Welcome back folks to another pre match bog post and a difficult couple of games coming up for both Athletic and Chiefs this weekend following on from defeats for both sides last Saturday. The Chiefs, it’s a trip to Shropshire to face Newport (Salop) whilst Athletic and the Buccaneers are at home taking on Exeter Saracens with the Bucc’s playing their 2ndXV.
For the Chiefs I wish I could understand what happened in that second half, I was going to write a match report but just couldn’t find the words. To say that it was disappointing would be an understatement and yet the game started so well or rather after the first mix up where the Chiefs allowed the kick off to bounce and Hinckley took advantage to score within the first three minutes. After that though the Chiefs pressed with some good rugby pressuring Hinckley into giving lots of penalties and by the half hour mark had taken the lead with a Jake Murphy penalty followed by an Adam Lloyd try. Yet despite another lapse allowing Hinckley to retake the lead right on half time, at 10-14, Barnstaple were the better team if only just a tad better and all looking good for the second half.
Then disaster struck as almost straight from the kick off Hinckley ran in their first of five tries in that half. Throughout the half the Chiefs struggled to make any headway giving the initiative back to Hinckley at every opportunity. There was a brief spell when the Chiefs did put it together with a few phases, a lovely pass from the new scrum half Morgan Stone put Jake Murphy in for a touchdown under the posts and with the conversion pulled the lead back to 17-26 with still 25 minutes left and every chance the Chiefs could pull this one back. Yet again errors everywhere stopped any further progress and even when Hinckley went down to 11 men whilst the Chiefs still had 14 on the field, following some poor discipline from the visitors, Hinckley still managed to score by having a three on one overlap over on the right.
Barnstaple Chiefs were better than this, are better then this and it is a puzzle that the coach’s are going to have to work hard to figure out. The lineouts have been an issue for the Chiefs I know and losing Arthur Marks at Hornets didn’t help things, as neither did losing the Captain George Snell at that same game and yes these must have been factors. Also with the new scrum half only having one training session with the Chiefs before his first start with them would have also limited what they could try and accomplish on the field, but to lose such shape and composure after what was an adequate first half performance to have built a winning game on is worrying. Hopefully they will have made progress in addressing some of the issues at hand by the time they take the field in Shropshire.
As for Newport despite losing heavily to two strong teams on the road against Leicester Lions and Old Redcliffians, their only win so far was a 35-28 home win against Bournville and so the Chiefs will have to approach this game with caution and play some solid straight up rugby as the home side have shown they can score a lot of points at home.
The side to face Newport (Salop) does have several changes, the most welcomed though is that George Snell does return even though it is on the bench suggesting the injury at Hornets was not as challenging as we had first thought which is fantastic news. Also returning for the first time this season is Johny Carter partnered in the centre by the returning Sam Roberts. Brandon Moore gets a crack at the No’8 slot and Mikey Nott goes to the second row here then is the Chiefs to take on Newprt (Salop)
Now to today’s entertainment at Pottington Road as Barnstaple Athletic prepares to take on Exeter Saracens with both teams on identical points both with a win already under their belts. For Athletic it was a close run thing at Exmouth, always a difficult place to get a result, losing by just 5 points 24-19 and grabbing a very important bonus point on the road. Exeter Saracens though are yet to win at home losing to Withycombe 22-39 two weeks ago, which should give the Tic’s plenty of encouragment considering it was at Withycombe that Athletic recorded its first win of the season, with their only win at Devonport so they can play away from home and the Tics will have to be careful how they approach this game.
Today’s team is
We also welcome home for their first game of the season Barnstaple Buccaneers who also take on Exeter Saracen 2nd XV today, which will prove to be another good game to watch.
Both games kick off at 2.30pm
That’s about it for now get yourselves down to Pottington Road to cheer on the Tic’s it is sure to be a cracking game and the weather looks good so why not treat yourself to a couple of pints and some exciting rugby, see you there.