THE DEVON Under-16 League kicked off with a North Devon derby clash between Barnstaple and Bideford.
It was Barum who came out on top with Matt Morrish scoring two second-half tries in a 31-12 victory.
The rivals were locked at 5-5 at half time but Morrish's double and scores from Harry Bayliss and Will Knill saw last season's Devon Under-15 Cup winners make a good start in the new age group.
Bideford started strongly and scored an early try for Josh Lindo wide on the left.
The visitors continued to apply pressure but stout defence kept them out and Barnstaple began to get the better of the territory. With 20 minutes on the clock Tom Clark scored their first try following good work at a ruck by the forwards.
Barnstaple's strong bench gave them the advantage at the breakdown in the second half, with the quicker ball giving the backs more time to manoeuvre.
A good kick chase forced an error and Bayliss went over from the resulting scrum.
Morrish finished a well-worked move with a powerful run down the left.
Following another strong run by Morrish, Will Knill danced through from the 22-metre line to score the bonus-point try.
All three tries were converted by Matt Symons for a 26-5 lead.
Bideford rallied but were hit on the break when Morrish kicked into space and the ball bounced kindly into his hands to score in the corner.
Bideford forced numerous penalties in the closing stages, which brought a close-range try from Fraser Priest, converted by Billy Cockwill.