Barum edging towards safety

Joseph Bulmer

BARNSTAPLE stopped their relegation worries getting any worse in National Three South by beating Newton Abbot 16-8, but still have it all to do to stay up.

There were no happy returns to Pottington Road for Newton Abbot as Barum avenged last Sunday’s Devon Cup defeat by the same opposition.

Victory keeps Barum five points clear of the danger zone, but with some huge games coming up. “We have to stay ahead of Cheltenham and Coney Hill, which won’t be easy with the games we have left to play,” said chairman Martin Mogford. “We have two of the top four (Old Patesians and Redingensians) plus Bridgwater away, which won’t be easy. Of our homes games we need to beat Cleve and Oxford Harlequins. I am hoping the confidence generated by beating Newton will see us through.”

Having lost to Newton Abbot in the cup, ending their long reign as holders, the result was highly satisfactory for Barum followers.

“We had a bit more front-foot ball this time and that made a difference,” said Mogford. “The penalty count went our way as well, which only happens when you are putting the other side under pressure.”

Phil Burford, the former Barnstaple coach and captain who is director of rugby at Newton Abbot, said his old club’s team had a bit more desire than his current one. “We knew we would be up against the full 1st XV this time and have lost enough times at Barnstaple in the past to know how hard it us up there,” said Burford. “Barnstaple don’t like being at the bottom of this division and played like a side determined to stay up.” There was an early trade of penalties between opposing kickers Josh Squire and Mike Saxton before Squire hit two more for a 9-3 lead. Just before half time Barum extended their lead with a try under the posts by Johnny Carter, who walked through almost unopposed after a Newton kick had been charged down. Squire converted.

Newton kept the game lively in the second half by pulling a try back on the hour mark through wing Alex Jeffrey, who joined the back of a maul on the way over the line. Barnstaple are away to Old Patesians this Saturday.