BARNSTAPLE’S director of rugby Kevin Squire felt Newton Abbot wriggled off the hook in the Devon derby at Rackerhayes.

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Newton were leading 11-7 with 57 minutes gone when prop James Tichias went off with a shoulder injury.

Tichias had come on in the tenth minute as a replacement for Alex Gale, who had been replaced at prop after complaining of dizzy spells and double vision.

Newton had no more front-row replacements left and were entitled to ask for un-contested scrums.

Referee Richard Harding applied the new rule introduced this season, which meant Newton had to play a man short for the remainder of the match.

Despite that handicap, the All Whites added to their tally to run out 17-7 winners.

Squire said it was a difficult defeat to take as going to uncontested scrums did Newton Abbot a favour.

“I was disappointed by the result and also the way that we lost,” said Squire.

“It was a good game of rugby in difficult conditions between two fully committed sides.

“The one area where we had a clear and obvious advantage was in the scrums – and Newton Abbot knew it. By going to uncontested scrums we were denied a possible platform to win the match.”

Barnstaple led 7-3 after 14 minutes thanks to a Toby Williamson try which was converted by Will Topps.

By the 22nd minute Newton Abbot were 8-7 up and went on to make the game safe with three more penalties from Rob Avery-Wright, who had been a Barnstaple transfer target at the end of last season.

Home record lost

LAST Saturday’s league and colts programme was almost entirely wiped out by bad weather.

Bideford’s match away to Wellington in the Western Counties Division was called off and has been refixed for this Saturday.

Likewise, Torrington will be hoping for better luck with the weather at Totnes in Devon One.

One of the few games to go ahead was South Molton’s meeting with Devon One leaders University of Exeter, which they lost 20-13.

South Molton, who had been unbeaten at home this season, fancied their chances against the students in the driving rain of North Devon but fell just short.

The students built a healthy lead in the first half, then defended well enough after the break to hold on to it.

They scored first through a try from Oli Ramagge, but the hosts cut the deficit through a Matt Monaghan penalty and were convinced they had gone in front when No.8 Dan Smith powered over the line.

South Molton’s players were adamant Smith had got the ball down but he was adjudged held-up.

The students extended their lead with two more tries before the break, a second for Ramagge and one from Bertie Haskins.

With the slope in their favour in the second half, South Molton kept the ball tight within the forwards and started to cause their visitors some problems.

Smith succeeded where he failed in the first half by going over for a push-over try, but Toby Bain responded with what proved to be a crucial try for the University.

The home side remained on the front foot and despite the amount of untidy ball coming from the breakdown they fashioned another try through Harry Kingdom.

Cup delay

South Molton’s Devon junior Cup game against Dartmouth this Saturday has been delayed as the Riversiders have a re-arranged league game against Topsham to fit in.

Ilfracombe will try again at home to Devon Two leaders Old Technicians.

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