Lacemen slip to first league defeat of the season

Honiton at home to Withycombe. Ref mhsp 40-17TI 1569. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton at home to Withycombe. Ref mhsp 40-17TI 1569. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Honiton saw their five match-winning start to the Tribute Cornwall and Devon campaign ended as they slipped to a 20-13 defeat at Allhallows to visiting Lanner, writes Keith Jenkins.

Honiton had the advantage of the Allhallows slope during the first period on a day when the breeze tended to negate the advantage the slope gave them, but really could not have got off to a better start!

Although they were pushed back at the first set scrum, they kept possession and attacked from the Lanner twenty five.

They remained on the front foot, recycling through the pick and drive several times, and eventually, lock Sam Coffey got over by the posts. Cave added the extras and Honiton led 7-0 after just two minutes of play.

The home side continued to cross the gain line, ball in hand and their job was made easier when one of the visitors was shown the yellow card for foul play, although I felt that his transgression owed more to do with clumsiness than intent.


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The home side continued to have the better of things during his absence but, after some fifteen minutes, Lanner showed their teeth when, after a Honiton player had fallen the wrong way after the tackle, they turned the ball over and set up an attack that took play some eighty yards up field.

Honiton did win the ensuing lineout, but were penalised for not releasing and Lanner kicked the goal after some 18 minutes of play.

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The visitors had worked their way into the game by this time and the contest remained even for a space.

Around the half hour however, Kidson made a decisive break from his own twenty five, beating several defenders before being checked on the Lanner twenty five. He had support and the off load should have come, indeed, if it had then Rice would have been in under the sticks. However, as it did not, the chance was lost!

A minute later Honiton conceded a penalty on halfway. Lanner kicked to the corner and won the lineout that followed, they sent the ball wide and one of their speedy backs got over halfway out.

They had kicked well from hand thus far and it came as a surprise when the conversion went wide. The score did give them a narrow lead, however, at 8-7.

The home side had been conceding far too many penalties for their own peace of mind, giving away both possession and territory.

They conceded another just before the break. Lanner kicked it to the corner. Having won the lineout, they sent the ball into midfield, recycled and switched and got over close to touch. This try too remained unconverted and Lanner led 13-7 at the halfway stage.

The home side did not start the second half all that well with a missed field kick, giving their opponents an attacking lineout in the home twenty five. However, Honiton did clear their lines eventually and took play back into midfield.

The game had become even more disjointed, certainly as far as Honiton were concerned, and progress was slow.

They seemed content to play close to the breakdown, in spite of the fact that the Lanner defence was coping with this method of attack.

They did get a couple of attacks going as the hour mark was approached and one culminated in a penalty award in front of the Lanner posts. Cave’s place kick was accurate and reduced the arrears to 10-13 with some 50 minutes gone.

Lanner continued to show themselves to be a useful outfit however, and launched an attack that took play deep into the home twenty-two before an infringement brought a halt. Then, with some 25 minutes left for play, the visitors found space down a very narrow side at a maul on halfway.

Their winger outstripped the cover, and cut a good angle to cross near the posts. The conversion was successful and Lanner were in control.

Honiton were not done however and they undertook a good passage of play in which Hannay was prominent, they was checked illegally just twenty yards from the visitors’ posts.

The referee showed his second yellow card of the game to the transgressor and Cave kicked the goal for good measure to take the score to 13-20 with 58 minutes gone.

Now a man down, the visitors compounded the felony a couple of minutes later by stepping offside on halfway. Honiton kicked well to the corner and won the ensuing lineout. They went again to the pick and drive but coughed up possession and, from the following scrum, were penalised.

The final few minutes were pretty turgid with the odd knock on and the odd wayward kick blighting the home effort rather. Much of the play took place in home territory and, although a Lanner player was shown a red card (I think it was his second yellow) with about five minutes left, Honiton could not capitalise and the game ended with the ball well inside the home half.

One had the feeling that Honiton were beguiled by their early success. Having scored a converted try, by picking and driving after just a couple of minutes, they continued to employ this tactic throughout with little variation.

Their handling too was far from exact and they failed to take advantage of the fact that they enjoyed numerical superiority for the best part of 30 minutes. Penalties were conceded in profusion and altogether it was not a good day at the office against a pretty useful outfit.

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