Welcome to another pre-match blog and what an exciting day we have in store for everyone visiting Pottington Road this Saturday as it’s Ladies Day hosted by G&Tea, creaters of tea distilled gins. Today we have a National 2 South fixture featuring Barnstaple Chiefs who today face Londoners Barnes for what will be an exciting game of rugby, but more on that in a minute but firstly let’s get a couple of announcements out of the way.
We begin, unfortunately, with the senseless act of vandalism on our Chicken Shed last month resulting in a number of laminated glass panels being deliberately smashed. This senseless damage has outraged many of our supporters and the wider community with messages of support received via social media platforms. We would particularly like to thank the Barnstaple Round Table for their generous £400 donation towards the cost of replacing the windows but there is still another £400 needed to reach the total repair costs. If anyone would like to help us reach that total we would be very grateful to receive further donations.
Much more encouraging though is the brilliant news that the Barnstaple U11’s have won a trip to the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final where they will join in on the Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup half-time pitch walk at Twickenham as a result of The Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup which is a series of national grassroots rugby festivals for U11 and U12 rugby teams. This Saturday they will be doing a Training Session run by Robbie Hume, Nat Bayet and Sam Roberts the last age group from Barnstaple to play at Twickenham before holding a guard of honour to welcome the teams on to the pitch for today’s game.
Finally before we get to the Chiefs game there was even more fantastic news last weekend from our Barnstaple Colts as they booked their place in the Devon cup final to face Ivybridge. Up against Sidmouth, the Colts knowing they not only needed the win but a big win at that, produced a great display of rugby with 9 tries including a hat-trick from centre Alex Penny to grab their place in the final on points difference as Topsham’s win over Ivybridge meant the two teams were tied on points. The final will be played on April 24th at Kingsbridge kick off is 3pm.
There will be a supporters bus travelling to Kingsbridge for the Colts Devon Cup Final on Sunday 24th April. Leaving at 12. £10 per head. If you would like a seat please let me know and pay ASAP I will let you have payment details. No seat is confirmed until payment has been received
So to the Chiefs game and another defeat at Leicester Lions last weekend which now makes it 18 games without a win since we beat Rochford back in October. It does show the huge task facing a very young team but despite these defeats they are gaining valuable experience with each game and let’s not forget several of these players barely had any Colts games let alone much senior rugby before joining the 1st team thanks to the pandemic. Every match is vital in developing the team for next season and that is where the challenge lies currently, getting these lads ready for then. There are signs, good signs like the first half against Old Albanians and some of the defensive displays shown in other games or outscoring Ding’s in that exciting second half. It’s close, where all the elements snap into place and it will be done by a squad which is 80-90 percent local players most of whom have come up through the Juniors and that my friends always gets me excited for the future.
So will today be that day for everything to click, well Barnes have only had eight wins themselves this season and more recently have had just two wins in their last nine games away to fellow strugglers Westcliff and Rochford, so the incentive is there for the Chiefs to have a real go at this one. But and it is a big but, Barnes do seem to prefer being on the road with five of their eight wins coming from away trips, including Old Albanians and Redruth with draws also at Esher and Dings, so they like travelling and especially like visiting the West Country, so this is going to be a tough game for the Chiefs but if they can get the pressure on early and keep it there who knows, at least it will be exciting.
We do welcome the return of both Winston James and Will Topps who are on the bench for this one after a break for injury has seen them side-lined for a number of weeks, while Josh Pilkington starts at scrum half. Here then is the Chiefs team to face Barnes.
1. George Snell
Sponsored by Paiges Lane Barbers
2. Gav Mitchell
sponsored by Function Fitness
3. Martinas Dromantas
sponsored by Peter Jeffrey
4. Ben Hilton
sponsored by KAS Crane Hire
5. Arthur Marks
sponsored by Floor Sanding Services
6. Nat Bayet
sponsored by MLPA Surveyors
7. Ryan Smale
sponsored by Artisani
sponsored by SITIM Solutions
9. Josh Pilkington
Sponsored by Ocean Shade, Canopies & Awning
10. Tyler Gordon-Oke
Sponsored by Mount Sandford House
11. Connor Swan
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. Alfie May
Sponsored by DS Carpentry
17. Domonic Robson
Sponsored by Harry’s Cafe
Sponsored by Tom Johnson Decorators
19. Winston James
Sponsored by Brewer, Harding and Rowe
20. Will Topps
Sponsored by Barricane Solutions
And that’s a wrap for me today no Athletic or Colts games today so hopefully we will have both those squads down to lend their vocal chords to the Barum chorus today. Good luck to the Chiefs and I’ll see you all on the flip side.
COME ON YOU MIGHTY BARUM!