Honiton 1st XV give up early advantage to Crediton

Crediton 31, Honiton RFC 22

Honiton slipped to third in the Devon and Cornwall league with a disappointing 31-22 defeat to Crediton in mid Devon.

In a game the Lacemen really could have won, they struggled to maintain parity in the scrummage in the final quarter. That combined with a couple of poor decisions and elementary errors meant that Honiton left with nothing.

It had started so well for Honiton as, having claimed the kick off, they soon worked their way into Crediton territory. The loose forwards were far more potent in the loose all day and Honiton were working their opponents across the park. They soon won a kickable penalty, and Channing knocked it over. The hosts were clearly rattled and Honiton kept their foot on the throttle.

With the lineout working well and the scrummage holding, Honiton carried well. With Rice, Hannay and Guilbert each carrying in quick succession to open the door, Channing exploited a gap in the gain line to touch down in the corner for a score he converted well from the touch line.

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Ten points up, Honiton began to infringe. They were penalised and Crediton gained a foot hold in the game. They caught and drove from a lineout and scrambled over for a score, before gaining another seven pointer moments later.

As the game moved towards half time, Honiton won a scrummage on the right hand side, in the Crediton territory. A set piece move in the back line set Rice into space and he drew the defence and offloaded out of the tackle to Dobson who raced over to touch down in the corner.

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Honiton had their noses in front at half time 15-14 and they were buoyed by their performance to that point. They knew the opposition pack was strong, so they knew it was all about keeping the penalty count down.

The second half started in the same fashion as the first, as Honiton dominated. Kicks were chased successfully and soon Honiton were in the red zone.

It was good to see Honiton moving the ball around the park with relative ease and tiring the opposition. Eventually, with a ruck to the right of the posts, skipper Rice picked and went straight through the middle of the ruck. No one was at home and he crossed to the right of the posts for a converted score that put Honiton 22-14 up.

Crediton responded with a penalty, but it was not long before Honiton were on their oppositions five yard line again. They battered away before winning a penalty in front of the posts. Honiton elected to go quickly, when perhaps they should have kicked for the three and a converted scores break. They recycled several times, but were eventually repelled as the game entered the final quarter.

The men in gold and black had their heads up after their positive defensive effort, and pressurised the Lacemen. Honiton’s set piece struggled, and Hannay was sent to the sin bin for persistent infringing. Crediton scored from close range, to put their noses in front and continued to use their superior scrum to provide themselves with decent ball and stifling anything Honiton could get.

Eventually, Honiton succumbed again and the home side’s robust eight crashed over for a converted score to seal the game.

Plenty to work on for next week.

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