Honiton dish up ‘best to date this season’ as Penryn are beaten

Honiton 1st XV at home to Penryn. Ref mhsp 08-17TI 7551. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 1st XV at home to Penryn. Ref mhsp 08-17TI 7551. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Having played well against second in the league the previous week, but ultimately emerged from the game with nothing, Honiton produced similar against lofty Penryn, but this time the Lacemen were rewarded with a splendid 25-12 success, writes Jerry Rice.

After winning the toss and opting to play up the Allhallows slope, the Lacemen spent the first 15 minutes without seeing much of the ball!

This was because the Cornish side launched wave after wave of attacks. A sixth minute uncoverted try made things look ominous for the home faithful.

However, the home side defended well and, despite not getting out of their half for all but five minutes of the half, the Honiton Honiton just couldn’t get out of their own half and no further points were shipped apart from a 15th minute try.

Indeed, having seemingly weathered the storm, the Lacemen struck themselves in the closing stages of the half.

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An undefended blind side was spotted by scrum half Philip Cooke who released Bill Baily up the narrow side and his inside pass to Ben Webber saw him in open space, he jinked his way to the line from a long run in. Ollie Cave converted and this bought the half time score to 12-7 in favour of the visitors who must have wondered during the break what more they could do to break the magnificent Honiton resolve.

The second half saw a big change in the contest! With the bit firmly between their teeth the Lacemen increased the tempo and fired into the opposition at every opportunity.

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The pack, who held their own up the slope, then started to shunt the Cornishmen about and, by disrupting their line outs as well, Honiton had much more possession and with astute kicks, kept Penryn pinned back in their half. Honiton’s first reward was a penalty that Cave slotted and then, with good ball from the forwards, Cave jinked through some weak tackling. He was hauled down just short of the line, but managed to get the ball away to the supporting Phil Bennett, who crashed over for a try. Cave converted and Honiton were ahead for the first time in the game!

Penryn hit back, but again the home defence was, to a man, superb and, from a series of good drives, Cave again had good ball to break blind and this time his jinking run went unchecked and he crossed for a great solo effort.

He converted to put Honiton out in front on 22-12. With time running out Honiton kicked a final penalty and maybe with their new found dominance they should have gone for the bonus point try, but the penalty kick sailed over and Honiton had achieved a remarkable comeback, winning 25-12 and scoring 19 unanswered points in the second half.

This was a great game to watch as it was a hard fought battle and the victory owed much to the defensive efforts in the first half when had another score been conceded heads might have dropped.

The opposition were big and good, but having weathered a storm in the first half it was clear Honiton wanted it more and especially in the second half when everything just clicked.

Honiton’s usual ball carries were on top from and this inspired others to produce their best and with the pack now capable of bully larger packs, survival chances are greatly improved.

Cave obviously had a big part to play in proceeding, but on a day when graft was the key, the Man of the Match award went to Tom Irish who made some big hits and carried.

That said, this was one of Honiton’s best performances in ages with everyone of the 18 who played stepping up to deliver the goods.

Honiton are far from out of the woods yet and they are often guilty of dwelling on what they’ve just done.

Make no mistake, this was a great win, but it must be put to bed and with a weeks break for league action they must prepare themselves for what will be a tough trip down to Penzance in a fortnights time.

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