Cave stars as Honiton overcome more injury woes to defeat Wiveliscombe

PUBLISHED: 13:25 03 December 2019

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

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


Honiton bagged a richly deserved Tribute Western Counties West victory when they edged out Wiveliscombe 28-27 after a close encounter before another good Allhallows turnout.

What made this fourth win of the league campaign all the more impressive was that, in what is already an 'injury ravaged' campaign, the Lacemen were able to recover from the losing all their second row early in the proceedings and than, 15 minutes into the second half, appeared to be on the way to another disappointing defeat.

However, the character of this Honiton team can never be questioned and they served up a 'gritty' collective shift in the gathering gloom to claim the win.

The Allhallows slope is often a factor in the general play of most games and with a keen wind coming down the pitch as well playing upward for who ever, was going to be tough. The visitors won the toss and elected to do just that to get the advantage in the second half.

The opening exchanges were even-steven before what has been a recurring theme this season - injury - struck again with club stalwart Nick Guilbert forced out of the action with a knee injury, and, shortly after, his replacement David Maynadie-Morales aggravated an injury he'd just recovered from and he too limped out of the action.

Despite the set backs, Honiton opened the scoring with a 25th minute Ollie Cave penalty.

The home back line then began to get the ball moving and, after some initial work from Ben Small, Will Goulden went over and a Cave conversion left Honiton sporting a 10-0 lead.

There was more injury woe with forward Louie Lane suffering a cut eye and the home side were forced to put backs into the pack to shore things up!

Undaunted, Honiton stayed on the front foot and, when Small crossed the whitewash ands Cave added the extras; the home lead was now 17-0.

The visitors had the final say of the half with a late try, but the teams trooped off at the break with the Lacemen sporting a 17-5 advantage.

Wiveliscombe made a flying start to the second half and an early converted try cut the deficit to one of just five points.

A yellow card reduced the visitors by one, but they kept the pressure on the home side and, 15 minutes after the break, another converted try saw the Somerset side into the lead for the first time in the contest at 19-17. Things looked bleak for the home side, but player-coach Alex Brooks tweaked tactics to look to play on the counter.

Honiton dug deep and an Ollie Cave penalty saw them regain the lead at 20-19.

A second yellow card of the game against the strong running visitors second row aided the Honiton cause and the Lacemen took advantage of their extra man with Brooks releasing the hard working Ben Logan who crashed over the whitewash and another clean kick from Cave gave the Lacemen a 27-19 lead with just minutes remaining.

Wiveliscombe hit back with a converted try of their own, but it came in what proved to be the games final play leaving Honiton winners, albeit by a single point at 27-26.

Make no mistake; this was a performance as 'gritty' as they come. The character in the ranks was epitomised by Louie Lane, who returned to the battle despite struggling to see out of his badly cut eye and there were some good performance for all of the team.

Small and Goulden in particular were picked out for extra praise and Brooks marshalled the show well at 10, but once again it was Ollie Cave who got the Man of the Match award for his great defensive work while also displaying nerves of steel, making a number of pressure kicks.

This Saturday (December 7) Honiton entertain Penryn (2.30pm).

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