Boxing Day rugby derby switched from Bideford to Barnstaple
NORTH DEVON'S Boxing Day rugby derby has been switched from Bideford's ground to Barnstaple.
With heavy rain falling on the already saturated pitch at King George's Field – and more forecast for the weekend – the clubs decided to instead stage the game at Pottington Road.
Bideford worked hard to make the pitch playable for their league match against Bude on Saturday. A 5-5 draw was played out in mudbath conditions.
Kevin Squire, the Barnstaple director of rugby, said: "Kevin Booth (Bideford's coach) and I agreed this morning (Thursday) to play the match at Barnstaple, providing the pitch is playable.
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"With the current forecast there's no way the Bideford pitch will be playable so we're going to have it at Barnstaple.
"If we didn't there would be no game at all.
"I can't predict what the weather will do between now and Boxing Day but if our pitch is playable, and I think it will be, then the game will be there."
Booth said Bideford were keen to play the game even though it meant conceding home advantage.
Club chairmen Lester Bird, of Bideford, and Trevor Shaddick, of Barnstaple, have come to an arrangement regarding money raised from the match, which is expected to see both clubs benefit.
To ensure the pitch is in the best possible condition, the second-team match, scheduled to kick off at 11am, has been postponed.
Wednesday's first-team derby will kick off at 2.30pm at Pottington Road.