Local rugby clubs ready for decisive months of the season

Barnstaple v Redruth in Christmas clash

Barnstaple v Redruth in Christmas clash - Credit: Derek Parnell & Bob Collins

Barnstaple go in search of just their third league win of the National Two South season when they visit Westcliff. 

Only one side sits below Barum in the Two South table and that’s this Saturday’s Essex-based hosts. 

When the two sides met back in September at Pottington Road, the outcome was a 35-17 win for Barnstaple. It was the first of only two wins so far this term 

Jeremy Chugg, Barnstaple’s director of rugby, believes the team are close to turning a corner and can prove it at Westcliff. 

“Our last league game before Christmas was the 19-3 defeat at Redruth, which was our best performance of the season by a mile,” said Chugg. 

“We nil-nilled Redruth in the second half and if we can play like that more often, we will start picking-up wins.” 

Prop Josh Davie sustained a dislocated shoulder in the derby day win over Bideford on Boxing Day and won’t be on the bus to Westcliff. 

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Otherwise, Barnstaple have no new selection worries and – Covid alerts permitting – will be close to full strength against Westcliff. 

Bideford must win away from home if they are going to get into the top half of Western Counties West this season. 

So said team manager Bradley Goaman ahead of this Saturday’s home game against Chard. 

Bideford are just below halfway in a table of 14, which is an accurate reflection of a development season at KGV. 

Although Bideford are winless away from home, only Wiveliscombe have defeated them in front of their own supporters. 

Goaman said the management are content with the direction of travel but know what is needed to progress up the rankings. 

“We are quite happy how things are moving on this season,” said Goaman. 

“The core of the squad is going well and training numbers have been very good. 

“Mark Lee, our head coach, has galvanised the squad and given younger players opportunities to play in the first team, an experience they will learn from. 

“We are very strong at home, but our away form needs to improve big time. 

“If we have any aspirations to do well in Western Countries West, which is a tough division, we need to win on the road.”  

South Molton have a top-of-the-table tussle in Devon One with former leaders New Cross. 

It couldn’t be much tighter at the top of Devon One, where Exeter Saracens (47pts) are being pursued by Molton (45), New Cross (45), OPM (44) and Exeter Saracens (43). 

The top team will definitely go up at the end of the season and there could be a second promotion place as part of overall league re-organisation due to take place in April. 

New Cross walloped Molton 43-17 when the sides met at Five Lanes in October, but are unlikely to runaway with the rematch. 

Neil Edwards, the team manager, said: “Head coach Scott Warren-Williams wants to right the wrongs from our visit to New Cross. 

“It has been nice to have a few weeks off, but the players were keen to get back to training this week.”  

The 2nd XV travel down the North Devon Link Road to Tiverton to resume their programme in Merit Table Two. 

Molton are currently third behind Exmouth Nomads and the Exeter Engineers, but have their sights set higher. 

“The aim is for both teams to finish top of their respective divisions, which will help us to prepare for the 2022-23 season and provide confidence and belief for everyone,” said Edwards. 

Torrington are looking to make home advantage count in the second half of the season. 

Torrie’s Devon One season resumes on Saturday when Exeter Saracens are the visitors to Donnacroft, and coach Zerran Bell is looking forward to some home comforts. 

“All our games in January at home, apart from a bye week on the 15th, and we are ready to go after a well-earned rest over the festive season,” said Bell. 

Pushing for the line

Pushing for the line - Credit: Derek Parnell & Bob Collins

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