Barnstaple stayed second in the South West Premier Division table after beating University of Exeter 42-36 in a see-saw Devon derby at Pottington Road.

Barnstaple v University of Exeter in South West Premier. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v University of Exeter in South West Premier. Picture: Bob Collins

Barum skipper Winston James was looking for a reaction from his team after their 27-19 setback at lowly Drybrook – and at 21-5 up after 15 minutes it looked like he would get one.

Four minutes into the second half the Students took the lead – and when Matt Johnson crossed for a try the University led 36-28.

Barum had to go out and win the game all over again – and boy did they leave it late.

Two minutes from time the Students coughed up a penalty try and Barum were back in front for the last time.

Barnstaple v University of Exeter in South West Premier. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v University of Exeter in South West Premier. Picture: Bob Collins

Victory keeps Barum seven points ahead of third-placed Ivybridge. Maidenhead dropped back to fourth after Weston held them to a 27-all draw.

Said James: “After a defeat the important thing is to win the next game and not allow losing to become a habit.

“The University were very dangerous with the ball in their hands, but our experience of how to play without it proved crucial at the end.”

Ben Hilton, Will Topps, Tom Clark, James Bath and Jake Murphy all touched down for Barnstaple. Murphy added five conversions.

Barnstaple v University of Exeter in South West Premier. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v University of Exeter in South West Premier. Picture: Bob Collins

Barnstaple have no game this Saturday.

Barnstaple v University of Exeter in South West Premier. Picture: Bob CollinsBarnstaple v University of Exeter in South West Premier. Picture: Bob Collins