Leaders Barnstaple closed out a 27-20 win over chasers Maidenhead to stay out in front at the top of the South West Premier Division.

Barnstaple v Maidenhead in the South West Premier. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v Maidenhead in the South West Premier. Picture: Bob Collins

Maids, third in the latest table, are known for their powerhouse pack and tried to boss the game through the forwards in the first half.

Barum were overpowered in the set scrums, but used what ball they had intelligently to make Maids turn and chase.

Two yellow cards each did nothing to keep the game flowing, but when the second batch came round Barum had a two-try lead on the board.

Maids did stage a fightback, but ran out of puff in the latter stages.

Barnstaple v Maidenhead in the South West Premier. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v Maidenhead in the South West Premier. Picture: Bob Collins

Jeremy Chugg, the director of rugby at Barnstaple, said: "We went backwards on rails at times in the scrums and that's never a good platform to work from.

"We defended like demons in the first half under pressure and Haydn Lidstone kicked brilliantly for field position to give us scoring chances we capitalised on.

"To turn round 10-7 up considering how much pressure we had been under says something about the side. After that it was our fitness that won it for us.

"Maidenhead have some big units, but the longer the game went on the slower they became and we were able to play the rugby we wanted."

Barnstaple v Maidenhead in the South West Premier. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v Maidenhead in the South West Premier. Picture: Bob Collins

Chugg picked out Winston James, Matt Gohl, Nat Bayet and Jake Childs for their hard work in the hand-to-hand effort up front that wore Maidenhead down.

Lidstone converted a penalty and a Luke Berry try in the first half for Barum. Berry was mauled over from close range.

James Starkey crossed in the second half, Maids coughed up a penalty try when they collapsed a maul and Lidstone kicked the rest of the points.

Starkey started and finished the move that led to his try by fielding a 22-metre drop-out and setting in motion a multi-phase attack by the forwards.

Barum make the long trip to bottom side Newbury Blues this Saturday afternoon.