Barnstaple playing chief Jeremy Chugg intends keeping his promotion war chest padlocked until the New Year.

Barum defeated Ivybridge 31-24 last time out to move within five points of second place in the South West Premier Division.

Only one side goes up automatically from the division – which looks suspiciously like runaway leaders Bournemouth – with the second-placed team going into a play-off against their London division counterparts.

Promotion has always been Chugg’s started aim this season after the disappointment of dropping down a level last term.

Chugg is happy with where Barum are and what they have got, at least for now.

“We are not looking for anyone, although no one would be turned away if they rocked up for training,” said Chugg.

“Fortunately, we have stayed relatively free of injuries this season and we have a second XV that is going well.

“Tom Clarke has come back to us after a year out of the game and he was one of our try scorers at Ivybridge.

“So far we have underspent on our playing budget for the season and don’t need to dip into it at the moment.

“If come January, we need to bring a player or two in for a promotion push, then we will have the money if we need it.”

Barnstaple do have an injury issue at scrum-half, but not a serious enough one to warrant recruitment.

Luke Berry filled in a nine in the win over Ivybridge as James Bath and Noah Nash are both on the injury list.

“James should be back this Saturday against Maidenhead and Noah’s ankle should have cleared up in a month to five weeks,” said Chugg.

“Luke Berry did a good job at scrum-half against Ivybridge and we had Ross Swales on the bench as cover.

“Ross is one of our colts from last season and he travelled back from university in Bristol to help us out.”

An unexpected bonus for Barnstaple has been the return of prop Danny Southworth from Exeter Chiefs on an open-ended loan.

Southworth has been getting some game time in the Braves development side at Sandy Park, but little in the way of full matches.

Chiefs have sent the young prop back to his home-town club to log up some hours out in the middle.

Tom Clarke, Jake Murphy, Adam Lloyd and James were Barum’s try scorers. Murphy kicked 11 points in goals.

Barnstaple are at home to Maidenhead this Saturday.