Barnstaple had to wear Newton Abbot down before snatching a 29-26 win over their Devon rivals at Rackerhayes.

Although Barum are one off the top of the South West Premier table and Newton one off the bottom, a neutral would have been hard pressed to tell which team was which.

Jake Murphy dropped a goal in stoppage time to move Barum from 26-all into the lead.

Jeremy Chugg, Barum’s chairman of rugby, said Newton Abbot probably felt aggrieved that they lost – and he had some sympathy for them.

“Had the game ended in a draw I would have been mildly disappointed but would have got over it pretty quickly,” said Chugg.

“Had we lost I would have been disappointed, not because we were that better than them as we weren’t but because of the amount of ball we had.

“Newton scored some really good tries and their enthusiasm in defence was excellent.

“Why Newton are so far down the table, I have no idea if they are playing like that most weeks.”

Barnstaple were 20-11 down shortly after half time, but had the gas in the tank to win at the death.

Said Chugg: “If you look at our season so far we are generally still strong in the last 20 minutes because our fitness is good.

“By then Newton were running out of energy as they had worked hard in the second half keeping us out.

“Newton fared better than some other teams have against us this season. Camborne shipped four tries in the last 20 minutes.

“It all came good for us at the end, but it could easily have gone the other way too.”

Barum trailed 17-11 at the break and 20-11 soon after it. Tom Clarke scored the try and Murphy kicked two penalty goals.

Clarke’s second try cut the gap to four points then Murphy converted his own try for a 23-20 Barum lead.

The last lap of the game was all kicks: two for Murphy to one in response from Newton’s Tom Putt.