Availability cripples Barum in battling loss to Bury St Edmunds

North Devon Gazette

Injuries and Covid absences left Barnstaple struggling to get a full side out to face Bury St Edmunds in their latest round of matches in National Two South.Â

Barum held the East Anglians to 0-0 after 40 minutes, but were eventually defeated 17-0. One way or another Barum had 19 players out of action, which left them unable to honour their second team fixture at Okehampton.Â

Jeremy Chugg, the director of rugby at Barnstaple, said: “We were able to bring up five or six from the second team, some of whom had no first-team experience at all.Â

“The likes of Ryan Smale on the flank are only 18 and just out of Colts, so it was a massive step-up in standard.Â

“Tom Swales was outstanding in the centre: there was no way through him or round him. Connor Swan on the wing was my man of the match. If it moved, he tackled it!Â

“Everyone who stepped-up gave it their all and, going forward, the experience will stand them in good stead.”Â

Barnstaple are due to visit Westcliff this Saturday in a rearranged game. The Essex side are the only team below Barum in the National Two Table.Â

Former Barnstaple player and coach Stan Sumners has sadly died at the age of 87.Â

Sumners, who was born in Plymouth and moved to Barnstaple aged nine, made his debut for Barum as a 17 year old in 1952. Â

Devon capped Sumners in 1963. Sons Tony (1990-97) and Kevin (1979-81) followed their dad into the county side.Â

Devon Colts were national champions in 1985 during one of the three seasons Sumners was their coach. He also coached Barnstaple 1st XV to three Devon Cup final wins.Â

Devon RFU invited Sumners to sit on the county committee in 1989. He served for 11 years, which included a term as under-21s chairman (1990-92). He also sat on the competitions, senior selection and discipline committees.Â

Rugby wasn’t his only sporting passion as he also played cricket for Pilton CC.Â

Stan Sumners, a retired builder, was married to wife Phyllis for 66 years. The couple had three children (Lynn, Kevin and Tony), seven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.Â