room to run into and often found themselves making masses of ground down the side-lines of the pitch; Joe Hill’s ability to make and complete one-on-one tackles proved vital. However, Kingsbridge’s hard work did not go unrewarded as in the 23rd minute of the game they touched down to score their first try of the day, although they missed the conversion. Barnstaple were clearly flustered after conceding the try as not even 5 minutes later Kingsbridge scored again, the conversion was missed, however. The Barum players were annoyed with themselves, 10 minutes ago they were leading and now they were down 10 points to 7. They used this anger as fuel, steadily making their way up the pitch via backs moves and darting runs from individuals such as Ryan Jago and Henry Wilton the Kingsbridge defence was in disarray and conceded a succession of penalties. The referee was fed up of the lack of discipline from the home players and their number 3 was shown a yellow card in the 30th minute. Barnstaple had 5 minutes left of the half and were looking to make it count with the opposition now down a man. In the midst of the battle between either sides Barum flanker Ryan Jago went down with a shoulder injury and was subbed for Semi. The Fijian made an instant impact and after only being on the pitch for 30 or so seconds fought himself over the try-line; Joe Hill converted once again. This marked an end to the first half and Barnstaple went into the break 14-10 up.
Halftime saw a surge of substitutions from the Reds; with Reece Gordon-Oke, Louis Beer, Dylan Kingdon, Fraser Hartnoll, Alex Penny, Morgan Gabe and Vilimone Druma all coming on in the places of Elliot Hillier, Fin Body, Zac Wheaton, Fred Rees-Cooper, Charlie Hakin, Reuben Faulkner and Sam Palmer. There was also a shuffling around in the backs with Joe Hill coming into 13 and Morgan Gabe taking Joe’s first half position of fullback.
The second half began as how the first half had ended; with mounting Barnstaple pressure. The substitutes proved to be of worth as Barum were heavily on the front foot, quick feet from Vili in the centre and marauding runs from the forwards pushed Kingsbridge back. In the 50th minute the hard work was rewarded as Henry Wilton used his footwork and power to break through multiple tackles and then stretched for the line and planted the ball down. Joe Hill’s conversion sailed wide but the score now stood at 19-10 in the away side’s favour. The restart saw no change in Barnstaple’s approach to the game, they continued to prod and poke the Kingsbridge defence in hope they could break through it. Their luck came when the home side’s disciplinary errors took place again, a penalty was given away directly in front of the posts. Joe Hill opted to go for the points and the ball was slotted between the posts, it was 22-10 to Barum. It was a similar story from the next restart again, errors from Kingsbridge allowed their defensive line to be stretched and tested once more. Some neat play from the backs saw Alex Penny score Barnstaple’s fourth try of the day in the 58th minute of the game, the conversion was hung up in the wind and dropped just short of the posts, skimming the crossbar on its way down.
It was from now that Kingsbridge woke up and Barnstaple switched off. Continuous errors and an inability to keep and maintain the ball allowed for the home team to look dangerous. The Barum defence were repeatedly offside and so Kingsbridge were given multiple advantages. Only 3 minutes after Alex Penny’s try Kingsbridge scored and there was now a belief amongst the home side and its supporters that they could get something from this game, this was further enforced when their conversion was slotted; the score stood at 27-17. The Kingsbridge resurgence continued from the restart, despite Barnstaple players putting in great tackles to nullify the home side’s attack they kept coming. Barum’s commitment to tackling was emphasised in how their number 8 Alex Hookway had to be replaced by Elliot Hillier after putting in some heroic challenges.
The Red’s disciplinary issues continued to grow as the second half progressed, Louis Beer found himself on the receiving end of a yellow card after the team had been warned about hands in the ruck several times. With the away team now down to 14 men Kingsbridge looked to capitalise; two minutes after the sending off the home side scored once more, however the conversion was put wide. With only a couple minutes remaining the score stood at 27-22 to Barnstaple. As the away supporters and Red bench eagerly awaited the final whistle the referee believed Barnstaple centre Vili to have slapped the opposition ball out of the air. Despite having not even done such a thing the Fijian was shown a yellow card and Kingsbridge now had one final chance to get something from the game. The home team kicked to the corner, but the ball was retained by the Reds and subsequently booted out of play; Barnstaple had fought hard and won the game by 27 points to 22.
The lads put in a huge shift on Saturday and should be hugely proud of their accomplishment, Kingsbridge expected this to be an easy game after already beating us once this season, but we showed them how we really play. Still some things to work on, such as discipline and work rate in defence but we will undoubtedly work on those things in training this week in preparation for our trip to Newton Abbot on the 12th of March.
Thats it for another weekend folks, Massive game for Barnstaple Athletic next weekend as they face their closest rivals Ivybridge in a must win game here at Pottington Road kick off is 2pm and I really hope as many of you as possible turn out for this one it is going to be a great game of rugby.
The Chiefs take a well earned rest next weekend as they prepare for the final six games of their season and are not home again until April the 2nd when they face Barnes and remember the new kick off times for April which is 2.30pm so you can have an extra half hour in bed (or drinking time) before you need to rush.
The Colts are back on home soil next weekend when they have a very difficult match against Topsham Colts who are unbeaten in their first two games and kick off for that one will also be 2pm.
Good luck to everyone playing today and please be generous for Ukraine.