Welcome back and happy new year for 2023 and to our first game of the new year and it begins today with Barnstaple Athletic who restart their campaign in the Counties 2 Tribute Devon league, with the first of seven consecutive games at home beginning with today’s game Honiton also at home this Saturday. The Colts play Brixham Colts here as well and that one kicks off early at 12pm. The Chiefs restart their campaign in the second half of this season with a trip to Hinckley who are currently 3rd in league at the moment, whilst the Bucc’s game against Honiton 2nd XV has been called off. But before we get to those games just to few quick announcements.
We begin with Barnstaple Rugby’s very own January sale announcement HALF PRICE SILVER MEMBERSHIPS FOR REMAINDER OF SEASON. Yes that’s right just £50 (£45 for us seniors) and you save a whooping £57 (£62) if you attended all of the Chiefs and Tic’s games for the rest of the season, that’s 16 games for the paltry pric of just £50 (£45). For full details and how to apply click here https://www.barnstaplerugby.co.uk/2023/01/half-price-season-tickets/
The match between Barnstaple Chiefs and Hornets which was postponed on the 17th December is now to be played on February 4th kick off still 2pm, a big fortnight for the Chiefs as the week beforehand they are also at home to Dings Crusaders so exciting times ahead. We also have a pre-match lunch event on the 25th of February when we welcome Bournville to Pottington road with a two course meal, including members discounts for individual bookings, details below.
Finally don’t forget that the rugby ramble is on March the 23rd with some of our very own Tuesday club of volunteers taking part as a tribute to Ronnie Isaacs who sadly passed away in December. Want to take part yourself? why not there’s a delicious hot pasty to set you on your way, a pint at the midway point to keep you going plus a final pint at the finish line. Then settle in to watch the crunch England vs Ireland game, potentially THE deciding game of the Six Nations, in the best atmosphere anywhere in North Devon. For more details visit the North Devon Hospice website here https://www.northdevonhospice.org.uk/support-us/events/rugby-ramble/
Before we get to the teams a big congratulations to Barnstaple Colts Stan Kift and Morgan Gabe who are in the starting line-up for Devon Colts V Oxfordshire Colts at Hartpury this Saturday. Well done and good luck from all at Barum.
So now for The Chiefs game and as I said they have a very difficult game up at Hinckley who, if you remember, had ripped the chiefs apart when the two sides meet here at Pottington road earlier in the season with a devastating second half performance. Following a tight 1st half which saw the visitors lead by just 4 points, they racked up a further 31 points to the Chiefs seven as they took complete control of the second half. Hinckley have certainly built on that performance and are very much an improved side to the team we faced last season, currently sitting third in the league with 9 wins from just 12 games beating the likes of Dings Crusaders and Clifton along the way. They will provide very stiff opposition for the Chiefs, particularly as they have only lost once at home to Leicester Lions. Also they are a well rested team having not played a league match since December 3rd so hopefully for the Chiefs there maybe a little ring rust that Hinckley needs to shake off first.
Having said that the Chiefs have also improved especially through December where two wins from two with a very winnable game at Pottington Road postponed due to the weather, the Chiefs have certainly got a handle on those issues which cost them dear in the earlier part of the season and with the way their defence has played of late I do think they could get something out of this game providing they play at their absolute best because make no mistake Hinckley are a very good team and just getting a bonus point up there is going to take a lot of effort and discipline.
To that end the Chiefs are without Dylan Gosling or Dan Johnson for this one, while Cameron Johnson makes a welcomed return. Otherwise very little changed from December. Here then is the Chiefs to face Hinckley.
ATHLETIC AND COLTS
Athletic begin the first of seven consecutive games at home, taking them to the end of February, just reward for such a long campaign on the road and a campaign that I would say was fairly successful. Despite losing their last two games both by the slimmest of margins they find themselves in 6th place in the league on 34 points and have a real opportunity to challenge at least for a top four spot with home advantage throughout the next two months.
Today they welcome Honiton to Pottington Road and a really tough match against the 4th placed visitors. In September Honiton gave a tough lesson to the Tic’s beating them 43-29 and have currently the second highest points scored in the league both at home and on the road beating Tavistock in that category.
So, here then is the chance for Athletic to make a big impression in the league and reduce Honiton’s lead over them to just 6 points, if they can turn over the visitors and I believe they have everything they need to do just that. Providing they have a rock solid defence that maintains its discipline, by not allowing Honiton to exert pressure and to keep them on the backfoot throughout the game. If the Tic’s can do that they have enough weaponry in their ranks to then take it to Honiton and avenge the loss earlier in the season.
This does have all the hallmarks of a great game of rugby in the making with two teams who enjoy scoring, hopefully the weather will play nice to allow that to happen. As for the Athletic team to face Honiton, we see the return of Scott Incledon and Charlie Banefield makes a return following a lengthy time out through injury, whilst Kev Angel just cannot stay away and is on the bench for this one. Here then is the team to face Honiton
After an extensive break the Colts finally get to play a game, and at home which is even a bigger rarity, having played their last competitive game on November 12th where they were beaten at Topsham 19-10. They will be very eager to get going on this one as they face Brixham Colts in a must win match for Barnstaple before they return to their travels in the next two games at Exeter and Okehampton, both very tough games. They will have to win this one without Stan Kift and Morgan Gabe who as noted earlier have been selected to start for Devon Colts this Saturday against Oxford Colts. Here then is the Colts team to face Brixham Colts and don’t forget the earlier kick off time of 12pm for this match.