Welcome back to the latest blog and a very special weekend as Barnstaple Colts will be celebrating 50 years of rugby as the Colts from that very first season meet today to celebrate it. It was on this day 50 years ago against Taunton here at Pottington Road that Barnstaple Colts played their first ever fixture.
To properly fill you in on today’s celebrations I now had over to the Vice captain of the Colts in that year Tony Featherstone
Barnstaple Rugby Football Club Colts 50th Anniversary
Saturday 17th September 2022
The initial idea that Trevor Edwards and Ian Jewell had was to have a 50th Anniversary reunion for BRFC’s first official Colts side that played in the 1972/73 season. That side was very successful and lost only a couple of games that season. They also reached the Devon Cup Final, albeit they lost to a very powerful Exeter team at the old county ground in Exeter.
It is very interesting to note that Barnstaple has had an unbroken line of Colts teams since that 1972/73 cohort. Throughout its history, the Colts teams have been very successful and now forms the life blood for the senior teams. Something I suspect the individuals who created the Colts wanted but I can only assume they could not have anticipated how successful their plan would be. I believe the committee at the time included the likes of these great club men; Guy Casey, Fred Passmore, Jim Pearce, Jack Barrow, Dennis Budd, George May, Gwyn Pritchard, Jimmy Hurst, Dick Richards and probably one or more of; Stewart Chugg, Jackie Jewell and Stan Sumner.
Trevor and Ian became aware of the importance of the Colts and the benefits they have brought the club.
With this in mind the 50th Anniversary reunion has been opened up to Colts from across the ages as an opportunity to celebrate the camaraderie and life skills learnt by the players, their coaches and those who supported the different teams. Barnstaple Rugby Football Club Colts are held in high regards, both within the club itself and across the wider rugby community.
In addition to the Colts of the past we are delighted to have Phil Gordon the current Colts Coach and Jeremy Chugg our Director of Rugby attend; both of whom are former Colts.
They will bring those attending up to date as to what is happening with Colts rugby at Barnstaple and the importance of Colts Rugby to our senior teams. Today Barnstaple Rugby Football Club plays at a very high standard and many of the young men who play in the Chiefs and Tics have played Colt’s rugby for Barnstaple.
I suspect that the success of the Colts led to the establishment of the Junior Section at our club which itself has been an incredible success story.
Today is a chance to celebrate the undoubted success of the unbroken line of Colts that Barnstaple Rugby Football Club has produced since that first team ran out onto the pitch against Taunton in September 1972 in a set of yellow shirts and won against much fancied opponents by a big margin.
We also celebrate the players, the coaches and those who supported the various Colts teams. We are delighted that 90% of the boys who played in that 1972/73 season and their coach, Alan Mackie, will attend plus players, coaches and supporters from across the years.
It will be a time of reflection, recognition and reminiscing about the wonderful time had by one and all when they played rugby for The Colts.
The event will start with a one-minute silence in recognition of our recently departed monarch and those players, coaches, staff and friends that have also sadly passed away.
Sadly our current Colts won’t be at Pottington Road as they have a game at South Molton so good luck to them for thier first fixture of the season
Present day Colts
Now on to today’s game sponsored by Ian Tucker from St. James’s Place and features Barnstaple Chiefs against our friends from Leicestershire, Hinckley. This promises to be a very compelling game. As many of you will be aware of, last season the Chiefs just edged it 13-10, having lost heavily up at Hinckley earlier in the season. Of course, that was Hinckley’s first visit to Pottington Road and I expect they will be much more prepared for the atmosphere of playing at Barnstaple.
Mind you the Chiefs have further enhanced the encouraging signs of their game against Exeter when travelling to Hornets to grab a very closely contested game 22-23 following a 78th minute penalty kick by Jake Murphy to seal the win and give Barnstaple their first win on the road since February 2020. A try in the first half for a returning Tom Clark helped to give the Chiefs a half time lead 8-13. In the second half the Hornets retook the lead by the halfway point but a Jon Kelly try, his first for the Chiefs, reasserted their lead and with 5 minutes to go a penalty for Hornets looked like to have sunk the Chiefs. However, Jake Murphy was not going to be denied and with a 100% kicking day for him slotted through the winning points.
Hinckley also grabbed a very close away win last week beating Bournville 19-20 having lost the previous week against the fancied Leicester Lions at home 15-26. So, both teams have similar records as it stands and the Chiefs are going to have to be patient in this one, as the Leicester result shows I expect Hinckley to have a very robust defensive line and the Chiefs will need to keep up the pressure and force the errors in this one.
For the Chiefs this weekend there are a few absentees as you will see from the team sheet with Robbie Hume having got his call up to the Navy which although a great loss for the Chiefs is a huge bonus for the Royal Navy and we wish him well on his new adventures and of course not to be a stranger. We do welcome a new player from those other Chiefs as former Exeter Chiefs U18 Morgan Stone who debuts this weekend in Robbie’s place.
Two significant injuries last weekend have hampered the squad further with both Arthur Marks and George Snell unavailable for this one, as is Will Topps, so opportunities for Charlie Banefield, who starts, and Jake Patrick on the bench whilst Tom Swales returns to the wing. Here then is the line up for the Chiefs
Last weekend was not to be for Athletic who must have been disappointed to have lost at home to Ivybridge Vandals following their win at Withycombe the previous weekend, but alas it was not to be and for some reason I still haven’t fathomed that Ivybridge teams do seem to enjoy playing on our ground. Last week was no exception having taken a 0-15 lead. Athletic did recover well in the second with Gavin Mitchell scoring within the first 10 minutes to reduce the lead to 7-15 as Tom Swales slotted the conversion, also stopping the Vandals form accumulating any furth points. But with still 30 minutes of game time left the visitors defence held firm to give them a 7-15 win to take back home.
Today Athletic are on the road again for an even tougher test as they face an Exmouth team who have maximum points from their opening two games and look to mean business this season which includes a home win against Ivybridge. A tough match but aren’t they always against Exmouth and I expect the Tic’s will be ready to meet the challenge.
Next week end they are at home to Exeter Saracens, kick off is 2.30 and it promises to be an unmissable match.
Here then is Barnstaple Athletics’ line up for today’s game
Martin Masters 1967-2022
It was with great sadness that I learnt of Martin Masters passing and just wanted to say that as everyone else have mentioned he was a very generous community spirited man whose company I enjoyed immensely. Always smiling, Martin was a great character and a very warm person who will be greatly missed not only by his family and close friends but by the wider Barnstaple community as well and in particular by Barnstaple Rugby Club. My condolences to Martins family and his many close friends, may he rest in peace.
There will be a minute’s silence for the Queen followed by a minute’s applause for Martin before kick off