BARNSTAPLE didn’t hang about playing their get-out-of-jail card as they showed it to Exmouth in the Devon derby at Pottington Road.
Exmouth were always ahead in the match until Winston James dashed over for a solo try late in the game to steal a 17-13 win over the Cockles.
Kevin Squire, Barnstaple’s director of rugby, said there are times when the result is the wrong way round and this game was one of them.
“We didn’t play at all well and were fortunate we didn’t lose,” said Squire, back at Pottington this season for a second stint as rugby supremo. “Exmouth were the better side and led until Winston got us off the hook with a superb try. At the end we were hanging on for grim death and I expect Exmouth feel very hard done by. We have all been in that situation and all I can say is that’s what happens in league rugby.”
Exmouth led 8-0 at half time thanks to a drive-over try in a maul for flanker Joe Heaver, plus a Richard Cadywould conversion.
A Luke Berry penalty got Barum on the board, only for Exmouth to go 13-3 up with a try on the run for wing Paul Morgan.
A catch-and-drive try claimed by lock Tom Skelding on his Barun debut put the home side within three points once Berry kicked the extra points.
A super solo try by Winston James, who sidestepped his marker then rounded Exmouth full back Jack Downie, brought a score under the posts which Berry converted.
Exmouth battered away right to the end, but were unable to get over for a winning score.
Barnstaple are away to National Three new boys Amersham this Saturday.
Barnstaple 2nd XV were defeated 68-12 away to Exmouth Quins.
BIDEFORD got their season off to a perfect start in the Western Counties Division with a 29-5 win over Devonport Services.
It was a forwards’ game in the first half and Bideford were the first over the whitewash as a rolling maul trundled towards the Services’ line and second row Sam Griffin crossed at the back of it.
Services hit back though as flanker Joe Page finished off a well-worked line out move with a try in the corner.
The home side had tasted success from the rolling maul and were keen to try it again, this time prop James O’Sullivan was the player finishing off the move.
An Ollie Wickett penalty extended the home side’s advantage before half time.
After the break it was the backs – or at least Bideford winger Sam Olde – who were in the points.
Old scored more than 40 tries for the home side last season and showed he is in the mood to repeat that feat this time around, with two second-half tries, both converted by Wickett – to wrap up a bonus point for his side.
Bideford are at home again on Saturday, this time to Bude.
IT looks like being a long season for Torrington as they slumped to a 44-0 defeat against Honiton in the Cornwall & Devon Division.
Things can only get better when they entertain Liskeard-Looe on Saturday.