Well thats the pre season finished and with 3 wins its looking good for the start of the 2017/18 National 2 South season opener against Wimbledon RFC.
Whilst winning all 3 games they were a touch too close for comfort at times. Against The Hornets a comfortable 1st half lead ended with a 24 – 35 win which given the number changes in the second half is still a fairly good result. Brixham at home was another matter with The Chiefs dominating the first 20 minutes of each half and showing their class only to let a fighting Brixham push back at the end of each half resulting in a very marginal 20-19 win. This game was more about missed tackles letting them grab 2 quick unexpected tries late in the game and given the number a changes isn’t really a surprise. Lastly it was down to Newton Abbot where losing heavily at half time The Chiefs definetly showed the sort of character they will need for the coming season winning narrowly 32-34.
National 2 South Opener
And so to the new season and first up is an away fixture to Wimbledon RFC who have a great history being one of the original 21 rugby clubs including Blackheath, Richmond, Harlequins and King’s College Hospital to form the Rugby Football Society. Known as Wimbledon Hornets their then manager Leonard James Maton was one of Three lawyers who drew up the first laws of the game, the others being Algernon Rutter and Edward Carleton Holmes who were all Rugby School Alumni.
More recently having gained promotion in 2015 as London 1 South champions they have spent only 2 seasons in National League 3 London & SE, securing National 2 South status with a thumping 55-5 play off win against Ding’s Crusaders in April, which must have put a big smile on coaching team led by, Harlequin and former All-black Nick Evans,
Wimbledon play their rugby at Beverley Meads, just off Copse Hill, which is on the Southern edge of Wimbledon close to the A3, and its going to be long haul for The Chiefs to get there. This fixture will provide a great examination of where we are as we take on a club that has very definitely had a game plan of rising through the leagues over the last few years and seem determined to succeed. I have no doubt that we will prove too great a test for Wimbledon as the clubs meet for the first time in their history.
Of course even though Barnstaple and Wimbledon have never played against each other before we do have a deep connection with Wimbledon RFC. Matt Bond, a stalwart for Wimbledon on and off the field, learned much of his rugby as a junior for Barnstaple and gained several first team appearances in his time before he moved to London and resumed his playing career to great effect for Wimbledon. He then afterwards turned his attention to refereeing and many of our regular fans will remember him when he returned home at Christmas and refereed the Boxing day fixtures.
Sadly Matt passed away suddenly in his sleep in 2013 at the young age of 36 and as a tribute to his legacy the opening game of the new season between Wimbledon and Barnstaple will be played in Matt’s memory with a trophy being awarded to the winner.