Good evening everybody and welcome to another Mighty Barum Blog and this week we have the Chiefs at home hoping to erase the loss to Devonport last weekend as they host Exmouth at Pottington Road, sponsored by our long supporters supporters Webbers Estate Agents and Barry Hews Automotive service’s and we thank you for all your support. Whilst the Chiefs are at home both Athletic and Colts are on the road with Athletic visiting Devonport Services II and the Colts are away at Topsham.
We begin however with a tribute to Ian Jewell from his son Ryan Jewell who passed away on December 29th 2023.
Ian Jewell’s association at Barnstaple Rugby Club spans decades, marked by his career as a back row forward in the 70s and 80s. Ian progressed through youth teams followed by the Colts. Even turning up for the 3rd team as a 14-year-old and scoring several tries!
At Colts level Ian captained the team, he represented Devon Colts in 1975 on several occasions, games against Gloucestershire and Somerset have recently been recalled. He also played in a couple albeit losing Devon cup finals for Barnstaple Colts.
During and after Colts Ian played first team rugby creating a formidable back row alongside Jackie Jewell and Ian Stanton. Ian recalled many moments of great matches during the Centenary year. Ian’s journey extended to international recognition, as he earned a spot in England Colts against Wales Youth in 1976. In 1977 Ian represented Devon under 21’s.
Known for his fitness, Ian also held roles such as fitness coach and Colts coach, and took the team on many a ‘jog’ down Braunton Burrows! Only last September Ian helped organise the 50-year anniversary of Barnstaple Colts, a bringing together of past players for a really enjoyable afternoon.
It’s worth noting that Ian wasn’t confined to rugby; he excelled in triathlons, cross country, road running, and duathlons, showcasing his versatility and determination beyond the rugby pitch. In recent years Ian could be found back- middle of the main stand watching the first team play.
Barnstaple Rugby Football Club wish to pass on our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to Ian’s family and friends at this sad time and may Ian rest in peace
There will be a minutes silence before kick off in memory of Ian Jewell
Well done to Barnstaple’s U16 who have progressed to the Fisherman’s cup 2nd round which will be played this Sunday at home against Topsham.
Good luck on Sunday from everyone at Barnstaple Rugby Club and have a great game
50th Apperance for Tyler and Ryan
Congratulations are in order to Tyler Gordon-Oke and Ryan Smale who both celebrate their 50th appearance for the Chiefs. Both graduated to the Chiefs from the Colts aged just 18 during the 2021-22 season, beginning their senior careers in National Two rugby and have excelled ever since.
Ryan got his first appearance off the bench during the first game of that season at Clifton, whilst Tyler’s first appearance was on 22nd January 2022 coming off the bench against the very talented Guernsey. Talk about a baptism of fire, but both tend to take it all in their stride .Well done to both and we look forward the another 50 games from each of you to entertain and thrill us all
Disappointment for the Chiefs then, as they came up short at Devonport losing to the league leaders 23-12. It didn’t help with Tyler going off injured after just 4 minutes with a dead leg, thankfully recovered from, but even so it was Devonport who took the game by the scruff of the neck to lead 10-0 midway through the first half. A Brandon Moore try converted by Jake murphy pulled it back to 10-7 and a further penalty for Devonport ended a tightly fought first half 13-7 to the home side.
Second half Barnstaple were put on the back foot with two yellows and Devonport took full advantage to extend their lead to 23-7. With minutes ticking away Will Topps got the Chiefs 2nd try but with only 8 minutes left the Devonport defence proved to be too strong for Barnstaple on this occasion giving the home side a valuable win and advantage at the top of the table with a deserved 23-12 win.
Barnstaple then drop to third following their 4th defeat of the season. Advantage at this stage is definitely with Devonport as they recorded their 7th consecutive win and have a 2 point lead over 2nd place Chew valley and a 4 point lead over Barnstaple. Both also have a game in hand over the Chiefs, however Devonport still have travel to Brixham this weekend and are at home to Chew Valley in two weeks’ time and both still have to face Launceston, so it is still all to play for but the Chiefs cannot afford to lose another game.
Which brings us nicely todays game against our old friends Exmouth. There have been plenty of memorable battles between these two and I expect this one to be another big game for both clubs. Exmouth have had a fairly successful season so far with eight wins and just 4 loses. They also have two games in hand over Barnstaple and a win for them here today could see the visitors challenge for third place.
Earlier in the season the Chiefs had a comfortable win 3-26 at the Imperial Recreation Ground and would seem to have the edge going into this one on home soil. Yet since then Exmouth have notched up three wins on the road and the most notable was at Brixham were they succeeded where none of the top teams have done so far, beating the home side 22-45, a pretty big scoreline if you ask me. So, the Chiefs cannot take anything for granted and especially not recent results.
This looks to be a really exciting game in prospect for us all and following on from the entertaining Bucc’s game which I will get on to later, should provide some fantastic rugby for the New year. There are several significant changes to last weekend’s side with Ross Swales back at scrum half and Ryan Smale returning to the back row. Martinas Dromantas gets his first start in quite some time. Here then is your Chiefs squad to face Exmouth
BARNSTAPLE ATHLETIC, BUCCANEERS AND COLTS
The Buccaneers hosted a very good South Molton side last Saturday which provided an exciting game of rugby that kept the 100+ supporters who were at the ground thoroughly entertained. It was the visitors who struck first with a fantastic run by their back three to go ahead with the first of two first half tries, 0-7 early on. The Bucc’s hit back and with some impressive gains made by their rampaging front row piled on the pressure with three first half tries opened initially by an impressive run to the line by Dave Slee. At the end of the half the Bucc’s led narrowly 19-17.
The second half was all Bucc’s as they dominated territory and possession scoring a further three tries to just a penalty from South Molton II. The try scorers for Barnstaple were Josh May x2, Colin Thorne, Frasier Hartnoll, Fin Body and Dave Slee with Llewyn Jago and Pete Gammon converting 2 apiece.
Another 5 points in the bag but South Molton made Barnstaple work hard for this victory especially in the first half, but even in the second half, despite the Bucc’s seemingly running away with it, the Visitors made them work for their points and some very good rugby by both sides was on display.
The Bucc’s have a few weeks deserved rest before their next match on 27th January against Exmouth Nomads at home.
Disappointment for Athletic as they are awarded all 5 points from the Withycombe cancelled game and whilst they do get all the points it still doesn’t make up for having to earn them on the field of play and its now been two months since the Tic’s have played on home soil. Today they have a massive challenge as they travel to league leaders Devonport Services II as top meets second with just four points separating the two sides. A win today will be invaluable for Athletic and maybe rested legs will help.
Earlier in the season at Pottington Road Athletic took the honours in a very closely fought game winning 29-24 and so the task facing them in big, but so are the rewards and Athletic have a huge chance here to big a big stride for the title especially with the game in hand over their opponents. Then it is two home games before another massive clash as they travel to Torquay on the 3rd of February.
This will be a big game today, but Athletic have some big players who enjoy these challenges.
The Colts begin their campaign in 2024 with a visit to Topsham and will be looking to get back to winning ways following three consecutive defeats before Christmas. Earlier in the season Barnstaple were victorious on home soil over Topsham winning 28-21. They will have to work exceptionally hard this time round but have a great chance to start 2024 on the front foot
Here then are the Athletic and Colts teams for this weekend
Well that’s it for another weekend, next Saturday the Chiefs have a rest next week before travelling to Ivybridge on the 27th. They are next at Pottington Road on February 3rd to face Launceston. Athletic and Colts are at home with the Tics welcoming Old Plymothians and Mannamedians to Pottington Road and the Colts take on Crediton Colts, both kick off at 2pm.
Good luck to all our teams playing this weekend and I will catch up with you all next weekend