Barnstaple got just the start they wanted back in the South West Premier Division – a 23-18 win at Weston.

Barum came down from National League Two South at the end of last season and a stated aim for the eight months ahead is to go back up at the first attempt.

And even with a couple of key forwards missing – lock Matt Hague and prop George Snell – Barum were just a bit too strong for Weston.

It helped Barum’s cause that they kept 15 on the park for 80 minutes. Weston did not and during the 10 minutes they were a man short, Barnstaple scored a try.

Jeremy Chugg, the chairman of rugby at Pottington Road, said it was a good run out before another away game this Saturday, against Bournemouth.

“Bournemouth’s 50-0 win at Old Patesians suggests to me they want to go all the way this season and not lose in the promotion play-offs again,” said Chugg.

“It is going to be tough being away for the first two weeks, but we do have a good win under our belts to encourage us.

“We were a bit slow starting at Weston, but I will always take points away from home first game of the season.”

Ashlee Crouch scored a first-half try for Barum and there were two Jake Murphy penalties in a 13-11 interval deficit.

Murphy converted his own try for an 18-13 lead and skipper Winston James rumbled over from a line-out for the winner.