Good evening folks and welcome back to the blog and we begin by wishing our club chair Paul Shaddick a very happy birthday although so as not to make him blush I will not reveal how old, enjoy your weekend Paul and many happy returns.

Boy, what a weekend that was last Saturday with Italy and England upsetting the odds with fantastic wins to open up the 6 nations and it doesn’t stop there as this Saturday is the final round of the six nations with everything to play for and Barnstaple Rugby club will be showing the lot beginning with the battle for the wooden spoon with Wales v Italy at 2:15 then onto Ireland v Scotland at 4:45 , finally finishing with France against England at 8pm.

At Pottington road we also three great games in store for you as Barnstaple Athletic welcomes North Tawton to Pottington road and this match is sponsored by Slee Blackwell Solicitors who have been generous supporters of Barnstaple Rugby for a number of years now and we at the club thank you for your continuing support. With just three games left to play and a five-point lead over Torquay this will be a vital game for the Tic’s to win, kick off is 2pm.

We also have the Colts and Buccaneers at home, with the Colts playing Ivybridge at 1pm and the Bucc’s take on Tiverton Athletic at 2:45pm. The Chiefs also resume their campaign with a road trip to Okehampton this Saturday looking for all five points to keep the pressure on Devonport.

The on Sunday we  would have had the great pleasure of hosting Exeter Chiefs academy v Bath Academy. The whole event including several DPP matches have unfortunately been cancelled

We  have some pre match lunches on offer. Next weekend when the Chiefs take on St. Austell, there are very few places left so if you want a two-course meal for just £30 then you need to hurry and book your seat. There is also a special on for the Papa Johns Community cup match against Launceston on 13th April here at Barnstaple Rugby Club with the pre-match lunch of a two-course meal. Please email bookings.barnstaplerugby@gmail.com to book your place for both events details below

We also have news of the first event for next season and it is a barnstorming event as Barnstaple rugby will be hosting its very own Oktoberfest which will include live music from Die Heidelberger Boys. Details of this event are also below.

Barnstaple Boys Secondary Modern School Reunion: A Tradition of Memories and Connections – June 1st 2024

Former students of the Barnstaple Boys Secondary Modern School are eagerly preparing for their much-anticipated annual reunion. What began as a casual gathering among friends nearly 26 years ago and has evolved into a celebrated tradition, drawing in alumni from far and wide.

The inception of these reunions dates back to 1998, when local painter and decorator Gerald Thorne, along with a handful of schoolmates, convened at the Wrey Arms in Barnstaple. Fuelled by nostalgia and a shared sense of camaraderie, they embarked on the ambitious task of organizing a reunion to reconnect with old friends and relive their school days.

From its modest beginnings, the reunion has grown exponentially, now attracting a large number of former students each year. Last year, after years of dedicated service, Gerald handed over the reins to Paul Harris, who now leads the organizing committee alongside Derek Parnell and Tony Freeman. Together, they are working to ensure that this year’s event, scheduled for at Barnstaple Rugby Club, is nothing short of memorable.

Despite the inevitable passage of time, the spirit of friendship and the bonds formed at Barnstaple Boys Secondary Modern School remain as strong as ever. For those who proudly wore the school’s green and black tie, the upcoming reunion promises to be a nostalgic journey back to the halcyon days of youth, while also being a chance to reconnect, reminisce, and celebrate the enduring legacy of their time there..

For those who wish to attend, you can contact Tony Freeman at freeman.pa@icloud.com or call 01271 850255. The event kicks off at 7:00 PM at the Barnstaple Rugby Club, entry is £5 with all proceeds from the reunion going to support Barnstaple Rugby Club

Spread the word to fellow alumni and let’s hope to see some familiar faces again!

U16’s Fisherman’s Cup update

Barnstaple U16’s are still going strong in the Fisherman’s cup having won 2 drawn 1 and lost 1. They currently find themselves in third place behind Devonport and Newton Abbot. So with all to play for as they continue their campaign and we will keep you all up to date as and when we here anything more.

Their next game is against Newton abbot U16’s on 24th March and if they win that one it will put them right into the mix for that finals place as the top two teams in their league go through.

BARNSTAPLE CHIEFS

So, the Chiefs hit the road with just three games left to play and an outside chance of promotion. Devonport who are currently the favourites for promotion, lead Barnstaple by seven points and have to finish their season with three games on the road which include both Lydney next weekend and this Saturday Launceston, any slip up will leave the door ajar for the Chiefs to exert their ambitions.

For the Chiefs they travel to Okehampton looking to secure all five points and if they can produce the type of display they showed us a fortnight ago when the Chiefs dispatched Matson 55-0, then I can’t see them not returning to North Devon with just that.

That was someday a fortnight ago, I haven’t felt that sort of buzz at the ground for some time and it certainly transferred itself to the players who gave us a treat of a rugby spectacular with nine tries scored, a display which the supporters thoroughly enjoyed. Now they need to replicate that this Saturday against a team that has struggled this season with just three wins at home. Okehampton also have the problem of having to face not just Barnstaple but also both Brixham and Chew Valley afterwards and are in real danger of WSM catching them up as they have the easier run in.

The Chiefs cannot be complacent in this fixture as that could be their undoing and if they really want to pile on the pressure on Devonport a convincing win which grabs all five points is a must. to reinforce that point there are two returning players whose impact will be significant as Jake Murphy and Jordan Petherbridge are back in the starting 15, here then is the Chiefs to face Okehampton.

BARNSTAPLE ATHLETIC

Just as the Chiefs cannot be complacent, neither can Athletic who now lead the league by just five points as Torquay won their game in hand with a bonus point. Today Athletic face one of the few teams to have beaten them this season, North Tawton. When these two last meet on 18th November, it was the home side North Tawton who edge a very close game winning 26-24. However, since that loss Athletic have not lost a game and are currently on a 10 game winning streak the last of which was a good win on the road against 5th placed Honiton, beating them 13-19. A Scott Incledon try in the 9th minute was complimented by a Ben Beattie brace in the second half, both of which were converted by Harvey Rostock, to secure the win.

Today they will need a performance similar to the last home game when they beat 4th placed Exeter Saracens 55-10, anything near that performance will I believe guarantee them the 5 points they need. If so then it will be just 6 points from their last two games, away to Old Plymothian & Mannamedian next weekend and then the final home game of the season on April 6th against Plymouth Argaum, the team they lost to in the first match of the season way back in September.

The stakes could not be higher and neither are the rewards for Barnstaple Athletic, now with a massive chance for promotion, the first 2nd XV to do so, and maybe, just maybe next season a local derby in the league against Bideford Chiefs. Mouth watering ain’t it. For now though it is full mindset on the job in hand and that is grabbing all five points against North Tawton.

Devon 2nd XV Cup 2023-24

However the rugby doesn’t stop there as Barnstaple Athletic are the finalists of the Devon 2nd XV Cup which will be played on 20th April. The venue hasn’t been decided yet but there is the possiblity that it will be here at Barnstaple, another finals and who said that there was no rugby here in April.

Here then is Barnstaple Athletic to face North Tawton.

The Buccaneers and Colts

The Buccaneers. 

What a frustrating 2024 it has been for the Buccaneers who had only played once since the win over South Molton on 6th January meant they were coming into last weeks match against a young and energetic Exeter Engineers with a lack of game time and were beaten 34-15 by their only challengers for the Devon Merit title. To be fair the same was also the case for the Exeter boys who also hadn’t played much in 2024 and with both teams only having lost to each other it is still the Bucc’s ;leading the table with a ten point lead but the Engineers have those two games in hand and a superior points difference.

Therefore the Bucc’s need all five points if they wish to keep the pressure on their challengers as they welcome Tiverton Athletic to Pottington road for a 2:45 start.

DAVE BUTT CUP 

The good news for the Bucc’s is not matter how things stand they are competing for the Dave Butt cup for another season. As things stand at the moment the semi-finalists will be Barnstaple 3rds, Exeter Engineers who will be taking on either Devonport Services 3rds and University of Plymouth 3rds. The winner of the Bucc’s league will take on the runner up of the Plymouth Combination Merit Table at home and vica versa for the other semi-final. Therefore it is vital that the Bucc’s can ith the Devon Merit Table North East for the home tie especially as the final is at Barnstaple Rugby Club.

The Semi’s will be played on April 20th with the Final at Pottington Road on the 27th. Exciting times.

Colts. 

The Colts had a great win last Saturday , beating Topsham Colts 15-12 in a close game. Today they have a tough challenge of squaring up to Ivybridge Colts and a chance to finish of the season in style.

Here then is the Bucc’s and Colts teams for this Saturday.

That’s another weekend done and dusted and some really exciting finishes to look forward to over the coming few weekends. Next weekend is the Chiefs final home game of the league against St. Austell and it would be great to have another full house to finish in style. Don’t forget there is still one more home game to come for the Chiefs in the Papa Johns Community Cup on 13th April against Launceston as well, kick off time is still to be announced but a sits April it will be either 2.30 or 3pm I will let you know in good time.

Athletic travel to Old Plymothian & Mannamedian before returning to Pottington Road on 6th April for their final game against Plymouth Argaum kick off is 2.30pm for that one and if they win all three it’s the title and promotion. The Bucc’s travel to Crediton for their final game of the season hoping that Exeter Engineers lose a point or two in their challenge.

Good luck to all our teams this weekend and lets make it a grand slam just to see out the cold winter months as we await spring time here in North Devon.

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