Good evening, everyone and welcome back to another Mighty Barum blog as we inch ever closer to the halfway point and Christmas itself. This weekend we have Barnstaple Athletic at home ready to reignite their campaign after a fortnights rest where they take on Honiton at 2pm right here at Pottington Road. Also playing at home are the Buccaneers who take on Honiton 2nd XV on the second pitch. The Chiefs are away to Matson for a first game played between these two in many many years, whilst the Colts play their final match of 2023 at Crediton. Don’t forget if you’re a fight fan then we have Boxing on at the club from 7pm Saturday night as the Barnstaple Amateur Boxing Club put on their Remembrance Day Boxing show.
However, we begin this blog by saying farewell to 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
A passionate Barnstaple rugby supporter, Ian’s involvement with Barnstaple Rugby Club goes back well over 50 years starting as a brilliant player for the Chiefs where he played over 200 times.
His commitment to the Club carried on after Ian retired from playing when he was a committee member focusing on building local sponsorship to a level which we enjoy today. Following this Ian’s commitment to BRFC developed further with him being Club Chairman until recently.
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.
There will be a minute’s silence to remember Ian next weekend before the Chiefs v Okehampton match.
Just a brief blog post this week as we only have the one game to comment on from last weekend and we begin with congratulations to one of our 1st year colts, Harry Woodman who has been selected for the Devon Under 18s squad. Very well deserved after some strong performances for our Colts.
In front of the biggest crowd of the season the Chiefs bounced back well following defeat at Launceston, by grabbing a bonus point win against visitor Lydney last weekend. Although Barnstaple started quickly it was the visitors who took advantage of some poor discipline by the Chiefs to score first with just 5 minutes gone. The Chiefs then composed themselves further and pressed their attack earning themselves several penalties which finally paid dividends as from one such penalty the following lineout gave the Chiefs a platform to launch several attacks resulting in Dominic Robson going in low to touch down taking the lead 7-5 with Jake Murphy’s conversion. Then came the moment of the game when deep in their own half Barnstaple’s centres combined initially to open up space through the ranks of the Lydney defence then whilst being tackled Sam Roberts handed to ball off to Cameron Grizzle-Johnson, now at scrum half following Ross Swales HIA, who blitzed his way through the Lydney players who were left motionless as he ran in the try from the half way line. That try was followed by more Chiefs pressure which eventually resulted in a driving maul from another penalty lineout which saw Brandon Moore go over to give the Chiefs, with two more conversions from Jake Murphy, a comfortable 21-5 lead.
So all good up to this point and the second half also started well even though Lydney scored first to reduce Barnstaple’s lead to 21-10. The Chiefs kept playing their rugby and putting pressure on Lydney who were conceding too many penalties allowing the Chiefs easy progress and again a maul following from another lineout gave Brandon his second and the Chiefs their bonus point. By now Barnstaple seemed to be well in charge of proceeding but then the game, for me at least, took a strange turn. With just under 30 minutes left and the crowd looking for more tries the game became scrappy with little cohesion as both teams wasted opportunities to press their opponents through unforced errors and penalties. The injury which saw Kyran McManus stretchered off also contributed to the disjointed way the Chiefs approached the later stages of the half and so it is no wonder the the only score was a converted penalty for Jake Murphy in the 75th minute as the game stalled to a finish with the Chiefs winning 29-10.
So, a good win against a team just 2 points behind the Chiefs before the game and that all-important bonus point as well. Why the last 30 minutes seemingly became a scrappy affair is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for sure unforced errors and penalties did neither team any good and in a game where both defences played well you must keep pressing the opposition. All in all though the Chiefs did dominate large parts of the game against a well organised defence and came up ith the points.
Today the Chiefs travel to Matson, which I am informed saw some epic battles in years gone by, however this is a first time these two clubs have meet in a very long time and could be quite an occasion. Matson have not had the best start to their season winning just two games, at home to Okehampton 29-21 and away to Ivybridge 18-24. They will be tricky opposition and that win against Okehampton just three weeks ago plus the losing point bonus at St.Austell does mean the Chiefs will have to battle to win this game.
There are several changes for the Chiefs with Ben Hilton starting in the second row for his first start of the season. With both George Snell and Ashlee Crouch unavailable Nat Bayet starts for the first time at hooker and Martinas Dromantis returns after injury on the bench. Ben Beattie has been recalled to scrum half, Johny Carter is at centre with Dan Johnson also unavailable whilst both Louis Beer and Connor Swan are also welcomed returnees and are on the bench today. Here then is your team for Saturday.
barnstaple ATHLETIC, Buccs and Colts
Not a great deal to talk about today with the rest of the teams as none of them played last weekend. Athletic and Buccaneers are at home to face their Honiton Counterparts with Athletic looking to try and put pressure on both Torquay and Devonport. Buccaneers will want to continue their impressive form as they push hard for another Devon merit table title with a 6th successive win.
As for the Colts they are to play their final game of 2023 and are hoping to do the business at Crediton to chalk up a fourth successive win which will be a crowning achievement and will show just how far they have progressed since the start of this campaign.
Here then are the teams for Saturday
Just a bit of shopping news this weekend with two fabulous offers the first is 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.
Finally NORTH DEVON HOSPICE has this message for everyone following the bucket collection at last weekends Chiefs game.
We just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to the patrons of Barnstaple Rugby Club for helping us to raise £457.17 at the bucket collection on Saturday!
Collections like this really do help to raise the essential funds that support local patients and their families in our care at a time when they need it the most.
I look forward to coming to the club again soon!
So well done everyone and that’s it from me unfortunately. Big weekend next week as the Chiefs face Okehampton here at Pottington Road kick off is 2pm. There are several events coming in 2024 including ladies day and the Sportsman dinner so keep your eyes peeled for those adverts and of course there is the all-important Boxing Day derby against Bideford, and I’ll have details for you next weekend. Enjoy your rugby today wherever you are watching it and good luck to all our teams and let’s make it another clean sweep this Saturday