Barnstaple made sure they weren’t left behind in the National 3 South West by beating Hornets on Saturday.
Barnstaple wasted no time reeling in Exmouth at the top of the National Three South West table after losing pole position to the Cockles seven days earlier. While Exmouth were losing 28-25 at Old Centralians, a surprise result based on current league positions, Barnstaple were winning 20-10 at Hornets.
Exmouth are still top of the table, but only on points scored as everything else is dead level.
There are four games left to settle who wins automatic promotion and who goes into the play-offs, the last being Exmouth versus Barnstaple on April 23 – the final day of the regular season.
Kevin Squire, Barnstaple’s chairman of rugby, said he is all for an all-or-nothing encounter between the two Devon rivals.
“After losing the leadership to Exmouth, we were hoping to get to the last game against them in with a chance of nicking past them,” said Squire.
“We are exactly where we want to be right now and if it stays that way, great.
“Our lads were magnificent at Hornets – they were hardly ever in it – and we got a great result.
“When news of Exmouth’s result filtered through, what was a great day already got a little bit better.”
Squire did inject a note of caution though, and with good reason.
“We still have to go to Old Centralians ourselves and if they can beat Exmouth then they will feel they can beat us as well,” said Squire.
Luke Berry scored an early try for Barnstaple at Hornets with Jordan Petherbridge kicking the rest of the points in penalties.
“Hornets are hard to break down but were never ever in the game,” said Squire.
They only got to 20-10 with a try in the last few minutes.”