Hodge scores late winner on very special day at Honiton RFC

Honiton at home to Devonport. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhsp 7865-07-13TI To order your copy of this ph

Honiton at home to Devonport. Photo by Terry Ife ref mhsp 7865-07-13TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.midweekherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Honiton 20, Torquay 19 Honiton won an enthralling encounter at Allhallows on Saturday afternoon with a well deserved 20-19 victory over Torquay.

The large home crowd roared their approval as Honiton scored the match winning try in the last two minutes of the game on old boys day. President Dave ‘Stopper’ Todd had worked exceptionally hard to put on a memorable day, as he invited well over one hundred ex-players back to the club for the day!

They were treated to an entertaining game as the under dogs Honiton took on Torquay who sat third in the league before the fixture. Torquay won the toss and elected to play up the hill in the first half; that suited the home side as they kicked off down the hill, looking to set the tone of the game. Talk in the changing room before the game had focused on making an impact in the first twenty minutes of the game, and Honiton made significant inroads in the opening period with Hill, Dalton and Hannay all making good yards with ball in hand.

Torquay were caught off-side as Honiton rumbled on and, whilst Webber narrowly missed his first two kicks at goal, he nailed the third as Honiton looked to acquire an early lead. As the half progressed the seasiders struggled to get out of their own half and with the Honiton set piece working well, they had a decent foothold on the game. Webber knocked over another penalty from distance, and with ten minutes of the half remaining Honiton won a lineout from a Torquay clearance close to the half way line. Effective rucking down the fifteen channel on the right created a decent platform for Hyland at ten. He swung a long pass to Barratt who out paced his opposite number down the left hand fifteen channel. He drew the penultimate defender and found Thompson who raced to within five yards of the line. Thompson should good composure to pass back inside to Small who neatly finished from five yards out for an unconverted score.

Torquay knew they needed something before half time and from Honiton infringements they took play deep into the Honiton twenty two. Honiton defended particularly stoutly , as they knew how important this phase of the game was. Good work all round ensured the score stayed at 13-0 at the break as the Lacemen took a well deserved breather.

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Honiton, understandably, wanted to keep it tight at the start of the second half. However, the total opposite happened as they were penalised straight from the kick off. Torquay kicked to clubhouse corner and used their driving maul to good effect as they scored a five pointer. As the second half continued it was Honiton who were struggling to get out of their own half as the fishermen used their substantial runners to pound the Lacemen’s line. It took it’s toll and Torquay brought themselves within a point as they scored through their loose head prop from a succession of pick and go’s.

It was very much tit for tat in the middle of the park as Honiton looked to establish themselves on the game, but it was proving hard work up the slope without the ball!

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As the game entered the final ten minutes the intensity levels were as high as they had been all day. Honiton continued to repel Torquay and disrupt them as best they could. With three minutes to Torquay won another penalty which they again kicked to the corner. Rice did exceptionally well to bring down the maul before it had been started, and Honiton defended the left hand side of the field well. Play moved across to the right, just seven yards from the line. The Torquay skipper, playing at eight then made a telling line break and scored to the right of the posts for a converted effort that took Torquay 19-13 ahead with three minutes to go. Honiton were not about to let this one slip and talk under the posts was about they would play the last three minutes. From the kick off Torquay cleared, Selway retrieved the ball from Carnal and kicked back (why I don’t know as it was totally against what we’d agreed less than 60 seconds previously!). Fortunately for Honiton, Torquay elected to kick down field again. Guilbert gathered and spun the ball to Rice who was in the midfield. Things looked ominous as seven defenders were en route, but he did superbly to fend off two and race up field. He found Small who turned the full back inside out, and there was a little bit of magic in the air as he fed Hodge who scored to the left of posts to send the old boys wild on the touch line. Webber slotted the pressure conversion and Honiton had thirty seconds to hold on.

Huskins caught the re-start and the Lacemen kept it simple before Selway put the ball into the swimming pool to start a very good evening at Honiton Rugby Club. Many people travelled a long way to be part of the proceedings and it was a delight to be part of such a fantastic day.

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