BARNSTAPLE under-16s travelled to Taunton expecting a competitive game – and that was exactly how it turned out with a 26-26 draw.
Barum were trailing by seven points with five minutes to go but they did not give up and continued pressure by the forwards resulted in Shane Sexon storming over from a ruck.
Matthew Symons coolly landed the conversion to level the scores.
After Matt Morrish opened the scoring with an early try for Barnstaple, it was Taunton who led at the break with two tries putting them 12-5 up.
Barum came out firing in the second half and Morrish quickly ran in a solo effort, which was converted by Symons.
Ten minutes later, quick hands by the backs saw Morrish go over for his hat-trick try, again converted by Symons.
Leading 19-12, Barum continued to dominate territory and had opportunities to score. But with ten minutes to go an interception five yards out saw Taunton kick up field, win the resulting ruck and kick again to force a touchdown in-goal. From the resulting scrum the fly half scored under the posts and the conversion made it 19-19.
Taunton then launched an attack from inside their own half and put the right wing away to score a converted try – but it was not quite enough.
Bideford's teamwork, handling and continuity proved too much for Crediton's defence in a 65-0 win.
Crediton travelled several players short and were topped up by Bideford players to ensure the game went ahead.
The home side turned around 49-0 ahead at half time. Crediton never gave up and went close to scoring on several occasions while restricting Bideford to 16 points in the second half.
Micheal Smith (three), Taylor Sargeant (two), Josh Lindo (two), Freddie Palmer, Josh Salmon, Bradley Newton Clarke and Reece Pearn scored tries, with conversions from Pearn (three), Billy Cockwill and Palmer.
Danny Southworth inspired Barnstaple under-15s to a 27-17 win over Exeter Saracens.
Barum started brightly but were unable to break through the visiting defence until Southworth picked up the ball on the 22 and burst through a number of defenders to crash over for a try. This seemed to be the drive Barnstaple needed and, using their forwards as a platform, they scored again through Ed May.
A Noah Stevens try was sandwiched by Saracens scores, which cut Barum's lead to 15-12, but they shone in the closing stages to run out winners.
Joel Anderson, commanding the play from fly half, scored a try, quickly followed by another from Josh Samat, which was converted by Tom Squire.
Now playing for pride, Saracens hit back with a third try and had another disallowed for an off-the-ball incident.
Bideford got their season under way with a hard-fought match at Crediton that ended in a 38-19 defeat. Their three tries came from Sam Musselwhite (two) and Harry Merritt, with two converted by Joe Tyrrell.
Barnstaple under-14s stormed to a 45-0 win away to Exeter Saracens with tries by Jack Marelli (two), Callum Hughes, Bertie Stretch, Ross Swales, Connor Robson and Dan Cattermole. Five were converted by Stan Wilks.
Bideford under-13s' first away game, against Crediton, produced some fine running, much-improved rucking and a 68-10 victory.
The top scorer was Callum Vingoe with five tries and three conversions. Other tries came from Toby Craven, Zackary Henstridge, Rafael Rands Silva and Conner Parr.
Although Bideford had the stronger side, Crediton fought back valiantly in the second half to produce a more challenging game.
Bideford captain Alessandro Aliberti, who was also a scorer, ensured his team's sportsmanship was a credit to the club.