Honiton well beaten at third placed Kingsbridge

Honiton away to Withycombe. Ref mhsp 20 18TI 3232. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton away to Withycombe. Ref mhsp 20 18TI 3232. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Saturday saw the Ton on the road making the tricky trip down to third placed Kingsbridge who boast an un beaten run at home with some impressive score lines as well.

Honiton were able to field a relatively strong side and given last week's narrow win they did feel relatively confident of giving a good account of themselves. Conditions were very good and whist a tad chilly the sun was out so all was set for a good afternoons rugby.

Honiton got the game under way and having re-gathered the ball form the start they made inroads and for the first 5 minutes exchanges were even. Honiton's Ollie Cave slotted over a penalty to put Honiton on the score board first and things looked ok. Unfortunately, a scrum on the halfway saw Honiton penalised and a kick to the corner saw Kingsbrigbe rumble over after several aggressive pick and goes and with the kick going over Honiton were also hampered when Ross Watts had to leave the field with a wrist injury. Honiton got back into the game but after a good passage of play another unforced error saw the ball given back to the home side who swept down the field and their strong outside centre was able to dummy a pass and get over in the corner. The kick sailed over and Honiton were reeling. Further problems ensued for the Ton as Hooker Sam Olive had to leave the field with a shoulder injury. A speculative kick from the home 10 down field was fumbled by Honiton at the back and the South Devon side were gifted their third try. The story of woe continued as Ben Kidson had to be help off with a serious ankle injury and with 20 minutes gone, Honiton's subs bench was already empty and they were obviously disrupted. Honiton did show some intent and made inroads but the fact was any mistakes were dealt with ruthlessly and the South Devon side added the bonus point score on the 30 minute mark.

Half time came and the score was 28-3 and reality was Honiton hadn't really played that badly and it was just the fact the home side were clinical when they got the ball and the score perhaps just didn't reflect the general pattern of play . Honiton regrouped and did play with intent but the same problems occurred and again mistakes were punished and within ten minutes the home side were two more scores up. Honiton were left with no option but to chance their arm and actually they did often make inroads, Jake Smith had a couple of good breaks and a good passage of play saw a well worked try scored form the hard working Ben Small and with Cave slotting the extras, there was something for the small band of Honiton supporters to cheer. This cheer was short lived as the ruthless home side kept using the ball well and scoring! Honiton cause was further hampered when Jonny House was binned for a team penalty and the man advantage was exploited well by Kingsbridge.

Honiton afternoon was summed up when after a great attack that saw them sweep down the field and looking odds on to score but the ball was lost and from the scrum the visitors again exploited the man advantage up the narrow side and they went the length of the field to score again and to add to the miserable afternoon an interception try saw the home side gifted the final score as the whistle went.

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"Oh dear" was the comments afterwards but the difficultly was Honiton hadn't really played that badly and for some parts of the game they showed good intent and it felt like the score did really reflect the general passage of play however having said that, with a 10-1 try ratio it would be churlish to say anything else but… this was a drubbing and the fact was the home side looked very impressive in all departments and on home territory, I think they will be difficult to beat this season. It's also clear if you cough the ball up to good sides, you don't get it ball back and invariable the onslaught ends with a try.

There were some good performances for many of the Ton players, Cave who is having a good season looked good and the trio of Rice, Small and Goulden were perhaps the pick of the bunch up front but on what was a difficult afternoon all round, I think it's fair to say the Ton were out classed on this occasion.

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