Honiton beaten on the road at Saltash

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9443. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9443. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Saturday saw the Ton travel down to Plymouth and they crossed the Tamar to play fellow league strugglers Saltash. Honiton were yet again disrupted with un-availability which never helps with important games on the road.

Given the recent wet weather the pitch was heavy and Honiton were asked to play up the filed. Despite the conditions both sides tried to throw the ball about and early exchanges were fairly even and it was clear it would be a close encounter. Honiton broke the dead lock after a period of sustained pressure and after a series of penalties skipper Louis Groves elected to go for goal and Ollie Cave duly obliged.

Honiton had several more attacks but their line out struggled and often good positional ground was lost. A good attack from the home side saw the ball swung left and they broke the defensive line and then a mix up with a gang tackle saw the strong winger breakthrough for the first try of the game.The extras were added and despite Honiton making inroads the score remained the same at the break at 7-3.

Turning round Honiton had the slight slope advantage and they started brightly. They scored a good try in the first ten minutes when a ball spun along the line saw Will Tyers break the gain line, he fed Kyle Blackmore who crossed out wide. The extras were missed but Honiton now had that slim lead. Honiton pressed and then a crucial event occurred as kickable penalty was taken quickly and despite nearly scoring from the ensuing rucks the attack was repelled on the homes sides line and a handing error saw a turn over ball and the effective clearance saw the ball end up close to Honiton's line and disappointingly the Cornishmen capitalised on this and got their second try and which they also converted to go back out in front at 14-8 which was frustrating as Honiton were looking much more in control of proceedings.

The last 15 minutes were nothing but frustrating for the traveling faithful as Honiton had the loins share of the play and despite often being in good scoring positions with patient build ups, handling errors and turn overs cost them dear and the home side held on to their slender lead and they will have been relieved when the whistle went for no side as they were under the cosh.

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It was desperately disappointing because Honiton looked the stronger of the two teams at the end and they should have scored in the final quarter. The line outs were a concern as this often meant good attacking position were lost. It just seems Honiton get no breaks at the moment and this narrow lost is the second game that they should have won. Mistakes at critical times was the key factor. Despite the disappointment there were some bright spots and there were several good passages of play with several involved. For me once again it was Ben Small who was the stand out player with several good breaks and key defensive turnovers.

Again… it's got to be a case of moving on and they have another tough game next week with the visit of Teignmouth as they move into the second half of the season.

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