Long stars as Honiton Colts are beaten late on at Barnstaple

Barnstaple 37, Honiton 24 Honiton Colts travelled up to the Barum ground in Barnstaple to what was to be an end to end game of two halves, writes Paz Parratt

Honiton took the kick to start the game and with Barnstaple being a well drilled outfit they were able to play the ball around the park and out to the wing where they landed a cheeky try in the corner after just a few minutes on the clock, Honiton not being too upset about the early score, redressed the balance shortly after as Johny House was able to take a lone ball from the 22 through the home sides defence to level the score. For the next ten minutes or so it was tit for tat, end to end rugby. Eventually the deadlock was broken with the Lacemen playing some excellent rugby the home sides defence was breached with Cody Northcott taking the ball wide and crossing the hallowed line to take the Lacemen in front after some 20 gruelling minutes. The Lacemen took the game to Barnstaple from here, controlling the ball well with some good phases of set play. With sustained pressure applied from Honiton, Barnstaple struggled to defend and Ben Kidson was able to collect a well delivered offload to cross the white wash expanding the Lacemen’s tally by a further 5. The game was restarted and Barnstaple were quick to answer, spinning the ball out it was gathered by the centre who ran in a long distance try. With the break being called and Honiton leading 17-12 they looked confident of a long awaited win. Unfortunately Barnstaple’s squad can never be under estimated and as they had an abundance of players available, tactical changes were made to restart the match. With their fresh legs being fielded Barnstaple were able to take more control and a quick crash ball found the line under the posts. The conversion was also good taking them back in front by 2 points, disappointingly they were allowed in again soon after to widen the gap even more. With the game still in sight Honiton fought back and attacked well from deep within the field with some good solid pod work. The ball was released and Jake Smith was able to collect and find the line well in range of Harry Wrights boot taking the score back to within 2 points of Barnstaple 26-24. With only seven minutes left on the clock, both teams felt a win was on the cards. But alas it was the Lacemen Colts who were again punished and a couple of back to back penalties being kicked successfully from the home side, took the score beyond a try and conversion. Digging deep Honiton desperately tried to set the ball up ready to be received by the backs but Barnstaple’s defence stood firm and spoilt any chance of delivery. With time on their side Barnstaple chose to slow the ball down and twisting the knife for the last time they scrambled across the line to knock home the final nail with less than a minute of play left. The game finished a fair but disappointing 37-24. Man of the match went to Connor Long for his unrivalled work rate and complete commitment in defence.

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