Barnstaple skipper Winston James insists his side are still in the South West Premier Division play-off chase despite a crushing 45-10 defeat at promotion rivals Maidenhead.

Barum went to Braywick Park second in the table and dicing with Maidenhead and Ivybridge for the play-off spot behind champions-elect Bournemouth.

Ivybridge are probably out it after the 30-24 home defeat by Bournemouth that left them seven points off the play-offs.

Although Maidenhead will take a two-point lead over Barum into this Saturday’s game away to Bournemouth, the Barnstaple captain said the chase is still wide open.

“Bournemouth have only lost once all season, are playing like champions and I expect them to keep giving it 100 per cent as that is their way,” said James.

“Maidenhead are the only side to beat Bournemouth this season, but that was on their own artificial pitch which gives them an advantage over sides going there.

“There are 15 points left for us to play for – starting with Newton Abbot at home this Saturday – and we need to get all of them if we can.

“If three wins now is not enough, then fair play to Maidenhead is all I can say.”

Barnstaple and Maidenhead were deadlocked at 10-10 approaching half-time. Although two scores put Maids 18-10 up at the break, James felt Barum were still in the game.

“We might have played a bit too much rugby in the first half, but there was not a lot wrong with us then,” said James.

“The second half was the worst we have played all season.

“A couple of decisions went against us, we went flat and when Maidenhead started coming at us we did not react to what they were doing.”

Jake Murphy kicked a penalty and converted a Noah Nash try for Barnstaple, who briefly led 10-0 in the first half.