BARNSTAPLE haven't run up the white flag on their South West Two promotion hopes just yet despite suffering a 17-8 defeat away to leaders Exmouth. Barnstaple have dropped down to third, where they are four points behind Exmouth from one more game, while T
BARNSTAPLE haven't run up the white flag on their South West Two promotion hopes just yet despite suffering a 17-8 defeat away to leaders Exmouth.Barnstaple have dropped down to third, where they are four points behind Exmouth from one more game, while Taunton have moved ahead of Barum into second place on the strength of their 53-5 win over Camborne.Exmouth's only league defeat this season was against Barnstaple, who travelled to the Imperial Ground quietly confident of doing it again.The first half wasn't a great showpiece until just before the break with just three penalties on the board - two for Exmouth's Richard Cadywould and one for Barum kicker Neil Giddy.Two minutes before the break, Exmouth broke out through Matt Hopper, he kicked for Cadywould to retrieve and Ollie Turton arrived in time to pick up the pieces and crash over for a try and 11-3 at the break.Barnstaple cut the leeway when they attacked from a midfield scrum and Matt Slee scored on the end of a well-rehearsed move.Cadywould made the game safe for Exmouth with two penalties - one from long distance the other from a narrow angle.Exmouth aren't up yet, but they will have to suffer a massive loss of form now to throw away the lead they have - and the chasers have to keep winning.Kevin Squire, head coach and director of rugby at Barnstaple, said surrender isn't an option."We have got to bounce back from this result and I am confident we will," said Squire."We haven't lost two games in a row in the last two seasons, so watch out Clevedon."l JOHNNIE Carter crossed for two tries as Barnstaple defeated Exmouth 19-5 in the Colts Merit Table.Barnstaple started brightly. With six minutes played, a move off the base of a scrum allowed wing Bob Passmore to score the opening try. Fly-half Tom Pearce converted.The match remained tight and, although Barnstaple had other chances to score, they failed to impose their advantage.Right on half time, Exmouth used their pack to set up a try for Jon Keay. The conversion failed, leaving Barnstaple 7-5 down at the break.The second half was also tight, with two competitive teams providing a good spectacle of rugby.Barnstaple absorbed Exmouth's pressure early in the half, then started to exert some of their own.Twenty-four minutes in, a good backs' move put Carter in to touch down for a try. Pearce converted.Barnstaple closed out the match in charge, something they have struggled to do this season, and deservedly scored again through Carter.l A shortage of recognised backline players meant Bideford Colts were going to be up against it away to Okehampton.Bideford dominated up from to start with props Chris Warren and Jason Gubb turning the screw, but silly mistakes and poor decisions prevented Biddy making the most of the possession.An opportunist try on the end of an aimless kick ahead allowed Okehampton to take the lead.Bideford had opportunities to get a try back, but resilient defending kept them out.Okehampton caught Bidford napping at the back twice to score two more tries before half time.Bideford got just the start they wanted in the second half when skipper James Starkey ploughed over after two minutes.Bideford dominated the second half and thought they had pulled another try back when Sam Griffin went in. The referee was unsighted and said 'no' - to the dismay of the Bideford contingent on and off the pitch.Bideford tried hard for another score, but had to wait until five minutes from the end when a driving maul off the back of a lineout allowed lock Matt Bowes to flop overThe final score was 19-10 to Okehampton.Man of the match for Biddy was back-row player Jack Sharpe.