A 14-man Barnstaple scored three tries in a 22-all draw

Barnstaple v Old Redcliffians. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v Old Redcliffians. Picture: Bob Collins

Barnstaple found Old Redcliffians a tougher proposition than expected in a 22-all draw at Pottington Road.

A ding-dong National League Two South encounter between mid-table Barum and relegation worriers Reds swung this way and that before the visitors drew level with a try four minutes from time.

Having played more than an hour with 14 men after winger Kyle Speare had been sent off for allegedly kneeing an opponent in contact, Barum were 22-17 up with five minutes to go and looked like they had done enough.

Relegation-worried Reds had other ideas and came on strong to draw level with a try on the overlap for full-back Tom Hargan.

Barnstaple v Old Redcliffians. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v Old Redcliffians. Picture: Bob Collins

Ashley Groves had a touchline conversion to win it for Reds, but his kick went wide.

It was a real see-saw affair with the lead swinging back and forth.

Barum were 10-3 up early in the second half – Jordan Peterbridge converted a penalty and his own try – then 17-10 down.

Groves converted tries by Ethan Doyle and Christian Gervais as well as a second penalty to give Reds the lead.

Barnstaple v Old Redcliffians. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v Old Redcliffians. Picture: Bob Collins

Back came Barum with tries by Jarryd Hayler and Luke Berry, the latter converted by Gwyn Parks for the 22-17 lead.

Then came the grandstand finish.

Jeremy Chugg, the chairman of rugby at Barnstaple, wasn’t sure if a draw was points lost or points gained.

“It was a game we set out to win, but ended up being almost happy to draw,” said Chugg.

“We played one short for an hour after Kyle was sent off and at 17-10 down it looked tough for us.

“Then we got ahead and you hope then you can hold on til the end.

“They battered away at us – phase after phase after phase – and went close a couple of times before they actually scored.

“They could have won it had the conversion gone over, so to draw a game we hoped to win and could easily have lost wasn’t so bad.”

The first of two away jaunts before the new year comes on Saturday, with a trip to Worthing.