Good evening, everyone and welcome to another blog post for the up-and-coming Chiefs match against Okehampton here at Pottington Road on Saturday, sponsored by our good friends the Sheep Show and Barricane Solutions which we thank for your long-standing support for Barnstaple Rugby Club.
The Chiefs is the only home fixture as both Athletic and Buccaneers are on the road with Athletic travelling to North Tawton and the Bucc’s play Friday night in Tiverton.
As far as I know we are full for the Christmas lunch prior to the Game with Chew Valley and of course we also have the Boxing Day rivalry with Bideford which sees the Chiefs and Colts at King George’s field whilst the Tics are here at Pottington Road. The New Year also has some surprises including Ladies Day on 2nd March and the Sportsmen Dinner on the 14th March, so look out for the posters for those events. But we start with a tribute to former Barnstaple Rugby Chairman Ian Stanton who as many of you know passed away last week.
Ian Stanton 1954—2023
A truly passionate Barnstaple Rugby man, Ian Stanton, who passed away in the early hours of Thursday morning 9th November 2023 following a lengthy fight with cancer, had an illustrious career in rugby from a very young age and whose involvement with Barnstaple Rugby Club goes back well over 50 years starting as a brilliant player for the Chiefs in the 1970’s.
Ian grew up in Birmingham (Sutton Coldfield), where he excelled at sport and had trials for West Bromwich Albion and threw the javelin for the county, but it was rugby that he truly excelled at and was in the England Colts squad in 1973/74 season. During this time Ian played his rugby at Mosely.
Moving to North Devon Ian was soon involved with Barnstaple Rugby joining Barnstaple in the 1974/5 season and almost immediately played 1st XV with the likes of Jack Jewell, John Gammon, Stewart Chugg, Trevor Shaddick, Max Faulkner, Kenny Thompson, Nigel Roberts, Dave Folland, Peter Featherstone, Chris Daryton, Bill Scourfield and many more. Playing over 200 times for Barum as a back row no.8, Ian was in the squad for the Devon cup final in his first season in 1975 against St. Lukes and was still playing regularly during BRFC’s centenary year and beyond.
Ian played representative rugby for Devon Under 21s and the full Devon Side whilst at Barnstaple during the 1975/6 season alongside Barum players John Gammon, Dave Folland, Jacky Jewell, Max Faulkener, Stewart Chugg, and Trevor Shaddick.
Ian moved back to the Midlands in 1982 and played for Worcester, although he did have a short period back in North Devon in 1986. During his time at Worcester, he played 1st XV from 1982 to 1994 and during that time Ian also played for the County Team and the combined North Midlands team. Upon hanging up his boots Ian continued his passion as part of the Committee at Worcester that transformed the club into a Premiership club for many years before their demise last season.
Ian returned to North Devon in 2005 and it was in 2007 that Trevor Shaddick encouraged him to join the committee. Ian applied is usually enthusiasm for both rugby and Barum, dedicating so much of his time and energies to the cause, focusing on building local sponsorship to a level which we enjoy today. Ian became Chairman of the club in 2016, where he held that position until 2021 when his health just didn’t allow him to continue.
Barnstaple Rugby Football Club wish to pass on our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Ian’s wife Jackie, his family and friends on this sad day. We know that Ian will be missed by many at Barnstaple Rugby, a Barum man to the core.
May you rest easy Ian and find peace in your eternal sleep
There will be a minute to pause, reflect and remember Ian before kick off.
Ian’s funeral is on Tuesday 5th December at 1:40pm at North Devon Crematorium, followed by a wake at Barnstaple Rugby Football club.
There is a tribute page dedicated to Ian. If you wish to make a donation to Ian’s much loved page in support of North Devon Hospice then please visit
So, the Chiefs had a big task of a must win bonus point game up at Matson last weekend and produced the goods especially in the second half where from a closely contested first half they stole the show with a 25-34 win. It was important for the Chiefs to reestablish their pursuit of the title by getting back on track with their games on the road and so it proved as Brandon Moore scored within the first 10 minutes for the Chiefs to take the lead following a penalty earlier for Matson. In a half the saw the lead swap several times another try by Brandon Moore, a try by Jake Murphy and one from Nat Bayet on his first start of the season gave the Chiefs a slender lead going into the break 20-26 with jake Murphy’s three conversions being the difference between the two teams.
And so it looked to continue as Matson scored first in the second half to reduce the lead to just 1 point. Barnstaple though had regrouped at half time and that was it as far as scoring any further points for Matson with the Chiefs defence showing up for the rest of the half shutting the home side out. Ben Hilton on his first game of the season extended the Chiefs lead which I’m assured he threw the best of dummies on his way to scoring and with jake Murphy slotting the penalty towards the end the visitors headed home with all 5 points secured in what must have been a tighly fought game 25-34.
Today the Chiefs take on Okehampton who themselves are having a mixed season so with four wins to their name, so on their day they can be dangerous opponents which the Chiefs will need to be cautious of. This will be only the second time they have played against Barnstaple in over 20 years, the last time when they were promoted to this league back in 2019/20, the Chiefs championship winning season, beaten Okehampton 24-0. In fact, that was quite a successful season for Okehampton finishing 4th overall. This season they find themselves in 8th place although the 36-10 home win against Lydney and that impressive scalp of Launceston who they beat in Cornwall 15-20, shows they have the firepower when it all clicks together. For the Chiefs now sitting in second place just 2 points behind chew valley who visit us here on 16th December, they again need all five points from this one and need to push hard to secure the win.
Before we get to the team news we do have some injury updates that many of your have been asking about courtesy of Head coach Winston James and from the changes over the last couple of games there has been a few. Firstly I know many of you were concerned with Kyran McManus’s horrible injury against Lydney where he was stretchered off, well Kyran suffered a broken leg and broken ankle, with what it looks likely to be ligament damage as well. He will be out of action for a long period and the club will support him throughout this time. That is the only serious injury currently with both Ross Swales and Ryan Smale due to return to playing in December after the complusory three weeks off they have to take following concussion. Charlie Banfield has some ankle damage but hopes to be back as well in December whilst Dan Johnson’s problems with a quad tear are almost over with just a week or so to go.
Ashlee crouch is also struggling with a wrist / hand problem and the Chiefs are waiting on a return date with in this month, whilst Johnathan Kelly and Mikey knott are both coming back from long term injury’s soon which is great.
With that said there are several changes for today with the return of Matt Gohl and Adam Lloyd as well as George Snell and Callum Davies. Here then is your team to face Okehampton
barnstaple ATHLETIC, Buccaneers and Colts
A much-improved performance by Barnstaple Athletic against a good Honiton side saw them secure another bonus point win 40-18, with, for me at least, signalled two huge improvements for the Tic’s but more on that later.
The first half was a closely fought affair with Barnstaple’s defence kept Honiton to just 3 points and tries from Morgan Gabe who intercepted the ball and ran it in from his own 22, and Joe Messenger with a more conventional series of pick and goes gave them a 12-3 lead at the break. Athletic then played the best second half I have seen so far this season with tries from Scott Incledon, Alex Penny, Tyler Godon-Oke and a second from Joe Messenger secured a well deserved 40-18 win which retains their 3rd place in the league, seven points behind leaders Devonport but also with a game in hand.
So those improvements I was talking about, well firstly penalties, finally they did not give away periods of pressure with needless penalties and kept the hammer donwn on their opponents. The second half in particular saw the Tics push Honitons defence hard as witnessed by the 4 tries scored. Talking of second halves, this was a big success for the team following several lacklustre second half performances, this time the team came out fireing on all cylinders and did not look like a team that left their playing boots in the dressing room and it was delightful to see as many of the 150 plus supporters that watched testifyied. Again the defence was more than up to the task when Honiton did find some attacking time reducing their points to just 18 overall.
So all in all a really solid performance that entertained their audience and you cannot ask for more than that from a team. It was also really nice to see so much support for the Tic’s and I know for a fact they were very appreciative.
Today they travel to North Tawton with a chance of maintaining the pressure as they remain in 3rd place and with Torquay dropping to 2nd following their loss to Withycombe, it is getting very close at the top with just 7 points separating them from 1st place with a game in hand over both Torquay and Devonport
Next weekend they travel to Exeter Saracens to play that extra game and then Athletic are back at Pottington Road on the 2nd of December against Old Plymothian & Mannamedian and and the 9th to face Ivybridge respectfully
The Buccs and Colts
Barnstaple Buccaneers continue to be frustrated with the lack of games. A fortnight ago they too were vicxtims of the weather as the game against Exeter Saracens was called off and then last weekend the match against Honiton II was also postponed. They do have a night time kick off tonight against Tiverton so hopefully that goes ahead and the Buccs can get back into action.
Still leading the Devon Merit table NE1 by just 4 points, next weekends home match against 2nd place Exeter Engineers will be a massive game for the Bucc’s and it takes place here at Pottington Road at 2pm
The Colts came crashing down from a three win winning streak to loose to a very good Crediton Colts 34-18. It has been a very quick learning curve for what is a young Colts side who have shown they have what it takes to succeed. They are next in action away to Ivybridge on November 25th, which will be a huge test and will show them just how far they have come.
Here then is the Athletic and Bucc’s teams for this weekend
Final week to grab yourself or a loved one, one of these exclusinve Barnstaple Rugby Christmas T-Shirts for the festive season, grab yours but be quick as orders have to be in by November 24th details below and to order go to Barnstaple RFC Xmas Tee
We also have a limited number of Barnstaple Rugby Blazer badges for sale behind the bar.
Well that’s it from me unfortunately. Next weekend we have the delight to watch the Buccaneers take on 2nd place Exeter Engineers which promises to be an absolute belter of a match so make sure you do not miss this top of the table clash here at Pottington Road kick off is 2pm.
Details about the Boxing Day derby against Bideford, is in the poster below. Enjoy your rugby today wherever you are watching it and good luck to all our teams and let’s make it a triumphant Saturday for Barnstaple