Best effort shows Honiton progression

On a fine October Saturday afternoon, Honiton seconds entertained Newton Abbot in a merit table clash. In what proved to be a dramatic and painful finale for the Lacemen, they lost out 27-28, writes Tom Churchward.

Both teams went into the game in fine form and it was the visitors who started strongest. After some strong work by their forwards they crashed over twice to gain a 12-0 advantage after 10 minutes. Honiton have learnt of late not to drop their heads and this spirit was shown when Chris Sampson brushed off several would be tacklers to score under the posts, a try which he converted.

The game became very open and Newton Abbot slotted over a penalty. Honiton then cancelled this out with a delightful drop goal from the in form Sampson. And he broke through the defensive line, for some good hands by the backs to allow Rich Pearce to cross over, the conversion being missed. Further ill discipline from the Laceman allowed the All Whites to slot over a further three points, leaving the half time score 18-15 to the away team.

Knowing the game was theirs to win, Honiton started brightly and directly from the kick off some good work from Robert Price allowed Ben Clark to collect and run over. The conversion was slotted.

The momentum was with Honiton and as they continued to attack out wide. Dan Garman found space to cross over, with the conversion being missed. At this stage the game turned into a physical battle and determined not to lose out, Newton Abbot crossed over. With the score 27-23 to Honiton and only 10 minutes remaining, Honiton knew that further try would put the game to bed.

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Honiton thought they had secured this when Dean Norman crossed over but for some reason this was harshly disallowed. This was followed by a sin binning for Matt Olive, and with only 14 man, Honiton were hanging on. A scrum defence on the Honiton five metre line was turned over by the impressive Ben Clark, and in a stroke of bad luck, the kicked clearance made its way all the way down to the oppositions’ dead ball line, resulting in another scrum for the visitors. An infringement at the scrum allowed a quick tap and go and in what was the last play of the game, Newton Abbot passed it out wide to cross - 27-28 to the visitors.

Whilst this was a painful ending to a game which could have easily gone the other way, all credit must go to the Honiton players in what was arguably their best performance of the season. Against one of the toughest teams in the league, this game showed how far Honiton have come on this year. Man of the match went to Ben Clark who was outstanding in the scrum all day.

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