To see the complete set of photos from the game click Barnstaple Chiefs v Dings Photos
Welcome to another blog post as they come at you thick and fast and today is no exception as we have a massive day today at Pottington road with the Chiefs welcoming Hornets to play the postponed fixture from just before Christmas as well as the Colts who are also hosting today as they welcome Topsham Colts to Pottington Road. Then there is the six nations which is being shown live in the clubhouse with Specials on Carlsberg and Tribute during the England game. Athletic take a well-earned rest following an undefeated January which saw them grab four wins moving them from 6th to 4th place. The Bucc’s too, have a weekend off before they restart their campaign having successfully recaptured their top spot in the Merit table from Bideford. Three of their games will be at home but the crucial fixture is away to Exeter Engineers, the only team to have beaten them so far this season and are currently eight points behind the Bucc’s with a game in hand, so all to play for in their final lap.
It’s with Barnstaple Buccaneers we stay with and congratulations are in order as they have been awarded the Sandford Orchards Devon Team of the Month award for January and will be presented with their cider at the club on Wednesday evening. So well done to the Bucc’s and hopefully you will enjoy even more success with the Devon Merit Table title this season.
Today is a massive day at the club and we have everything you need for a full day out here at Pottington road which begins with a pre-match lunch before the game, which is a tenner for members and £20 for non-members including free entry, just turn up take a seat and pay on the day. After your meal there is the crucial bootom of the table clash between Barnstaple Chiefs and Hornets in possibly the Chiefs biggest game of the year so far, more on that later. Then stay put as we tempt you a 6 Nations special as England face Scotland with the bar offering specials on both Tribute and Carlsberg. What more do you want for a Saturday afternoon.
There is NO outside bar this Saturday but all three bars inside are open to everyone.
Finally, and I know I keep harping on about this, but it really is for a very important and worthwhile cause and that’s the North Devon Hospice Rugby Ramble on March 18th which will feature several of our Tuesday Club of Volunteers. If you would like to get involved 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/
Finally on Sunday April 16th 2023, Barnstaple Rugby club will be hosting the Devon Colts Cup, Shield, Plate, & Bowl finals.
I do hope those of you reading this were also at the match last weekend and saw a wonderful game of rugby. Yes, the Chiefs did lose this one to the team currently ranked third in the league, but boy did they make Dings work hard for every inch of Barnstaple turf. It really was an excellent performance by the Chiefs who dominated possession and territory, particularly in the first half and possibly edged it in the second half. There was a lot of good rugby out there and I for one left the ground chuffed to bits having watched a cracking game and of the display the lad’s performance gave us and as one comment on Facebook suggested the score line really didn’t reflect the performance the Chiefs put in on the day. Are there some grips well maybe, the only area I can possibly fault is the accuracy, just occasionally, let the team down but that was in the face of a very well drilled defence who were extremely quick to plug the gaps and did make the Chiefs work hard for their tries. But as I mentioned in last week’s blog it was the performance that mattered going into the next few games and on that the team certainly delivered.
Which brings us to today’s game and a chance for the Chiefs to record a third home win as they play host to the Hornets who are in a very similar position to Barnstaple making this game a crucial one for both sides. A win today for either side will be a massive confidence booster going forward and one that neither team want to forgo.
The last time the Hornets visited us was during the 2015/16 season which resulted in a 7-7 draw, so I’m sure we will have a better-looking result than that. In fact recent games between these two sides have been close affairs as was shown in their first meeting this season
Earlier this season the two teams played out a very close contest in which Barnstaple grabbed a very closely contested game 22-23 following a 78th minute penalty kick by Jake Murphy to seal the win. Since that game way back at the beginning of September both teams have had similar results with each beating the three other teams around them at the foot of the table and both won home games against Loughborough Students with the last kick off the game. So here we have two equally matched teams on a similar trajectory, eager to make a statement today, all the ingredients for a great match.
Therefore, Barnstaple must really be on the ball today and as I said earlier that performance against Dings was just the tonic the team needed going into this game, as was Hornets game at Exeter University where a late try almost got them a losing bonus point only for Exeter to snatch it away from them in the last play of the game. With three points separating 11th placed Barnstaple from 10th placed Hornets this will be a great opportunity for the Chiefs to jump not just one place but if Exeter can win at home to Old Redcliffians, two places into 9th spot, which I reckon given their performances over the last couple of months is a very real prospect.
The big news this Saturday is a Barum welcome to Tom Petty as he joins the Chiefs on loan from Plymouth. Joining him in a strengthened squad from last week is the return of Ben Hilton in the second row and Dylan Gosling back at Scrum half whilst Dan Johnson returns from injury to the bench. Here then is the team to face the Hornets
ATHLETIC BUCCANEERS AND COLTS
Last weekend saw some great performances from these three squads with wins right across the board. For Athletic it was a step nearer to that top three spot after grabbing all 5 points in a 32-8 victory over Brixham Crusaders. A great effort with just five games left to play, four of them here at Pottington Road including Withycombe who are the Tic’s last opponents on March 11th and 2nd place Torquay who visit on February 18th, giving Athletic a very real opportunity to grab a top three place and an outside chance of 2nd.
The Bucc’s successfully recaptured their top spot in the Merit table from Bideford with a thumping 5-34 win over our arch-rivals at Bideford. Three of their next five games will be at home, but the crucial fixture is away to Exeter Engineers, the only team to have beaten them so far this season and are currently eight points behind the Bucc’s with a game in hand, exciting times for the Bucc’s then.
As for the Colts it was a cracking result at Exeter last weekend where they beat Exeter Athletic Colts, a massive win for the youngsters who now have to face visitors Topsham Colts who they lost to earlier in the season 19-10 so a chance for revenge and to record another win. Here is the Colts line up to face Topsham.
We that’s about it from me this weekend, next week the Chiefs get a well deserved rest before two important and winnable games away to Old Redcliffians on the 18th and at home to Bournville on the 25th. Athletic are at home next week in two massive challenges as they take on runaway league leaders Tavistock next Saturday and on the 18th second placed Torquay, two huge games for the Tic’s with just as big rewards in they succeed.
Good luck to all our teams playing today and as ever let’s make our voices heard today for the Chiefs