Welcome back everyone to yet another blog and our first newcomers to Pottington Road as Barnstaple Chiefs await the arrival of North Herefordshire’s Luctonians to our shores in what will prove to be a tough test for the Chiefs and hopefully a great game of rugby.
So who are Luctonians then, well the club was founded just after the Second World War in 1948 as Old Luctonians, whose squad comprised mainly of old Lucton School boys, including their one and to date only England International at the time, Douglas Brian Vaughan. By the 1990’s Luctonians were becoming increasingly successful both on the pitch and the in their development as a club and from November 1992 through until October 1996 they were unbeaten, spanning three seasons winning 43 consecutive matches which was at the time a Courage League Record, and by 2001 secured promotion to the 5th tier of rugby in the then Midlands 1 Division.
Promotion to National league rugby came nine years later when in 2010 when they won their playoff, their third since 2003, to gain promotion to National 2 North. Prior to their relegation in 2018 the club’s highest league finish to date was in 2012 when they finished 5th. Following relegation they immediately sprung back into National 2 North the following season and now join us today here in National West an experienced 4th tier team who were 8th in National 2 North last season and are no strangers to large crowds averaging 500 supporters for their home games.
Currently Luctonians have 2 wins including a 3-18 win at Bournville and last weekend narrowly lost to Leicester Lions at home 37-43. They will obviously provide some tough competition for Barnstaple this afternoon who will need to be at their best and play with a lot of patience in this match.
As for the Chiefs another point gained at Newport (Salop) last weekend when denied the win by two tries in the last 6 minutes, the Chiefs did come away from that one with a losing bonus point to add to the away win at Hornets a fortnight earlier. Still without a home win, I expect the Chiefs will be eager to rectify that situation, but it has to be said 5 points from 2 games on the road is a great feeling, now if only we could match that at home.
Unfortunately the Chiefs are missing a couple of key players this weekend with Nat Bayet unavailable following an injury last weekend, I have no idea how serious but I’m sure you can find out for me when you get to the ground, and Jake Murphy is also not playing not as far as I know injury related but who knows. This means that from a largely unchanged pack Gav Mitchell starts at hooker while in the backs Tom Swales moves to fly half with Cameron Johnson back on the bench, here then is the Barnstaple team to face Luctonians.
ATHLETIC AND COLTS
Now to Athletic and a great second half last weekend in a closely fought match helped them secure a bonus point win to get their season into full swing. Currently in 6th place following that win today they take a trip to Honiton just one place behind in 7th and 1 game in hand over the Tic’s. This will prove to be a crucial game for Athletic to see how quickly they have settled in this league as Honiton’s only home game so far this season was a 50 – 27 win over Iybridge, so they will provide some serious competition for the Tic’s to overcome if they are going to get points from this game.
Without Troy Willis who scored a brace last Saturday or Gav Mitchell Athletic have had to make several changes to what is essentially a fairly stable team with Conner Swan back in at 12 and Ed Harrison gets the No.8 shirt here then is Athletics team to travel to Honiton.
The Colts finally get a game to play and a short hop over to Bideford to start their campaign this season. A no show at South Molton by the home side gave our colts 5 points but I expect they and particularly head coach Lewis Joce would have preferred to have got some game time under their belts before this trip to Bideford to rekindle the old rivalry but nevertheless we are where we are and I expect the Colts will find themselves in a really testing game as Bideford will have their tails up following their win at Tiverton. Here then is todays Colts to face Bideford.
Finally before I leave you there is Barnstaple RFC will be holding an archive afternoon on Sunday 30 October in the main bar at 14.30 until 16.30. Team photos, newspaper reports, old programmes and items of interest will be on display.
Come along, have a beer and wallow in club history with many photos from the past and see who you can remember and name.
There will be plenty of former players I expect who will be there and if you have anything you would like to contribute with just contact Alan White either at the club or through the clubs email address which is email@example.com
Take care everyone and I will see you all at the bar.