Good morning everyone and what a great game we have in store for us at Pottington Road this afternoon with 9th place Clifton making the journey from Bristol. I can’t tell you how important these next three weeks are for The Chiefs to indicate how well the rest of the season is going to pan out but as I suggested last week we need to win these next games to really show our intent for this league.
Last week showed some great promise that the lads are getting back on track. A dodgy period either side of half time with a few too many errors took the game away from us but as head coach Steve Perry reasoned in today’s match notes “We finished the game at Canterbury with a real hunger and enthusiasm”, which was emphatically demonstrated with teenager Danny Southworth crashing the Canterbury party to plough through their defence and score Barnstaple’s bonus point try on the 80th minute. If only we could bottle that hunger?
Today it’s Clifton who, thanks to a big 45-21 home win against Old Reds, are on a winning run of two games and more importantly are 2 places above us. Win this one and it sets the tone for the next two games. Of course Clifton will have other ideas and this will make for a really great game of rugby providing the weather holds, and we adjust quickly to the refereeing, which has been our Achilles heal of late. Once we have momentum then I do think Clifton will find it hard to live with us.
There is also the John Budd Cup to play for today. For those who don’t know about him, John Budd was a larger than life character who is fondly remembered by those who knew him. He played for both clubs beginning his playing career here at Barnstaple during the early 1960’s whilst working here. Visiting Barnstaple rugby club one day and having never played rugby before he struck a deal with the lads that if they taught him how to play rugby he would teach them how to play spoof, a drinking game, darts and bar billiards. John then went on to play for the Seconds and then the 1st Team before being transferred to Bristol where he played for Clifton 1st XV and captained their Seconds.
Barnstaple and Clifton played a number of times for the John Budd Cup before they started playing in different leagues when the Seconds of both teams took over the challenge. Before last season the last known match was in 1993 where it is alleged that Barnstaple 2nds won it although what happened to the original cup is of greater debate. Last season the teams returned to their duel over the cup and not only honours but score lines were shared as both won their home fixture 24-22 and as Clifton won their game last it means that they will be bringing the cup beautifully polished for presentation to the winners today.
Still no Bryn, Linford or Matt Gohl, otherwise the squad is in pretty strong shape with Jordan Petherbridge going to fly half and Jake Murphy back to his favoured position of centre. Here then is the squad for today’s game.
- Danny Southworth
- James Starkey
- Robbie Dugard
- Matt Hague
- Oli Mason
- Winston James
- Jarrard Hayler
- Gaz Evans
- James Bath
- Jordan Petherbridge
- Kyle Speare
- Ryan Carter
- Jake Murphy
- Will Topps
- Ryan Lee
The finishers for this week are
- Kev Angel
- Ash Crouch
- Adam Lloyd
- Luke Berry
- Jack Bond
A road trip to Henly is on the cards next week before the Chiefs are back at Pottington Road on the 21st October against London Irish. Both these games have immense importance for the rest of the season as both teams are presently below us.
If you are going to the game today, and you would be a fool to miss this one, then you’ll be pleased to know that its Ascot Ladies Day today with horse racing throughout. Although limited to the ladies to begin with the racing will be opened to everyone after the final whistle so if you fancy a flutter then grab another pint at the bar and start placing those bets.
For the rest of the league the key games today I suspect are Redruth v Bury St. Edmunds. Redruth have definitely stuttered so far this season and find themselves one place below a re energised Bury who have won 4 games so far this season and improving with each fixture. Redruth need this one today or could find their title challenge over before it’s even begun. Cinderford need a good home win against Chinnor to keep the momentum going and Tonbridge really need to get their home form sorted out otherwise the Rams will absolutely destroy them. At the bottom London Irish have a great chance to break away from the bottom three as they visit Broadstreet.
So wherever you are today I hope you get to see some great rugby and If you are coming to Pottington Road let’s make it as loud as we can and let that Barum Roar ring out today.