Rice unlucky to see red as Goulding inspires Lacemen to fine victory at Penzance

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 did not let the fact that their trip to Penzance involved the longest journey of the campaign get the better of them as they returned from Cornwall with a bonus point victory after winning the match 31-21, writes Nathan Hannay.

Playing on the main Pirates pitch, weather conditions were good, but it was still a very sticky surface given all the recent rain.

Honiton started brightly and good pressure saw the home side penalised within kicking distance. Honiton spurned the opportunity to kick, opting instead for a kick to touch to push for an early try.

However, touch was missed and the ‘chance’ to open the scoring went begging.

Penzance hit back and worked their way up-field with some patient play that ended with them crashing over for the opening score of the game.

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There was then a yellow card offence for one of the Cornish playerS and the Lacemen took full advantage and a well-constructed break ended with Ollie Hyland dotting down.

Ollie Cave added the extras to level the scores at 7-all and a well-struck penalty shortly afterwards put the Lacemen ahead.

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Hyland then struck again, crossing the whitewash for his second try in very similar circumstances to his first score. Cave again slotted the conversion, but a defensive error just before the break allowed the home side to score a converted try and it was a small 17-14 lead that the Lacemen took into half-time.

Disaster struck for the Lacemen in the early exchanges of the second half when influential number eight Josh Rice received his marching orders for a high tackle.

New laws introduced for high tackles means these offences are now more common and any contact with a head means refs have little option but to dismiss players, even if there is no intent involved – as certainly was the case in this instance!

Down a man for the remainder of the game, the Lacemen’s task suddenly took on a new dimension.

However, led superbly by outstanding skipper Will Goulden, the team dug deep and Goulden crossed for a try converted by Cave for the lead to be extended to one of 10 points at 24-14.

Numbers were evened up soon after as a home played was red carded for a ‘tip tackle’.

The Lacemen then secured the bonus point as the game opened up and, when the ball was passed to ‘Wez’ Keywood just inside the Honiton half, he skipped past one challenge and raced around two more opposition players before crossing under the posts to leave Cave with a routine conversion to make it 31-14.

The battling home side refused to give up and they were rewarded with the final score of the game – a converted try - but the Lacemen could not be denied the match honours to the tune of a 31-21 final score.

Honiton were pleased with getting a bonus point win in what was always seen as a tricky fixture, but in reality they didn’t play as well as they have been and there is clearly room for improvements.

The Honiton Man of the Match award went to the skipper Goulden, who had a fine individual performance leading the Lacemen in an eventful game.

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