JAMES BATH showed hard work pays off as he helped Barnstaple hold on to fourth place in National League Three South West.
The scrum half finished a fine try to put Barum clear in the second half against Worcester Wanderers.
And despite a late try from the visitors, they secured a 24-19 win – their fourth in five games this season.
Bath, an England Colleges international from Wellington, joined Barnstaple last season as cover for Ben Vellacott and is now the first-choice No 9 as well as representing the University of Exeter.
Steve Perry, Barnstaple's joint head coach who also coached Bath at Exeter College, said: "He's got a great work ethic. He's playing at university and for us and is training quite a lot, which is perfect for him.
"He was a bit fresh last year but giving him a few games at the end of the season did him some good. He is getting better every week and I hope he'll continue."
Bath's try, converted by Will Topps, put Barnstaple 24-12 up and came after an end-to-end move. Rob Elliott broke from his own half and was brought down just short of the line where Bath picked up to score.
Winston James was denied a try by a forward pass so the game was still in the balance when Worcester's Chris Jenkinson scored and Mike Dodge converted to cut Barnstaple's lead to five points – but that proved to be enough.
"We dug in deep and managed to win the game – that was really pleasing," said Perry. "I wasn't worried we were going to lose but I would have liked to have got a more comfortable result."
Barnstaple had gone ahead within two minutes as Ryan Brend opened up the Worcester defence for James to score.
Topps converted but, after Tom Dodge had crossed for Worcester, Barum were relieved to see two penalty kicks go off target.
Bath was instrumental in their second try, scored by Topps on the overlap down the right wing. The full back added the conversion and a penalty for a 17-5 half-time lead.
James Gunther's try, converted by Mike Dodge, again cut the lead and Worcester were given more hope when home prop Mark Berry was yellow-carded.
The visitors' Johnny Dawson soon joined Berry in the sin bin, however, and Bath's try ensured Barnstaple stayed ahead.
"It was a shame we didn't get a bonus point, that's something the lads were frustrated about, but I would take a win any day over a bonus point," said Perry.