Great start for Lacement

PUBLISHED: 11:00 17 September 2008 | UPDATED: 22:21 15 June 2010

Honiton RFC 1st XV kicked off their league campaign with a promising 31-8 home victory over Salcombe, writes Nick Guilbert.

Honiton RFC 1st XV kicked off their league campaign with a promising 31-8 home victory over Salcombe. The newly-promoted visitors struggled to contain the pace of the home side, who used the ball efficiently in wide areas to stretch the seasiders' defence. The Lacemen kicked off up the hill and quickly made yards after the visiting fly half's clearance only made the 22 on the far side. Honiton ploughed in-field from the line out and an early pass from Kenny provided full back Couttes with space on the left hand side of the field just outside the 22. Couttes hit the gain line at pace and the angle of his run easily cut through the sparse defensive line. With his head down he angled toward the corner flag and crossed unopposed to finish a great team try. It was a real morale boost for the team and it was the sort of try that sets a standard. It went unconverted but Honiton were on a roll. Soon after, Rice's side again found themselves in the opposition's twenty two through De Large. The ball found its way to Nathan Spence, Couttes and finally Cousins who crossed in the corner for another unconverted try. It had been an encouraging start to the game for the men in the hoops but, inevitably, Salcombe gathered some possession and began to work their way down field. It would be fair to say that Honiton struggled badly in the lineout, not necessarily through lack of technique, but the void left by the athletic Hannay is still to be filled at two.Although Honiton defended resolutely, they were deemed to have been offside in the midfield. Salcombe elected to go for the posts, but a poor strike saw them leave Honiton territory with nothing. The home side gathered some more momentum and a loose kick from the away side allowed Cousins to gather and chip back. The chip ahead had height and the defence allowed it to bounce. Cousins gathered and out- paced the defence to score under the posts for a converted score. It was a welcome relief for Honiton as they had been enduring 10 minutes without Huggett, sin binned for a late tackle. As Huggett returned to the fray, lock Bralsford replaced him in the bin for allegedly stepping on the opposition which made it a little tricky for the home side.Honiton found that they were often penalised at the ruck whilst attacking, and this provided Salcombe with the opportunity to go for goal. This time they were successful, and took the score to 17-3 at half time. The second half saw Honiton maintain the majority of possession, and Arron Spence went close after Rice broke through the gain line. Salcombe often found it difficult to clear their lines and one particular clearance found only the midfield and the industrious Kenny. He immediately found Cousins who wasted no time in out stepping the defence and crossing in clubhouse corner. Guilbert converted to extend the home side's lead. Kenny left the field for Nex, Pellens came on for Cousins and Turner entered for Bralsford. A Honiton scrummage went against the head on the near side and Salcombe attacked the blind without hesitation. This saw their winger score in the corner. It was unconverted. They almost had another via an interception but Man of the Match Couttes tracked his opponent 70 yards before hauling him down and Honiton cleared the danger. In truth Honiton looked tired in the last twenty, but pressed on regardless. They turned over a Salcombe lineout in clubhouse corner and De Large put Nathan Spence in for a converted try before full time. l More rugby page 43.

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