Barnstaple’s relegation worries took a turn for the worse after they lost 41-12 at Chinnor.
Losing to the second-placed promotion chasers – Barum’s fourth loss on the trot – was bad enough in its own right.
Wins for London Irish Wild Geese and Clifton only made Barum’s position worse as those results dropped them to one off the relegation places.
An eight-point cushion is some comfort, but it will need a couple of wins in the last five games to take the pressure off completely.
Jeremy Chugg, the chairman of rugby at Pottington, has a survival pathway mapped out.
“We’ve got five games to go – three home, two away – and the ones at our place we have to target for wins,” said Chugg.
“We have won at Tonbridge before so the trip there this Saturday is an opportunity for some points.
“Broadstreet and Wimbledon – the bottom two sides – have to come to us and they are games we have to win. Worthing we must target too.”
Barnstaple’s outing to Chinnor didn’t start too well as the kit bag was left behind and the team had to borrow a set of shirts from their hosts.
Ollie Mason and Gareth Evans travelled to the game independently, but their car broke down en-route and they didn’t get on the park until Barum were 10-0 down.
Worse was to follow when scrum-half Jordan Petherbridge went off on the half hour with what turned out to be a dislocated shoulder.
“That’s his season done which is a real problem for us as Jordan was only playing scrum-half because we have run out of number nines,” said Chugg.
“James Bath and Gwyn Parks have other commitments which largely rule them out, which is why Jordan had slotted in there.
“We will have to find a replacement from within the club as the transfer deadline for bringing new players in has long passed.”
Luke Berry, who has played much of the season at full-back, has featured at scrum-half before and may find himself asked to pull on the nine shirt.
Chinnor led 20-5 at half time, capitalising on a couple of Barnstaple yellow cards to increase their tally.
Forwards Ben Hilton and Gareth Evans went to the bin on 22 and 33 minutes respectively. Both cardings were followed by Chinnor tries.
Winger Mike McDonald scored one of them – the first of an eventual try hat-trick.
Will Topps went in for Barnstaple just before the break. Jake Murphy kicked the goal.
Chinnor added two more tries after the interval before Alfie Pennyfield scored a try wide out after coming off the bench. Chinnor still had two more tries in them.
Barnstaple are back on the road this weekend to mid-table Tonbridge Juddians.
It is a venue with happy memories for Barnstaple as they last went there two years ago to win the promotion play-off into National Two South. The Kent side followed them up the season after.