Cluster micro divisions revealed for Devon rugby

Jordan Petherbridge scores for Barnstaple

Jordan Petherbridge touches down for Barnstaple - Credit: Bob Collins

Rugby’s return has moved a little closer with the publication of micro-divisions for the RFU-supported cluster competition pencilled in for the New Year.

Most clubs in Devon have not passed a ball in anger since early March – and some have been cooling their heels since late February.

Although the clusters have been agreed, fixtures won’t be issued until December 22. The first fixtures will take place on January 23, provided Covid regulations allow that.

Teams in divisions that cross county boundaries may have to change fixtures if they are in different tiers. Bideford have been placed in the same micro-division as Burnham on Sea, Chard, Honiton, Wiveliscombe and Tiverton.

Jordan Petherbridge, the head coach at King George V, said the cluster league is a starting point for some sort of season.

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“I will be looking around and chatting to a few clubs more local to us and reaching out for friendlies to bolster up the amount of games we can play,” said Petherbridge.

Bideford have some of the longest trips to make in the entire South West region, which Petherbridge is puzzled by.

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“As Burnham is 79 miles away and Chard is 69, it seems a little odd that we could not have been placed into a league lower or higher to keep the fixtures closer,” he added.

With more than a month to go before fixtures start, and the possibility of one or more tier revisions between now and then, Petherbridge said there could be changes to fixtures outside Devon if tiers don’t match.

“We will assess the travelling as and when the fixtures are known and what tier they are in,” said Petherbridge.

Ilfracombe had an 11th hour change of mind about joining the RFU clusters and opted into Devon One North shortly before the deadline last weekend. Their opponents will be South Molton, North Tawton and Torrington.

South Molton skipper Reece Eury said his players are champing at the bit to get back into action.

“The lads just want to play some rugby now and are hoping to get a friendly fixture his weekend, although nothing is confirmed yet,” said Eury.

Barnstaple, whose National Two status puts them in a different fixture group, are still waiting for confirmation who they will be playing and when.

The confirmed micro-divisions are:

Level 5 & 6 South West West: Brixham, Devonport Services, Ivybridge, Okehampton.

Level 5 & 6 SW South West North: Crediton, Exmouth, Exeter Univ, Sidmouth.

WCW North: Bideford, Burnham on Sea, Chard, Honiton, Wiveliscombe, Tiverton.

WCW South: Kingsbridge, Newton Abbot, Paignton, Teignmouth.

CD1: Cullompton, Withycombe Plymstock Albion Oaks Tavistock, Topsham, Torquay Athletic.

D1 North: South Molton, North Tawton, Torrington, Ilfracombe.

D1 South: Dartmouth, Old Plymothian & Mannamedian Old Technicians, Plymouth Argaum, Salcombe, Tamar Saracens.

D1 Central: Exeter Athletic, Exeter Saracens, Buckfastleigh Ramblers, Totnes, New Cross.

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