Barnstaple have got second place in the South West Premier Division all to themselves after beating Brixham 22-17 in the Devon derby at Pottington Road.

Ivybridge had been level pegged with Barum going into round 16 of 26, but dropped down to fourth after they lost 38-18 at home to University of Exeter.

Bournemouth, conquerors of Bracknell, are eight points clear of Barum (60pts) at the top. Maidenhead (56) lie third after they defeated Drybrook.

Barum were only 15-14 up with 10 minutes to go and fearful of a Brixham comeback. Danny Southworth stole in for a try and Jake Murphy kicked the conversion to put the result beyond doubt.

Jeremy Chugg, the director of rugby at Barnstaple, said it was a close-run thing he was glad to get out of the way.

“Our forwards played superbly, which was just as well as we were not great in the backs,” said Chugg.

“Brixham were certainly sharper and played with a lot of power, if not out-and-out pace, and gave us a lot of trouble.

“Having said that, the only way they were going to score was from 20, 30 or 40 metres out. Close to the line we were able to stifle them up front and smother them in the backs.

“With ten minutes to go, only a point in it and us not exactly dominant, it was a bit tense. Luckily, we came up with a try when it mattered.

“Brixham kicked a penalty right at the end – and a good shot from a long way out it was too – to gain a bonus point. I was glad for them as they deserved something out of the game.”

Luke Berry and Will Topps were Barum’s other try scorers. Murphy kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Barnstaple are away to Camborne this Saturday.