Barnstaple get rare win in Exmouth to stay top of South West Premier
- Credit: Bob Collins
Kyran McManus kicked the match-winning penalty five minutes from time to take South West Premier leaders Barnstaple to a 25-23 victory at Exmouth.
Any sort of win at Exmouth is a rarity for Barnstaple, who had not won on the Imperial Ground in nine previous visits.
Exmouth led for more of the match than Barnstaple, but it's who's ahead when the final whistle goes that matters.
Five minutes from time McManus knocked over a penalty to make it six out of six for his side at the top of the table.
There was no bonus point for Barum, which allowed second-placed Weston to gain a bit of ground thanks to their 34-25 win at Ivybridge.
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Jeremy Chugg, Barum's director of rugby, said he was just satisfied with a win.
"Never mind the bonus point - the most important thing was to win," said Chugg.
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"Our record there has not been great and I would have settled for winning by a point."
For Exmouth it was a third defeat in the past four starts, which drops them to seventh in a table of 13.
Roger Holman, Exmouth's team manager, said it was a rough result to swallow.
"I wish I could say we lost to a better side, but I don't think I can," said Holman.
"We probably gave away too many penalties but, apart from that, there was nothing between the side.
"Barnstaple had some good attacks, but we defended well most of the time."
Sam Whitehead and Dave Bargent bagged a try each for Exmouth to give them a 17-10 half-time lead. George Meadows kicked both conversions and a penalty and added two more penalties after the break.
Will Topps collected two tries for Barnstaple and Ben Hilton pocketed the third. McManus booted two penalties and two conversions.
It's up-and-down Ivybridge at home this Saturday for Barnstaple.
"If we turn up and play the way we have been we should win," said Chugg.
"But anything less than our best and we could come unstuck."