Barnstaple’s unbeaten run at the top of the South West Premier Division ended on Saturday when Ivybridge beat them 15-12 at Pottington Road.

Barnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt Smart

The form book suggested a home win for Barum against a side that had lost its previous two outings, but the reality was somewhat different.

Barnstaple were only ahead briefly in the game - Kyran McManus converted a Brendon Darley try for a 7-3 lead early in the second half - and only salvaged a bonus point thanks to a late try by skipper Winston James.

Jeremy Chugg, the chairman of rugby at Barnstaple, said Ivybridge came with a plan to contain his side and executed it well.

"They turned up with what looked like half a team on paper, but certainly did not play like one," said Chugg.

Barnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt Smart

"Ivybridge played very well and we did not play as well as we could against a side that tackled like demons.

"The conditions were difficult, but they were the same for both sides so we can't hide behind that.

"I have been saying for a while if we under-perform against any side in this division we could lose. That is what happened.

"It was close and there might have been the chance of pinching a win at the end with a try or kicking a penalty to draw.

Barnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt Smart

"Honestly, had that happened we would have got away with it."

As it is, Barnstaple's first defeat of the season is a setback rather than a disaster. Weston-super-Mare (30pts) have gone past them into top spot, but the gap is only one point and Barnstaple (29) have a game in hand.

Barnstaple have no game at first XV level this Saturday afternoon.

They return to the fray in the South West Premier Division away to the Cornish All Blacks on November 9.

Barnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt Smart

Barnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt SmartBarnstaple v Ivybridge in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt Smart