Barum were beaten by second-placed Cinderford in National League Two South on Saturday

Barnstaple’s injury issues deepened in the 32-19 defeat at Cinderford where flanker Nat Bayet became the latest player on the casualty list.

Barum have taken a battering up front this season with Bryn Jenkins, Matt Gohl and Gareth Evans joining long-termer Ben Hilton on the treatment table.

Although the opportunity for 2nd XV players to have their mettle tested at National League Two South level has been worthwhile, the team needs some experience too.

Barnstaple have no game this Saturday afternoon and that suits chairman of rugby Jeremy Chugg just fine.

“Every game we play it seems someone else gets injured and we could do with some respite,” said Chugg.

“We have had problems in the backs as well and have been juggling players round just to fill spaces.

“Jake Murphy did a great job at fly-half after Fraser Honey surprised us all by leaving the area, but we missed him in the centre.

“Gwyn Parks, who has come to us from the Chiefs, looks the real deal at fly-half but can’t play every game as he has Monday night matches for the Exeter Braves some weeks.

“Jordan Petherbridge plays well at 10 too, but we have been using him almost everywhere in the backs to fill in. It’s a headache.”

Chugg said one good thing to come out of the injury crisis is it has tested the club’s strength in depth in a positive way.

“We have been able to dip into the second team in a way we couldn’t last year to help out the first team,” said Chugg.

“Mitch Turner and Alfie Pennyfield, a couple of young front rowers, have stepped up, as has the second team captain Ben Sharples.

“Kyran McManus from the colts has also had some game time. We are definitely better off than we were last season.”

Petherbridge converted a Will Topps try before the break at Cinderford for Barnstaple, who trailed 17-7.

A penalty try and a Luke Berry try put Barum 19-17 up, but Cinderford finished the stronger with Tim Brockett and Liam Hemming scoring tries for the hosts.