Barnstaple, Paignton and Withycombe claim promotion

07 Apr 2020 12:26 | Devon RFU

BARNSTAPLE will be back in National League rugby next season after they were crowned champions of South West Premier.

Barum were relegated from National Two South on the final day of the season two years ago and last year missed out on an instant return by losing in the play-offs, but their return to tier four was officially confirmed on Friday evening.

The north Devon club had been left on tender hooks after league rugby below the Premiership was abandoned last month due to the coronavirus and they were unsure what was going to happen, despite sitting 18 points clear at the top of the table with just three games to play.

However, rather than null and void the entire season like football has done at semi-pro and amateur levels, the RFU decided to use home and away records of clubs over the campaign to decide the outcome of the final few fixtures.

Exmouth stay up in the South West Premier with a 10th-place finish, with only only Bracknell and Newbury going down.

Okehampton took fourth place in the league in their debut season, with Brixham fifth, Exeter University sixth and Ivybridge eighth.

Devonport Services missed out on promotion to the South West Premier after they were given fourth place in South West One behind Hornets, Thornbury and Lydney. Just seven points separated the top four in that division on the RFU’s formula.

Newton Abbot were relegated from South West One, along with Cleve.

Teignmouth and Kingsbridge came third and fourth in Western Counties West behind Wellington and St Austell, who were both promoted.

Cullompton finished bottom of Western Counties West and so suffered a second successive relegation. Saltash went down with them.

Paignton have been promoted to Western Counties West after they took second place in the Cornwall/Devon League behind Truro on the RFU’s formula.

However, they were just 0.37 of a point ahead of Plymstock Albion Oaks, who took third place.

Exeter Athletic and South Molton were relegated from the Cornwall/Devon League, with Withycombe returning to that division as champions of Devon One.

In women’s rugby, Cullompton came third in Championship Two South West, with Plymouth Albion sixth in the eight-team division. Both will be playing in the same league next year.

Newton Abbot finished top of National Challenge One South West, but missed out on promotion due to the lack of play-offs. Topsham and Plymstock Albion Oaks both stay in that division.

Devonport Services finished second in Challenge Two South West (West) behind winners Penryn. Exeter Athletic came third, with Crediton fifth, Withycombe sixth, Bideford eighth and Totnes ninth.