Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Honiton recorded bonus point 43-15 win at Exeter Saracens on Saturday, in their final away game of the league campaign, writes Nick Guilbert.
Saracens have been struggling a little of late, but they started brightly and put Honiton under pressure in the opening period. Their centre combination of Hilton and Cowley caused the Lacemen a few issues in the first half, but Honiton’s defence stood strong.
Where Saracens had struggled to penetrate the Honiton line, the Lacemen were much more potent in possession. Ollie Rice countered well, and with Barratt on his shoulder he offloaded for his out side centre to cross for the opening score.
Honiton knew they could do damage with ball in hand, and with the home side focusing on disrupting the break down, Honiton moved the ball wider to find space. More good handling from the back division saw Cave end up in space down the right. He crossed the whitewash unopposed in the right corner for a try that Thompson did well to convert.
Honiton were looking dangerous and Barratt bagged his second to give the visitors a 17 point lead. Saracens broke back into the game as Honiton committed some unforced errors, and gave away needless penalties.
Saracens retain the ball well, and when in Honiton’s red zone they carefully plugged away with cautious rugby to score on their left. Saracens rallied and kept Honiton under the hammer. More indiscipline, saw Saracens camped on the Honiton line for several scrumages, and whilst Honiton stood strong at the set piece, they were undone after a couple of phases out wide.
The visitors realised that they had spent the previous ten minutes underperforming, they upped the intensity following the next kick off. The open areas were suiting Honiton and when Thompson tapped and went, the space was down left. The backs made progress before the pack took over with some tight pick and goes. Hill burrowed over as Honiton re-established themselves.
At half time Honiton knew that it was up to them to keep up the momentum and hold out Saracens. As it was Saracens came out well in the second half and camped in Honiton’s twenty two. Honiton had to defend for a sustained period of time, eventually poor handling let Honiton off the hook.
Honiton again showed their potency with Josh Rice finishing off an excellent move in open play to the right of the posts. Thompson converted, but Sarries came back with their full back scoring an unconverted effort from a quick tap on the Honiton twenty two.
The Lacemen wanted to put it to bed in the last ten and they pulled well clear when they re-gathered the re-start. Lane scored a perfectly legitimate try only for it to be pulled back. The referee deemed that he had not got the ball down, but he had. Sometimes that happens. Rice scored from an eight pick from the base of the five yard scrum. Thompson did the honours, and Honiton scored again with the last play as good work in the centres saw Barratt break through again and fed Ollie Rice who scored under the posts. Thompson finished the scoring, and it was ice packs all round post-match!