Welcome back everyone and what an exciting time it is to be a Barum supporter especially after last weekend’s triple crown of wins for the senior teams and this weekend has a lot of promise as well. The Chiefs were on their travels, to Herefordshire and a difficult game against Luctonians, unfortunately the game has been called off until a later date following a pitch inspection this eening. The Colts travel to Okehampton hoping that there is a game there this weekend after the disappointment of another postponed match against Exeter Athletic colts last Saturday. At home we have the mouth-watering treat of the Counties 2 Devon match between Barnstaple Athletic and South molton, sponsored by The Sheep Show, also playing are Barnstaple Buccaneers who take on a visiting Crediton 3rd XV and will be looking to strengthen their grip on the top spot of the merit table.
Before all that congratulations to Morgan Gabe and Stan Kift, who in Devon U18’s win over Oxford U18’s bagged a try each in an impressive win for Devon at Hartpury College beating Oxford 15-40 in front of the Southwest England Counties selectors a fortnight ago. Speaking of the Colts, Devon RFU have confirmed that Barnstaple Rugby Club will be hosting the Devon Colts Cup, Shield, Plate and Bowl finals of the Ashburton Motor Works Devon Colts Merit Tables, on April 16, 2023.
Just a few announcements before we look at today’s games and the half price Silver membership offer is still on, so grab yourself a bargain, full details on the website click the following link Silver membership sale
On February the 4th, we have of course the rearranged fixture when the Chiefs take on the Hornets at Pottington Road. There is a special pre-match meal deal for this game with a one course sit down lunch – Members £10, Non-members £20. Pay on the day. Be at the club by 12.30 to take advantage of this not to be missed deal. Equally important is the opening round of the Six Nations with Barnstaple Rugby showing all the games, offering Tribute and Carlsberg specials during all the televised matches, but not whilst the Club teams are playing.
So what are you waiting for a decent meal with a very important and possibly classic game of rugby between Barnstaple Chiefs and Hornets followed by England v Scotland and cheep beer, what could be better.
There are still places available for the pre-match lunch before the Bournville game on February 25th, details below and don’t forget about North Devon Hospices Rugby Ramble which is on March the 23rd with some of our very own Tuesday club of volunteers taking part as a tribute to Ronnie Isaacs. Details of the Rugby Ramble can be found on here https://www.northdevonhospice.org.uk/support-us/events/rugby-ramble/
Still got your smiles on your faces after last Saturday’s victory, I certainly have. A really good performance by the Chiefs particularly in the second half as they addressed some shortcomings from the first 40 minutes to totally dominate the game and of course the icing on the cake was Dominic Robson’s interception which he ran in from the halfway line to score his first try for the Chiefs and Barnstaple’s 5th on the day.
It was the visitors who struck first after being awarded a penalty early on, with the Chiefs hitting back immediately with some flowing rugby with Will Topps going over for Barnstaple’s first try. Barnstaple had plenty of chances and at least two should have been scored as inaccuracy and penalties seemed to plague them with the half ending 7-3 for the Chiefs. The second half the Chiefs seemed to have addressed both those issues as the accuracy of their play produced plenty of good flowing rugby and it was the visitors who were on the receiving end of the referees’ whistle as the Chiefs pressed throughout the half. Brandon Moore grabbed a brace of tries either side of Ashlee Crouch’s to ensure the bonus point. By now the Chiefs were totally dominant as any attack from Newport was meet with a fierce defensive wall and they never looked likely to score. As the game neared its end Dominic Robson’s try was just the icing on the cake as he grabbed himself an interception and ran it in from the halfway line to give the Chiefs a deserved 29-3 win
This was an extremely important win for the Chiefs, as I said in the pre-match blog, this was the game that the Chiefs needed to lay down their intent on staying up this season, and they did just that. The first half was a session of missed opportunities, but the second half absolutely put that to bed. If the Chiefs continue in this vein and continue to improve as they have done steadily over the past three months, then there is no reason I can see of them not being in National 2 West next season. The bedrock of all that though was the immense defensive display that the Chiefs have continually shown over the past couple of months which makes the opposition work for every inch of ground and it was that defence that ensured that those missed chances in the first half did not come back to bite them and in the second half completely snuffed out any thoughts Newport had of a comeback. All in all, in good afternoons work, roll on the next match.
And that match was to be this weekend as the Chiefs travel 7th placed but as we have already said that has been postponed. So, on to Barnstaple Athletic and a local Derby.
ATHLETIC, COLTS and BUCCS
Athletic chalked up another very important win to keep their momentum going as they beat visiting North Tawton 34-13. Scoring 6 tries including a brace for Cameron Johnson and tries for Ryan Jago, Connor Swan, Gav Mitchell and Arthur Marks, it was a very satisfying day for the Tic’s. This now moves them up a place to 5th in the Counties 2 Tribute Devon league, just a mere 2 points behind 4th place Ivybridge with a game in hand.
Today it’s a local derby as Barnstaple welcomes South Molton to Pottington Road. When these two teams meet at South Molton back in October, Athletic were able to shut out the home side 0-38 and will definitely look to produce as good a rugby performance on Saturday as they did back then, hopefully to leapfrog Ivybridge and put the pressure on 3rd place Torquay Athletic, who don’t visit Pottington Road until February 18th.
Before we mention the team a massive thank you to the Sheep Show for sponsoring this match, here then is Barnstaple Athletic to face South Molton.
The Buccaneers and very much living the dream at the moment with a 031 win at South Molton against their 2nd XV and that bonus point win extends their lead in the Devon Merit Table 1 NE to 8 points having played just one more game than Exeter Engineers, their closest rivals.
Today they take on a visiting Crediton 3rd XV and will be looking for another five points after putting 57 points unanswered points past them when the Bucc’s visited Crediton in November and another five points will be useful in pressuring the chasing pack.
Next weekend is a big local derby for the Bucc’s and a vital game to win as they visit 3rd place Bideford 2rd XV is what will be a crucial match for both teams with the home side just 14 points behind. There is also the need for revenge for the home side after Barnstaple beat them 19-10 in a very closely contest game at Pottington Road last October. So a huge game for the Bucc’s to keep that winning momentum up.
For the Colts it was another postponed fixture as they had hoped for a game at Exeter Athletic in this stop start season for our Colts. Today they will be really hoping that happens despite whatever the weather does to put the game into doubt it will not thwart them again as they prepare to visit Okehampton who have had an even more disappointing start to 2023 as they are yet to play this year.
Here then is the team to face Okehampton
Finally before I sign off for the weekend some rugby news from the RFU and it look like they will be lowering the tackle height for next season for all leagues from National 1 downwards as the RFU council approves lowering of the tackle height across community rugby in England. It goes on to state that to support player safety the change aims to reduce head impact by lowering the height of the tackle and encouraging the tackler to bend more at the waist with the tackle height being set at waist height or below.
It also places some responsibility on the ball carrier by encouraging the principle of evasion to avoid late dipping which puts the tackler at risk of head injury as well.
This law variation will be implemented in the 2023/23 season and will apply across the community game (clubs, schools, colleges and universities) at both age-grade and adult levels – National One and below in the men’s game and Championship One and below in the women’s game.
So there you have it for more details click here https://www.englandrugby.com/news/article/rfu-council-approves-lowering-of-the-tackle-height-across-community-rugby-in-england-2023
I don’t know what you all think of this but i do have my own opinions which are too numerous to detail here but if you do, like me, think it is a ridiculous change in the law and want the RFU to have a rethink then please sign this petition and let grass roots and community rugby be heard. To sign just click the following link. 2023-24 Tackling Height in the Amateur Rugby Union Game
Enjoy the day wherever you are and good luck to all our teams playing today and I will see you at the Tic’s game this afternoon.