FORMER Barnstaple captain Phil Gordon has backed the leadership of current skipper Winston James.
James, the 21-year-old back-row forward, was appointed to the role in the summer.
He has been in outstanding form in the first half of the National Three south west season.
And Gordon, who led the team from 2006 to 2011, has been delighted to see James continue to perform despite the extra responsibility.
"Winston James becoming captain was a brilliant idea," said Gordon. "I was right behind him getting it.
"He leads by example and is really passionate about it.
"Last season there were so many times he lifted our heads.
"I texted him to congratulate him when I heard the news. I said, 'Don't forget to keep playing as you have been – that's why you were picked'.
"He gets better and better with every game."
Gordon, the 33-year-old prop, made his third appearance of the season on Saturday as Barnstaple lost 17-7 at Newton Abbot.
Barum felt they were denied the chance of victory when, trailing 11-7 in the 57th minute, uncontested scrums were called because of injuries to two of the home side's front-row forwards.
Kevin Squire, the Barnstaple director of rugby, said: "At that time we were so dominant we were being awarded a penalty at practically every scrum."
Squire enjoyed an "intriguing game" and had nothing but praise for his players.
"I thought we played really well, I was very proud of the boys," he said.
"It wasn't great for the spectators but it was one of the most complex games I have been involved with as a coach.
"Everything went according to plan – their plan and ours."
The same could not be said of a journey home that did not end until about 11pm after the windscreen wipers on the bus failed twice.
With no fixture this weekend, Squire has given the squad a week off to "ease the bumps and bruises".
A scan has confirmed that Josh Squire, Barnstaple's leading points scorer, damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the win over Malvern 12 days ago.
Bude and South Molton were the only other sides from the region to beat the bad weather on Saturday. Bude won at Tavistock, while Molton lost at home to Exeter University.