Honiton 2nds edged out by Ilfracombe

Rugby ball.

Rugby ball. - Credit: Archant

Honiton 2nds were edged out 29-22 in a close encounter with Ilfracombe at Allhallows, writes Tom Churchward.

The visitors, who are favourites to lift the Devon Merit Table Two NE title this season, played with the slope in their favour in the first half and started with real intent.

The Lacemen found themselves being shunted back in the scrum and, after conceding a number of penalties, fell behind to a try out wide.

The home response was excellent and good hands from the backs resulted in Wez Keywood crossing for the first Honiton try of the game.

Ilfracombe hit back, but were thwarted by some resilient home defence before a second Ilfracombe try. In an end-to-end first half, a good break from Keywood led to winger Joe Keep sprinting clear to the line and the half-time whistle was blown with the visitors holding a narrow 12-10 lead.

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Playing towards the club in the second half, Honiton were guilty of a poor tackle which allowed the opposition to score and go 19-10 up. The Lacemen were soon back on the front foot and the visitors began to feel the pressure, perhaps for the first time in a while, and they were forced to make a number of mistakes.

Honiton took full advantage and, from some good phases, Ben Morris crossed the whitewash.

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Ilfracombe stepped up a gear to score again and hold a 24-15 lead, but Honiton continued to work hard and they were rewarded with a Dan Garman try, which was converted to close the score to 24-22 with 10 minutes remaining.

Ilfracombe then threw ‘the kitchen sink’ at Honiton, but the home defence stood up to the onslaught only for the visitors, with five minutes remaining, to score the game’s final try to seal a narrow success.

Clearly, the visitors trooped off the Allhallows pitch knowing they had been made to work for their latest victory.

In a terrific Honiton performance, the back row of the Pullman brothers and Austin Elliot covered lots of yards and worked hard from first minute to last.

Elliot Perrett looked strong and delivered some big hits, but it was definitely the Ton backs that had the edge and looked dangerous when they could get the ball.

Garman and Keywood were the standout players and, with four colts in the ranks, this was a good show against what is, after all, a first XV outfit!

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