On a beautiful Sunday morning on Victoria playing fields, Bideford prepared to go to battle in the local derby against Barnstaple. Whilst Taylor’s dad was in bed nursing a hangover the children were up bright and breezy preparing themselves for a fun morning of rugby.
Jack Hastings who slept in one of of trees down the park assisted in setting up the pitches preparing for the rest of the teams arrival.
As the last few players arrived the team put on the famous red and white strip of Bideford and warmed up going through the phases that they had been practicing so well in training.
Coach Mark Slee got the kids into a huddle and got the kids thinking positively and preparing themselves for battle.
Captain William Slee approached the Barnstaple centre of the pitch like a boxer sizing up the opposition, on the count of rock paper scissors shoot he clenched his right fist in to a rock and the Barnstaple player could only make a scissors action with his fingers, rock blunted scissors and Bideford had the advantage of kick off.
The game was fast pace and Bideford went through the phases we have all got to know and love. Jacob and Alice crashed the ball up well drawing in the Barnstaple players for Harry to pass the ball out to Slee who had called a switch with Oliver Bloodworth who ran through a gap in the Barnstaple defence to score an outstanding try.
Bideford continued to press with the boy of steel Will Harris hitting hard in defence and Jacob steeling ball time after time to get Bideford back on the attack, a superb attack by Bideford passed the ball down the line with Alice feeding the superb Cole White who hit the ball at speed cutting through the defensive line like Simon Morris cutting a chocolate cake.
The bull Jacob threatened the Barnstaple line time after time which resulted in a couple time outs for the Barnstaple coach to attend to some of the battered players. When the game commenced and jacob with a smile on his face took a pop from Oliver Bloodworth to smash his way over the line scoring a fine try.
Cole White who was disappointed to have a try ruled out for dropping the ball, used great grit and determination to make amends and hit another great angle to dive over for his second of the game.
William Slee who tackled strongly all game and was the mastermind of the attack scooted over for two great individual tries with Oliver Bloodworth also completing a second.
Barnstaples 10 scored three good individual tries, but Bideford’s defence was strong.
This was a great team performance by each individual player who knew their own roles and excuted them well.
Jack Mitchell was like a leach at the break down, Henry Morris was a whippet in attack, Oli Rhodes was like a shire horse driving forward and whilst on the animal front Will Harris was like a crocodile snapping players in half, Jacob and Alice were like bulls in a field who had seen red, Harry Phillps and William Slee were like Jack Russels and Oliver Bloodworth was like a long legged ostrich striding through the defence, Cole was like a wasp around Jam.
A great team performance where Bideford played with a smile on their faces.
On the other pitch, it was not clear who was more nervous, Rich on his debut refereeing with the
new rules or the Barnstaple team who wandered across (late) to face Poppy practicing her
shouting, or Freddie warming his arms up to a chicken dance?
The game had a tremendous pace throughout the first half, with Barnstaple finding space
outside the breakdown, despite the formidable efforts of Jacks’ Lynd and Hastings dishing up
the usual serving of appetite and destruction.
Taylor and Lottie once again worked their magic from 9 and 10, and where we found the chance, got the ball away for Zac and Josh to’ pump their legs’ so hard the Gasser would have been proud.
Albert and Matthew were quick to see that Barnstaple had been working on their Maul and in particular ripping, so responded in theonly way they knew, which was rip back harder!
Hugo had a few words for the team at the break, and the second half was much better than the first with more scores for Bideford.
This lifted the team and we finished strong. It was a tough encounter and a few picked up knocks.
The team spirit was immaculate to the very last and everybody put on a great display of sportsmanship.
Which they promised themselves they are going to bottle ready for the next time we play Barnstaple, when the mind
games will no doubt resume…