Barnstaple – boosted by a handful of guest players - defeated Bideford 26-12 in the Boxing Day derby at King George V.

Bideford and Barnstaple met at King George V for the traditional Boxing Day clash. Picture: Kevin CrowlBideford and Barnstaple met at King George V for the traditional Boxing Day clash. Picture: Kevin Crowl

Bideford, who play two divisions lower than Barum, were able to parade a virtually full first XV.

Barnstaple borrowed South Molton trio Jerry and Brendon Darley along with Jamie Tapp and also included Plymouth Albion prop Ashlee Crouch.

Crouch started his rugby career with Bideford before moving to Barnstaple to further his career.

University of Exeter wing Matt Morrish, who went through the Barum youth ranks, was another guest on parade.

Bideford and Barnstaple met at King George V for the traditional Boxing Day clash. Picture: Kevin CrowlBideford and Barnstaple met at King George V for the traditional Boxing Day clash. Picture: Kevin Crowl

Jeremy Chugg, Barnstaple’s chairman of rugby, said although the format of the side was mixed the result was encouraging.

“We had some first team regulars in there, a few welcome guests and squad members who are on the fringe of the first team,” said Chugg, whose side open the New Year this Saturday by making the long trek to Bracknell.

“Those players on the fringe showed they are more than capable of stepping up into the first team if we need them – and we almost certainly will in the New Year.

Chugg set Barnstaple a target of promotion out of the South West Premier Division at the start of the season and they are third in the table going into the second half.

It looks like a straight fight with Ivybridge for the runners-up spot behind long-term leaders Bournemouth.

Strength in depth will be crucial, said Chugg, for the battles ahead.

“Lose one at home and a couple away and all of a sudden Brixham or Exmouth could be back in the mix,” said Chugg.

“Ivybridge, Brixham and Exmouth all have to come to us in the second half of the season, but there are no guarantees we will win all of them.

“It is a long season and every team is going to get injuries. Boxing Day showed we are well equipped to deal with them.”

Bideford held Barum for a scoreless first half hour before falling behind to a try in the wing by Morrish.

Ed May, Will Topps and Ryan Lee added further tries with Topps kicking the conversions.

Richie Norman and Dean Folland collected tries for Bideford. Pat Sanders kicked the goal.