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Bideford and Barnstaple to put on spectacle in Boxing Day rugby derby

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: December 20, 2012

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ANDREW LOOSEMORE is dreaming of a dry Christmas to set up a grand spectacle on Boxing Day.

Bideford battled through a mudbath at King George's Field to draw 5-5 with Bude on Saturday.

And Loosemore, the Bideford captain, is hoping his club's pitch dries out in time for Wednesday's festive fixture against Barnstaple.

"For both sides, and the crowd, it would be nice if it did dry up," he said.

"Barnstaple's players are mobile, like ours, and it could be a really good spectacle if the weather is dry and the ground is firmer underfoot."

Kevin Squire, the Barnstaple director of rugby, is also hoping for an open game.

He argued the referee will be as important as the pitch in allowing that to happen. "The key area of the game will be the referee's interpretation of the breakdown," said Squire. "We need him to stop them trying to slow the ball down.

"Hopefully the referee will look closely at that area of the contest. If he does, we will see some good rugby, which would be terrific for what we hope will be a large crowd."

Bideford have been on the end of some heavy defeats to their old rivals in recent years but Loosemore said the derby is "always the match to play in".

"It's the game of the season for the crowd, there's normally a couple of thousand people, and it's a real experience to play in," he said.

"It's a nothing game on paper but there's a lot at stake.

"Whatever they throw at us, we'll take it.

"It's always going to be tough when you're playing a side from two leagues above but we're looking forward to it.

"We're going in as underdogs, obviously, but that will be quite nice because most of this season we have been expected to win. We can go out more relaxed and give it a good go."

Barnstaple are also looking forward to the occasion and will prepare as if it is a cup final.

"Our preparation will be as thorough as it always is," said Squire. "We will meet for a team breakfast and when we arrive at Bideford we will be really focused.

"We know they are a good side and they are having a good season. They will be right up for it and will bring lots of intensity.

"But we are putting a strong side out and we should have too much quality and pace for them."

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