BARNSTAPLE Colts won 18-0 at Bideford to ensure qualification for the championship round of the Devon Colts Merit Table, which starts next month.

The top eight teams in the county go forward into their own mini league having qualified from regional merit tables.

For a squad made up largely of first-year colts, Barnstaple have exceeded their own expectations.

Bideford more than contributed to a robust game and for the first 35 minutes kept Barum away from the try line. Rob Dunn did his bit in defence with some crunching tackles.

There were plenty of penalties and a clutch of yellow cards – three in total between the two teams.

The penalty count crept up in the second half and that proved Bideford’s undoing.

Henry Meredith put over a three pointer as Barum took the lead, then James Hack jogged over from a ruck after the visitors punted for position from a penalty.

Bideford went back into Barum territory from the restart – Dunn and Rhys Eyles taking them there – but more penalties ended that assault.

Reece Stacey had threatened for Barum a time or two and finally got the try his efforts warranted.

Near the end Barnstaple’s busy Peter Keighley went in under the posts for the third and final try.

Good performances for Barum came from Hack, hooker Callum Dovell and Iwan Williams who caught all that was kicked at him and kept the ball alive with some well placed chip kicks over the defence.

Meredith and Sean Eastwere solid in defence and with their handling skills.