Barnstaple’s 24-12 Devon derby defeat at Exmouth is a setback to their play-off hopes, but not a disaster.

That was how director of rugby Jeremy Chugg summed up the situation after Barum’s lead over chasers Ivybridge and Maidenhead had been trimmed by the defeat.

With Bournemouth only one more win away from automatic promotion after winning 33-18 at the University of Exeter, the real action is the race for the play-off place behind them.

Barnstaple (74pts) now have company from Ivybridge (72) and Maidenhead (70) as the play-off tussle starts coming to the boil.

Chugg said: “We play Ivybridge at home this Saturday and if we win that it is off to Maidenhead the week after.

“That is two big games and some pressure on our players, but it will be just as bad for the teams we play.

“Even if we lose one of the next two as long as we put the rest of our games away we should finish second.”

As Ivybridge and Maidenhead both have Bournemouth to play in their final five games, Chugg may have a point.