Brave effort from Honiton's under strength 1st XV

PUBLISHED: 10:45 12 November 2008 | UPDATED: 22:36 15 June 2010

Honiton 1st XV'S poor away form continued with a disappointing 17-7 defeat at Plymouth-based Tamar Saracens, writes Jerry Rice.

Honiton 1st XV'S poor away form continued with a disappointing 17-7 defeat at Plymouth-based Tamar Saracens. Plagued with at least four unavailabilities and two injury counts, the side was much changed and as a result, it was difficult to get any real continuity throughout the game.To be fair Honiton looked the better of the two sides in the early exchanges and, despite the very muddy conditions and wind against, they did spin the ball around and had all the chances. Debutant colt Josh Barrett was tackled just short and several other drives were only thwarted by solid defence. As the half progressed though cracks started to appear, the heavier home pack realised they had the edge and started to disrupt Honiton's put ins. The Lacemen's line outs were at best only 50-50 and without these two aspects of the game working it was hard to release the quick wide men. Throw in the problems of giving away penalties and you have surrendered any territory gained. From one of these penalties Honiton were pinned back and, from an ensuing scrum, the Sarries' number eight, a big fellow, picked up and powered over just to the left of the uprights. This touchdown allowed an easy conversion. Again a penalty saw the home side increase the lead to ten points and the uphill battle started.Just before the break Honiton did get on the score sheet with a well worked try. A peel from a line-out was tapped down by Jones and taken in field by skipper Rice. He offloaded to Delarge who in turn fed hooker Pellens and he was able to crash over near the posts to allow Jason Hannay an easy conversion. Honiton turned around still in it at 7-10 down and, despite the pressure from the marauding home pack, they had the wind advantage and felt confident they could salvage something from the game. Unfortunately, the home side had their tails up and they got more and more dominant and confident in the set pieces and Honiton's possession all but dried up. Injuries to skipper Rice and Wilson further disrupted the pack and, from a five metre scrum, Honiton collapsed a moving scrum and the opposition were awarded a penalty try. This was really the nail in the coffin and, despite several attacks into the home side's territory, sound defence kept Honiton at bay.Honiton, if truth be told, were below par, maybe understandably given the changes, but they didn't put any good phases of play together. They were also out- muscled where they normally muscle sides and their "weapons", the quick wingers, were virtually redundant. Whilst this is a bit of a gloomy report, Honiton were not thrashed, which is good given the fact they were starved of quality ball. They clearly had the better skill elements and Lyndon Jones was outstanding at the base of a retreating pack but he needs a lot more help. Josh Barrett and Leo Jefferson from the Colts had encouraging debuts. And finally... I know Honiton will bounce back and I expect they will extract revenge in the return fixture but, if players only commit to home games, the side will only win half its fixtures and guess what - it will finish in mid-table!

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