No HNY start for 1XV
Bracknell (14) 17 Barnstaple (10) 32
Bracknell launched 2019 hosting Barnstaple at Lily Hill. The last time the two sides met at Lily Hill was in 2015 when Bracknell won 34 – 27. Since then the two sides have enjoyed differing fortunes, until last season Barnstaple were a National 2 South side having been promoted via the play-offs at the end the 2015/16 season. The differing fortune of the sides was reflected in the away result earlier in the season when Barnstaple defeated Bracknell by forty points. The Devon side remain very much in contention for a play-off spot this season, whereas Bracknell’s attention is currently focused on the opposite end of the league table.
Bracknell started the game playing away from the clubhouse for the first half. It would be the home side that would open the scoring after just four minutes. Attacking runs from Ian Burch and Michael Clarke got Bracknell deep into Barnstaple territory. From quick re-cycled ball, a well timed delayed pass from Peceli Nacamavutu saw the excellent Callum Lee score under the posts. Conversion from Vic Hardwicke was good.
Barnstaple were reduced in number when referee Zerren Bell showed a yellow card to second row Ben Hilton for a no arms tackle. Almost immediately the numbers were equalled when Bracknell captain Michael Clarke was also sent to the sin bin.
Neither side could break down the defence of the other until on the half hour mark when Barnstaple reduced the Bracknell lead with a Jake Murphy penalty.
With Bracknell further reduced in numbers, Cam MacDonald receiving a yellow card for a tip tackle, Bracknell scored their second try of the afternoon. Simon Bayliss finding space on his wing, scored in the corner. An excellent conversion from Vic Hardwicke out wide increased the Bracknell lead to eleven points.
With five minutes remaining of the half, came the turning point of the game. Ken Dowding was sent off for unwisely retaliating after being punched. Bracknell would have to spend the remainder of the game with just fourteen players.
Taking advantage of their superior numbers Barnstaple struck back. Centre Ryan Cater scoring a converted try under the posts just before the half time break.
Half time: Bracknell 14 Barnstaple 10
Early into the second half, Barnstaple reduced the Bracknell lead to just one point with a further Jake Murphy penalty. Although reduced in numbers Bracknell battled bravely and their endeavour was rewarded with Vic Hardwicke penalty.
With twenty minutes to go the numbers were equaled when Barnstaple centre Jake Murphy was shown a yellow card.
The effects of the man overlap were starting to impact as Barnstaple were now enjoying most of the territory, but could not break through the Bracknell defence. The Bracknell defence would finally be broken in controversial fashion. With Barnstaple back to full strength, prop Kevin Angel was deemed to have crossed the Bracknell try line, despite appearing to be held up short.
Further late tries from second row Adam Lloyd and replacement Martinas Deonantas in the dying moments secured Barnstaple’s bonus point and denied Bracknell a deserved bonus point for all their enterprise.
Full time: Bracknell 17 Barnstaple 32 (Points: Bracknell 0 Barnstaple 5)
Head of Rugby Daniel ap Dafydd said after the match “I think we physically dominated the game and dissevered more from today. Had we had fifteen on the pitch for the whole game the result may well have been different.”
The result means Bracknell stay 10th in the league, only their lead over the relegation spots is reduced to just one point, as a result of Drybrook's win over Ivybridge. Ivbridge's defeat sees Barnstaple leap frog Ivbridge in the league to second spot.
Well done to the Stags, 3XV and 4XV who all won their respective league games yesterday.
The 1XV are back in action next week when they travel to table topping Bournemouth (KO 2pm). They are next at home on 19th January, for the first of two consecutive home games, when they host Weston super Mare. A week later, on 26th January, they host Brixham. Both KO’s 2.15pm. Pre match lunches are available for both games. To book lunch or for more details please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A reminder to all that next Tuesday (8th January 2019) is the Extraordinary General Meeting at the clubhouse, 7.30pm start. Members are invited to attend. Click here for full details.
Man of the Match: Jake Hodge
Bracknell: 1, Jake Hodge 2, Michael Clarke 3, Ken Dowding 4, Leo Bailey 5, Rhys Verley 6, Jamie Johnson 7, Callum Lee 8, Sam Gibbons 9, Lewis Franklin 10, Vic Hardwicke 11, Ian Burch 12, Peceli Nacamavutu 13, Cam MacDonald 14, Simon Bayliss 15, Gabe Hills Replacements: George Cotterell, Ash Stevenson-Leigh, Chris Laidler