Honiton stage extraordinary comeback to bag vital win

Honiton rugby. Ref mscsp 48 17TI 3845. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton rugby. Ref mscsp 48 17TI 3845. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Honiton staged an extraordinary comeback to eventually win 35-20 on their visit to Plymstock Albion Oaks for what was a vital game in terms of keeping Honiton in the Tribute Cornwall and Devon top two, writes Jerry Rice.

Skipper Goulden won the toss and elected to give Oaks first use of wind and slope and the home side made the most of the advantage with a try after just five minutes!

Errors from Honiton were then punished again as the home flanker crossed from the wheeling scrum and the conversion was good to see the hosts into a 12-0 lead.

The Lacemen, possibly still suffering a ‘hangover’ from their exploits at Chesham seven days before, got on the scoreboard with a Tom Steer penalty, but a similar off-side offence at the opposite end of the pitch saw the home side make it 15-3 after 35 minutes.

Just before the break, from a line-out, the burly home centre burst through and an unconverted try followed for the Lacemen to troop off trailing 20-3!

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However, if another terrific turnout of travelling support were choking on their interval drinks contemplating a promotion bashing defeat, they were to prove unfounded concerns, for whatever was said during the break, it worked!

The Lacemen stepped up a gear from the restart.

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The scrum began to get the upper hand leading to a penalty dispatched by Steer to reduce the score to 20-6. Moments later Matt Baily won the ball against the head, leading to a try under the posts by Jason Hannay, converted by Steer.

Then, from a Plymstock lineout on halfway, as the ball was spun out along the backs it was intercepted by Alex Brooks, who had an unopposed run in under the posts. Steer added the extras, and suddenly the scores were level at 20-20.

On the hour mark the comeback was completed as an infringement at the ruck gave Steer a chance to kick the Lacemen into the lead for the first time in the contest.

As the clock ticked down, Honiton bagged that all-important bonus point when, with time running out, a lineout on halfway saw scrum half Phil Cook make a superb break carried on by Nathan Hannay and finished off by his brother Jason.

There was still time left, albeit injury time, for Will Tyers to race over on the right wing and the trusty boot of Steer completed the scoring.

After such a performance it was difficult to single out individual players, but the pack was immense against a big side, Jason Hannay was everywhere, Alex Brooks orchestrated things superbly, Olly Cave put in some immense tackles, Tom Steer missed only one kick all day and Phil Cook had one of his best days at scrum half.

The Ton has no room to relax as, to ensure promotion, they still need to bank three more five point wins in the remaining games.

However, the win against Plymstock ensured that Honiton will now meet them [Plymstock] in the Devon Intermediate Shield final at Allhallows on April 27, and there is still the small matter of the RFU Senior Vase semi-final at Portsmouth on Easter Saturday. Yes, so much still to play for this season for the Lacemen.

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