Honiton rugby round-up

20:12 31 October 2012

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Torquay 25, Honiton RFC 1st XV 12

Honiton put on a brave performance in Torquay on Saturday afternoon, eventually going down 25-12 at the seaside, writes Nick Guilbert.

As the final whistle went Torquay knew they’d been in a game, and Honiton knew they have what it takes to get off the bottom of this league. The final exchanges were as frantic as the first.

Torquay have been brushing teams aside with relative ease of late, but struggled to break down a stubborn Lacemen outfit as the East Devon side put in the sort of performance that provides an appetite for the rest of the season. The gulf in facilities, personnel and history between the two sides is more than substantial, and Torquay set about the game in the belief that the Lacemen would roll over. The home side, with the wind behind them, found themselves in Honiton territory very early and, when they won a penalty for offside in front of the posts, they arrogantly kicked to the corner in a bid to go for the seven points. Honiton showed their resilience, turned the ball over, and broke down field as Hyland gathered a Meadows high ball.

Selway found Meadows again, and he prodded the ball well down field to take play to the Torquay 22 within a minute. Torquay escaped from danger before winning a penalty on the half way. A decent place kick put the home side three ahead, but Honiton were undeterred.

Honiton kept possession for long periods, frustrating Torquay, but they used their robust pack to set a decent platform and put play into Honiton territory. From a lineout they worked the ball in field before shipping the ball back towards the touchline where they exploited a miss match to score a five pointer. The conversion was missed. Torquay had a head of steam and dotted down for a second time 10 yards right of the posts.

The set piece went well for the Lacemen and Small, although playing on the flank, threw into the lineout well to give platform for the backs. Honiton rallied and with Hannay gathering the kick off they progressed across to the right of the field. More good forward work set a platform for Barratt to break the gain line, but a lack of support saw the ball lost in the contact zone.

Five minutes before the break Torquay scored another try - at 20-0 at half time it had been a reasonable half for the Lacemen given the strength of the wind.

Immediately at the start of the half Honiton gained good territory and pressed the home side. Honiton were defending resolutely when necessary and, with the scrummage working well, Meadows kicked well and put his side around the field. Good rucking on the left gave Barratt room to outpace his opposite number and, although the full back did get to him, it did not stop him crossing in the right hand corner for a try that was converted excellently by Meadows.

Shortly afterwards Meadows had a penalty shot from the half way that bounced back off the crossbar and, following their escape, Torquay moved upfield and eventually crossed for the unconverted try that sealed the game.

Honiton pressed on. They defended their five yard line again and well, before moving to the half way where Barratt made excellent yards down the left. He looked odds on to score but the full back got his man two yards out. Honiton made a hash of recycling the ball but kept the pressure on. Eventually it told as Webber received a long pass and showed great footwork to round his man and cross in the corner.

Torquay 29, Honiton RFC 2nd XV 19

Honiton seconds travelled with the first XV on Saturday to play Torquay’s second string and, as is the problem with away games nowadays, were a little light on numbers.

Much work from the tireless efforts of skipper Churchward, ensured they went with the bare 15 for what was on paper a foreboding task and not helped when they were greeted with the massive opposition limbering up and ready to dish out a pasting.

As is often the case when faced with adversity, this brings out the best in people and this was no exception as Honiton defied the odds with a rousing performance in a game they could, maybe, have won! Playing with the assistance of the gale in the first half, Honiton had a dream start when an early try was dotted down by Alex Davis after a fine run from Ben Dobson. Honiton were a little shocked with the ease with which they scored and from the poorly fielded restart were guilty of gifting the opposition a try.

Despite this set back Honiton pressed hard and, with the impressive Dobson and the ever youthful Duncan Cousens making a welcome return, they more than helped to make Honiton look dangerous every time they had the ball. Honiton got on the score sheet again when a blind side break and a neat dummy by the youthful 10 put Reece McGrath in for a well-deserved try. Honiton then lost skipper Churchie to injury and, with true sportsmanship, Torquay lent then a big replacement. Unfortunately Torquay scored soon after this but at the break Honiton were ahead 12-10 and were in with a shout rather than sitting on the expected drubbing.

The second half was backs to the wall stuff though the gale pinned Honiton back every time they lost possession and with the obvious weight advantage the home side rumbled in three close range push over scores. Honiton kept pressing and were rewarded with a long range try from Dobson and Torquay didn’t sit comfortably until the final whistle as Honiton always looked dangerous. They did hold on for the win by 29-19 but it was a close game which I imagine was enjoyed by all.

Dobson was undoubtedly the pick of the bunch. However well done to all as this was a great team effort from young and old with a good bit of banter as well.

it was nice to see people with smile on their faces afterwards!

Devon county U16 rugby is worryingly struggling, with many sides being unable to fulfil fixtures and, on Sunday, at short notice, Honiton were let down again by their original opponents. However, a hasty phone call saw them manage to get a friendly game against Exmouth who had also lost their fixture, writes Paz Parrott.

Exmouth 34, Honiton U16s 24

Unfortunately a few illness calls and other plans made because of the original cancellation saw Honiton travel with the bare 15 which meant several had to play out of position. This told as Exmouth were in top gear straight away with an early try. Honiton steadied the ship with a well-worked try dotted down by Josh Dean but for the remainder of the half were under pressure and leaked three tries to turn round 22-5 down.

Honiton dug deep and were right back in it when Dean Patch helped himself to a brace of tries. Ben Kidson kicked one conversion. Exmouth though used their ample number of subs to add fresh legs and they scored again but in a ding-dong match acting skipper Finn Parrott pulled a score back. It was a tense finish but unfortunately Exmouth scored again and this put the game beyond reach and Honiton went down 34-24.

Given it was a scratch side Honiton performed well and the Man of the match award went to the Under 15s player Will Tyers for stepping in at the very last minute.

Honiton U13s 17, Teignmouth U13s 19

On a bleak autumnal day the Honiton team came out with renewed verve, only to see the visitors steal an early lead.

Undeterred, they set about them with good, direct attacking play, which saw parity quickly achieved, and further tries apiece before halftime gave Honiton a chance.

The second half gave witness to a Honiton lead which looked to be the game settler until a cruel twist ahead of the final whistle culminated in a converted try for the visitors. The results are sure to come after such a positive display. Try scorers: Ben Phillips, Jacob Rabjohns and Sam Phillips; conversion Jack Katene 1.

Honiton U9s 15, Chard U9s 5

Honiton under 9s travelled to Chard this week where they were met with a team that was determined to avenge their loss last week.

Honiton started well, scoring two quick tries through Joe Evans, who was as strong in defence as he was in attack.

Some strong running by Cody Floyd and Osian Owen put Tim Goody and Josh Giles in for further tries, their combined efforts in defence securing each of them man of the match awards.

A loss of focus led to missed tackles and a sniff for the opposition but the ‘Lacelads’ held on for victory.

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