Barnstaple only had themselves to blame for the 23-7 defeat at Bournemouth that cut their lead at the top of the National Three South West table.

Bournemouth were always ahead in the game from the 16th minute onwards, not that Barnstaple didn’t have chances.

The trouble for Barum was they failed to cash-in when they had the chances and lived to regret it.

“We dominated territory and possession, but once in the final third we failed to finish,” said Barum’s chairman of rugby Kevin Squire.

“There were three gilt-edged chances we absolutely butchered –and had we taken them it would have been game over.

“Bournemouth had five or six opportunities in the match and put three of them away.

“We can’t make excuses, the game was there to be won and we blew it.

“There have been games we have won this season by a point or two which could easily have gone the other way. This time our luck ran out.”

Barnstaple lost prop Kevin Angel and centre Luke Berry with injuries, although neither departure made a huge difference to the outcome.

Scrum-half James Bath was Barnstaple’s try scorer with Berry adding the conversion.

Barnstaple’s lead at the top is down to just two points over chasers Brixham. Barum are at home to fourth-placed Hornets this Saturday.