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Barnstaple 36 Avonmouth Old Boys 5: match report

By NDJAndrew  |  Posted: January 11, 2014


Winston James scored two tries on his return to the Barnstaple team against Avonmouth Old Boys. Picture: Derek Parnell

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Six-try Barnstaple recorded their biggest win of the season, beating Avonmouth Old Boys 36-5 at Pottington Road this afternoon.

After Avonmouth had taken an early lead, Winston James got the ball rolling for Barum with two tries in his first appearance since returning from his aborted stay in Australia.

Dave Kimberley, on his return from injury, made it 15-5 at the break.

Barnstaple then dominated the second half with scores from Chris Hodges, on his debut, and Will Topps, before the win was sealed by a penalty try.

As well as on-loan Taunton Titans flanker Hodges, Barum gave debuts to prop Craig Shore and scrum half Jacob Nash, signed from Wellington and Bideford respectively.

Returning to the side with James and Kimberley was Linford Brock, starting his first game since breaking his ankle in September at outside centre.

Avonmouth, who are trying to escape the National League Three South West relegation zone, made a bright start against their sixth-placed hosts and took the lead in the seventh minute.

Barnstaple illegally halted No 8 Harry Hone's charge to the line and then switched off as prop Phil Dickinson tapped the penalty and scored.

The home side made an immediate response and briefly thought they had scored through Brock, only for the try to be ruled out for a knock-on.

There were signs, though, that the new-look pack was too powerful for the visitors and so it proved in the 18th minute.

Awarded a penalty in the right-hand corner after Tom Skelding had charged down a Connor Power box kick, Barum opted for a scrum and drove over the line for James, at blind-side flanker, to touch down.

Three minutes later, they attacked at pace down the left wing through Tom Heard and Topps who passed inside for James to step past the last defender and score his 10th try of the season.

To make matters worse for Avonmouth, two of their best players in the opening quarter – hooker Craig Britton and left wing Charlie Reynolds – then limped off. Britton was able to return for the second half but it was game over for his team-mate.

Barnstaple again went for the scrum when awarded a penalty in the right-hand corner in the 33rd minute and this time Kimberley, the summer signing from Exmouth who has been out since early November with damage to his liver, scored his first try for the club from the pushover.

Avonmouth saw an opportunity go begging in the final minute of the first half when impressive full back Andy Taylor knocked on in a promising position, and that was as close as they came to adding to Dickinson's early try.

With their new pack laying a platform and Nash, the sponsors' man of the match, delivering quick ball to the backs, Barum dominated the second half.

It took less than two minutes for them to score their bonus-point try with lock Jerry Darley charging through the middle and offloading for Hodges who bounced off a tackle and ran in under the posts.

In the 50th minute, after a superb passage of play from Barnstaple, Topps found himself as acting scrum half at a ruck wide on the left and darted down the blind side to run in unopposed.

Then, in the 72nd minute, with Avonmouth flanker Greg Long in the sin bin for pulling down a maul, Barum forced a couple of penalties at five-metre scrums and referee Christopher Ridley awarded them a penalty try.

Topps converted all three tries in the second half as Barnstaple bettered their previous biggest winning margin this term – 49-24 away to Avonmouth in September.

The five points keep them in sixth place with a game in hand on three of the teams above them. They now play three away games in a row against Worcester Wanderers, Bracknell, and Amersham and Chiltern.

Barnstaple: Will Topps; Ryan Brend, Linford Brock, Ryan Carter, Tom Heard; Steve Perry, Jacob Nash; Mark Berry, Glenn Cooper, Craig Shore, Jerry Darley, Tom Skelding, Winston James, Chris Hodges, Dave Kimberley. Reps: Shane Maddock, Ollie Mason, Shaun East.

Scorers – tries: James 2, Kimberley, Hodges, Topps, penalty. Cons: Topps 3.

Avonmouth Old Boys: Andy Taylor; Elliot Nightingale, Gary Collier, Liam Poole, Charlie Reynolds; Matt Belbin, Connor Power; Phil Dickinson, Craig Britton, Grant Britton, James Foss, Kei Bergh, Greg Long, Dan Lee, Harry Hone. Reps: Martyn Hawkes, Eamonn Rees, Josh Perks.

Scorer – try: Dickinson.

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