Barnstaple’s South West Premier surge suffers a setback at University of Exeter

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

Barnstaple v Bracknell in the South West Premier. Picture: Matt Smart - Credit: Matt Smart

Barnstaple’s playing chief Jeremy Chugg remains confident his side will win the South West Premier Division despite a set-back against the University of Exeter on Saturday.

The Students scored a last-minute try to win 34-29 and limit Barum to two bonus points.

Barnstaple remain 11 points clear of Maidenhead at the top of the table.

Chugg said: "We would have to work hard not to get promoted now.

"Everybody below us still has to play each other, which means they are going to drop points among themselves. We already have them in the bag."

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Barnstaple had a draw snatched from them in the last few minutes of the game. Having come back from 29-15 down to draw level at 29-all, Barum's game management let them down.

"We tried to run the ball from our own goal line and turned the ball over," said Chugg.

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"It probably wasn't the best manoeuvre at that stage of the game.

"Having said that, the try we conceded only cost us one lost point. And with the side we sent down to Exeter, two bonus points was a decent return."

Andrew Darley, Dylan Gosling, Kyran McManus and Dan Robinson were Barum's try scorers on the all-weather surface at Stocker Road in Exeter. Haydn Lidstone kicked the goals.

Barnstaple were without influential forwards Martinas Dromantis, Ben Hilton, Adam Lloyd and try scoring captain Winston James as well as Ryan Carter in the backs for the visit to Exeter. Hilton and Dromantis were ill rather than injured.

Chugg hopes to have most of the missing quintet back in action against Exmouth at Pottington Road this Saturday.

"It's a Devon derby against a side we know well and have a lot of respect for and a chance for us to get back to winning ways," said Chugg.

New to the selection process this week is Devon under-20s full-back-cum-winger Dan Johnson, who has joined Barnstaple from National Two South side Taunton Titans.

Johnson has been a Barum target for a while since the early days of his career at South Molton.

"It has taken a while but we finally have Dan on board," said Chugg.

Back at Barum while surplus to requirements at Plymouth Albion is hooker Ashlee Crouch, who is available for the rest of the season.

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