Honiton drove way into cup contention

Honiton RFC 1st XV reached the next round of the National Junior Vase on Saturday after a convincing win over Cornish side Bodmin.

Honiton RFC 1st XV reached the next round of the National Junior Vase on Saturday after a convincing win over Cornish side Bodmin.

Although Honiton maintained control for the majority of the game it was a curate's egg of a game.

Both sides were obviously short of match practice and that showed as basic errors hampered both teams throughout. As it was, Honiton ensured their unforced errors were kept to a minimum in the second half, allowing scrum half Nex to kick 12 second half points to guide his side to victory.

Bodmin won the toss and elected to play up the slope in the first half and, although Honiton did exert good patches of pressure, it was the away side who were first to score as they converted two penalty opportunities within the first quarter.

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Honiton couldn't quite get out of third gear as they tried too often to force the pass out of contact, when a 'route one' mentality was required. As it was, Honiton pressed for the rest of the half and probably would have scored earlier had they been more clinical with their finishing. The back line drifted a little in attack making it easy for the moorlanders to defend.

The home side knew that they had it in them, however, and kept their heads raised high, pushing for the bottom corner. Bodmin were penalised for offside five yards out and captain Hannay elected for a scrum. It was the right choice as Honiton's robust pack pushed Bodmin back over the line and Hannay dotted down from number eight. A pushover try, in January, in clubhouse corner? It can only be Honiton cup rugby.

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Nex converted coolly from the 15m line to edge his side into the lead.

Bodmin's response was immediate, however, as they turned over the kick off and their inside centre coolly slotted a drop goal from outside the 22 taking the score to 7-9 at the break.

Honiton knew that the game was in their own hands and, given a few technical tweaks, that they would be ok. And so it proved to be, less kicking, less errors and fewer infringements turned the game in Honiton's favour.

With the side now committed to training twice a week, the team looked more cohesive, and, from a lineout in their own 22, Honiton ran the ball into the Bodmin 22 with controlled running rugby. On a day when Nex didn't miss a kick, he quickly took the score to 16-9 after the break.

With nothing to lose, Bodmin rallied and looked to get back in the tie. Honiton had other ideas and defended their line superbly, countering narrow attacks with bodies defending on the line.

Bodmin won a penalty, but conceding three was better then seven for the Lacemen. With the score at 16-12 they were again forced into some resolute defending. Bodmin came at the home side again, and again Honiton conceded a kickable penalty. The visiting kicker hit the posts, however, and Spiller and De Large cleared the danger between them.

Honiton twisted the knife as they pressed up field with some sensible kicking. Nex was on target again shortly afterwards with another fine kick to secure a place in the next round.

There were notable contributions all over the field and the bench played their part to with Garmen, Lane, Owen and Selway all coming on.

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