Good evening, everyone and welcome to a very special edition of the Mighty Barum blog as we prepare for the biggest game of the season when Barnstaple Chiefs take on Havant 1stXV at Pottington road this Saturday in the Papa Johns Community Cup semi-final and a chance to play in the final at Twickenham on May 11th. 

The Club will be open from 1230pm. We want to “packout Pottington” and create a massive “Barum Spirit” to help lift our team and drive them onto an historical victory.

Club Members will have free entry to the game, non-members will be charged a discounted rate of £10 (normally £12), U18’s free. All of our Bars will be open and, as always, we will have a great selection of food available to purchase.  Look out from our special deal of a drink and a Chilli (plus all the trimmings) for ONLY £10 (buy tickets over the bar).

We start though by celebrating the achievements of Barum Rugby so far this season. Has this not been one of the most successful seasons ever for the club. Congratulations to both Barnstaple Athletic and Barnstaple Buccaneers as both teams won their respective league and cup double to end what has been a bumper season for all.  

A fortnight ago, Athletic kicked it off with a very well fought 33-18 victory over Devonport Services II to add the Devon 2nd XV cup to their Counties 2 Devon title. This was followed last weekend with another great game as the Buccaneers came good with a well-deserved 27-13 victory over Devonport Services III to win the Dave Butt Memorial Trophy which goes with their Merit Table 1 NE title. There is still space though for the Papa Johns Community cup to slot in there somewhere so let’s get into this Saturdays semi-final. 

Firstly, though Congratulations to Brandon Moore who celebrates his 50th appearance for the Chiefs today. Brandon’s first game was as a replacement at the end of the 2019/20 season at Maidenhead. Since then, Brandon has gone from strength to strength becoming vice captain this season, top try scorer in the league with 22 tries and the supporter’s player of the season. Well done and we look forward to your next 50 appearances for the Chiefs.   

The Chiefs reached this stage of the competition courtesy of a massive defensive effort at Oxford Harlequins last weekend which saw the Chiefs beat the home side 16-23. Now it cannot be understated how good the Chiefs defence was in this game as Oxford had not lost at home all season, same as the Chiefs, and their 81-22 win the previous week over Banbury, signalled a very good side who had won the Regional 1 Midlands title and promotion to National 2 West next season. 

For the first 30 minutes it looked just like that with the Chiefs under heavy fire and a penalty and converted try gave the home side a 10-point lead as they passed the half hour marker. The Chiefs, however, hit back immediately during a crazy final 4 minutes of the half with the first of a brace of tries for Johny Carter converted by Tyler, followed with a riposte from Oxford with a penalty to end the half 13-7 up. 

The second half the Chiefs came very much back into the game with two penalties by Tyler and with just 7 minutes to go Johny got his second try, again converted by Tyler. Despite Oxford throwing everything at the Chiefs their defence held and when the home side got within 4 points with a penalty, Tyler soon cancelled it out with one of his own, just two minutes from time to give the Chiefs a hard-fought victory and booked that home semi-final spot this weekend. 

As for their opponents this Saturday, Havant also had a mammoth game to clinch their place with a tight 46-42 win over Camberley, which goes to show the quality of the opposition the Chiefs will be facing. Hailing from Hampshire, Havant have had a very good season indeed, winning the Regional 1 South Central title and securing promotion to National 2 South. They competed in a very tough league that included teams such as London Welsh, Maidenhead, and Bournemouth 

Havant Rugby Club is set to make its first visit to Barnstaple, or at least its first in a very long time. As a club, Havant stands on similar ground to ours, boasting three successful senior sides. Their 1st XV clinched victory in their league, as did their 3rd XV. With a strong following and home attendances comparable to Pottington Road, Havant won’t be fazed by a large crowd, despite the long journey. 

While Havant has experience in the Papa Johns Cup, having reached the final last season (albeit losing to Driffield 34-17), Barnstaple Chiefs have their own ambitions. Currently riding an impressive 11-game winning streak which stretches back to January 6th when defeated by eventual champions Devonport Services. They’re hungry for redemption and eyeing the cup as their ultimate prize. 

Today the Chiefs will be looking to eventually add their wares to the trophy cabinet in  what promises to be an exciting game of rugby that will be full of high drama,  excitement and a ferocious battle between two teams that are at the peak of their game,  a fitting final home match for Pottington road to finish on for the season.

So, let’s make sure we bring the Barum roar in full voice today and become the 16th man for the Chiefs and earn that day at Twickenham.  

Here then is your Barnstaple Chiefs team to face Havant this Saturday Afternoon. 

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