Honiton end long wait for win with a superb victory over lofty opposition

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

Honiton’s season-long wait for a first win ended – and in some style – as the Lacemen defeated Old Public Oaks 9-6, writes Jerry Rice.

Honiton’s season-long wait for a first win ended – and in some style – as the Lacemen defeated Old Public Oaks 9-6, writes Jerry Rice.

What makes the victory all the more remarkable was that the visitors pitched up at Allhallows sitting a lofty third in the Tribute Cornwall and Devon League table having won their last five matches in a row, and the Lacemen had been forced to reshuffle their starting XV as they had no fewer than 11 injuries to deal with!

The Lacemen elected to play up the Allhallows slope in the first half and they started brightly with purposeful attacks.

The opposition stood firm and the first half was very much a case of ‘even-steven’ in terms of possession of the ball.


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Honiton’s ten, Ollie Cave, broke the deadlock on the 15 minute mark with a well-struck penalty.

The visitors matched that five minutes later, but there the Honiton defence was superb as they made some terrific tackles and half-time arrived with the teams locked at 3-3.

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After the break, with the slop in their favour, the Lacemen started to get the upper hand.

The scrum worked hard all game and, as the half went on, they were shunting the heavier opposition pack around! Indeed they pushed them so much that, on the 20 minute mark, the visitors were forced to go to uncontested scrums as they ran out of fit front row players!

This usually kills any advantage a side had, but the new ruling of having to drop a player if you do opt for this, helped Honiton.

Cave added two penalties to given the Lacemen a 9-3 lead, but the visitors hit back with a second penalty of their own.

The final 10 minutes were nerve racking, but Honiton did have the upper hand and they pressed.

They were unlucky not to score when influential number eight Josh Rice was denied by a last-ditch tackle.

The relief when the final whistle went was clear to see, but it was a win which was so important for moral!

Honiton deserved the win, and, despite the narrow 9-6 score line, any neutral supporter who watched the game would support the view that the Lacemen were the better side on the day.

The pack, to a man, worked hard to dominate throughout, and the coal face crew of Logan, Irish and Baily did a job on their opposite numbers.

Stand-in second row Tom Churchward, was well looked after by Louie Lane, but was out on his feet at the end, having given his all for the team.

The backs, well-marshalled by Cave, looked good with ball in hand, but the Man of the Match award went to Tom Irish who was picked out for all his hard work in a full 80 minute shift.

Yes, there were mistakes, and Honiton did spill the ball which put pressure on them and the line outs spluttered a bit, but when you pull off a win against all the odds you can gloss over the imperfections for the day and have a smile for once.

This win takes Honiton off the bottom of the table and opens a chink of light in the battle to avoid relegation.

On Saturday (December 3) it’s a case of ‘back down to earth’ as the team travel for a tough fixture at second placed Saltash.

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