The bigger picture for Barnstaple rugby

Old Albanians v Barnstaple Chiefs

Old Albanians v Barnstaple Chiefs - Credit: Derek Parnell & Bob Collins

Barnstaple’s rugby supremo Jeremy Chugg said it would be wrong to blame anyone for the club’s current predicament in the National Two South basement. 

Saturday’s 45-21 away defeat by Old Albanians left Barum one off the bottom of the 16-team table 10 games into the season. 

At the end of previous campaigns, the bottom three are relegated, but with a divisional reshuffle due next summer that won’t be happening this season, which takes the pressure off a little. 

“National Two is big boys’ rugby against good teams with more resources than we have in lots of areas,” said Chugg. 

“I have seen situations like ours at the moment in other clubs where the first thing that happens is people look round for someone to blame. That’s not happening at Barnstaple. 

“We are actually playing pretty well and the coaches, senior players and all the boys are doing the best they can. 

“At the moment, our best isn’t quite enough, but I remain confident our results will improve as the season goes on and we get teams back to Pottington for another go at them. 

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“What I would say is Barnstaple as a club is in a strong position with three adult sides going out to play most Saturdays. 

“We had to say ‘sorry’ to eight of our third-team lads on Saturday, as we could only have seven on the bench against Ilfracombe, so there was no game for them.” 

Old Albanians were 19-7 up at half time against Barnstaple – Jake Murphy converting a Winston James try for the visitors – and failed to add to their tally until the hour mark arrived. 

A Luke Berry try and the conversion on 70 minutes kept Barnstaple in the picture at 26-14 down – and the prospect of a losing bonus point was on the cards. 

Old Albanians ensured Barnstaple would travel home from Hertfordshire empty handed by dashing over for three tries in the last four minutes. 

Martinas Dromantas did get a try back for Barnstaple, but it was not enough to earn a point. 

Barnstaple have added a front-row forward to their senior squad by signing Gavin Mitchell from Devon One side Torrington.

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