Welcome back people and a big welcome back to Barnstaple Athletic as they play their first of two consecutive games at home where they meet Old Plymothian & Mannamedian for the first time and kick off is 2pm. The only other game this weekend is the Chiefs who having had a nice relaxing weekend off, travel to St. Austell for their match with the Cornishman.
Before we get started on the team news for both Barnstaple teams just a quick look back at last week’s game where the Buccaneers meet 2nd placed Exeter Engineers and what a great display of rugby the Bucc’s produced on their first game on the main pitch this season and boy did they rise to the occasion producing, for the supporters that did attend, what the players believe, or so I’m told, was their best ever performance, winning 38-7.
The engineer’s team did look young, compared to our Buccs at least, and that showed with the speed they got around the pitch, but it was the Bucc’s power game that won the first half as they dominated at the scrum and crushed the mauls scoring three tries in the process. The second half the Bucc’s threw the ball about a bit more and created some lovely phases of running rugby, resulting in three further tries. Try scorers were Pete Gammon (2) Llewyn Jago, Neil Giddy, Dave Slee and Rob Parsons with four conversions by Neil Giddy.
It was a really enjoyable day and puts the Bucc’s in a commanding position at the top of the merit table. If they keep playing like that I cannot see any other result than another merit table crown and a second chance for the Dave Butt cup.
The Colts too were in action at Ivybridge who we all know are one of the toughest Colts teams in the county and earlier in the season completely outplayed our Colts beating them 0-57, so the learning curve was always going to be steep for this very young Colts side. Yet, as the season continued they progressed well, with some good wins and last weekend travelled to Ivybridge losing 38-12 but a huge improvement on the last time they meet and another big step for these Colts.
They rest up this weekend before welcoming Sidmouth Colts to Pottington Road next weekend for another massive test.
The Chiefs travel to St. Austell, rested after a very successful series of matches which saw them win their last three games since that loss at Launceston. Now that win for the Cornishman hasn’t helped them much despite the win over Chew Valley as they have now crashed to two defeats both on the road to Devonport Services and Brixham. This does show the extent of the task in the coming weeks and months for Barnstaple as they too have to visit both Devonport and Brixham, in fact they visit Brixham next weekend and they do seem on fire currently having beaten both Matson 77-7 and Launceston 46-31, so big games coming up. The Chiefs sit in 2nd place at moment by virtue of a better points difference over Devonport and just two points behind Chew Valley. It looks likely that it will be these three teams fighting it out in the second half of the season, with Launceston and Brixham in close proximity and every point is going to count going into February and March.
This weekend the Chiefs travel to St. Austell, whose record is a mixed bag of results with 4 wins and five loses and that draw at Brixham at the start of the season. They are however on a three-match winning streak albeit against teams below them, but winning streaks always give teams confidence and Barnstaple needs to be wary of that going into this game.
There are a couple a big returnees to the Chiefs squad as Ashlee Crouch and George Snell start, Dan Johnson is also back from injury but the big news is that Jonathon Kelly is back after a long term injury and is on the bench for this one. Finally Morgan Gabe gets another chance to shine in a Chefs shirt following his hat-trick at Exeter Saracens last weekend for the Tic’s. Here then is your Chiefs team.
Athletic had a lot to prove not only to other teams in the league or their coaches but more importantly to themselves following that loss at North Tawton the previous weekend. This was going to be an altogether tougher match as the Saracens had 6 wins to their name and were in 5th place just 4 points behind the Tic’s.
Athletic came out for this one with nothing else on their minds but to score, score, score and boy did they do that, with the 4 try bonus point earned within 20 minutes starting with Morgan Gabe in the 1st minute and another in the 14th with Tyler Gordon-Oke and Joe Messenger grabbing the other two. Morgan Gabe then claimed his hattrick a few minutes later and with Gavin Mitchell scoring before the break Athletic had 6 tries and with Tyler converting 4 of them the Tics led at half time 38-0.
The second half was a damp squid as only a try each was scored with Oli James going over for Athletic and as the final whistle blew, a 7-43 win definitely proved the point they needed to prove.
However, they do have to back that up today as they prepare to take on Old Plymothian & Mannamedian, try saying that after a few sherbets, here at Pottington Road, kick off is 2pm. The visitors are currently in 8th place with 4 wins to their name and this should be a good chance for the Tic’s to keep the pressure on the two teams ahead of them in the league where they trail the leaders Torquay by just three points.
Athletic also have some important players returning with Ross Swales, Finlay McManus both fit and Harvey Rostock now available this is looking a very good squad with the added presence of Louis Beer here is the Athletic team for this weekend
We have a number of goodies for you in this festive season, just the present for the passionate Barum supporter in your life get your exclusive BRFC Merchandise
Need that final present for the Barum supporter in your life well we have not one but two priceless offers for a little tree present to set their hearts racing. We are now selling the brand new silk Barnstaple Rugby tie. We also have a limited number of Barnstaple Rugby Blazer badges for sale behind the bar.
We also have a number of other goodies waiting to be snapped up
BRFC ODD BALLS Towels – £18.00
BRFC ODD BALLS Adult Bobble hats – £15.00
BRFC ODD BALLS Child Bobble hats – £12.00
Adult Bundle – £30.00
Child Bundle – £25.00
available from the club on Tuesday or Thursday Evenings 5.30pm till 8.30pm (from Verity) or behind the bar on Saturdays and Sundays (when the club is open)
That’s it folks, for another weekend at least. Next weekend Athletic take to the field in a massive game against Ivybridge, we need everyone down there for that one. The Colts too are playing at home against Sidmouth Colts whilst the Chiefs travel to Brixham in what will be a very tough challenge for them.
We will also have news of a couple of events for the new year including details of Ladies day and the Sportsman’s Dinner so stay tuned for those. In the meantime have a great weekend wherever you are watching your rugby and I will catch up next weekend.