Honiton battle conditions to win well at South Molton

PUBLISHED: 17:07 04 February 2015 | UPDATED: 17:07 04 February 2015

Honiton rugby action from the game at South Molton

Honiton rugby action from the game at South Molton

Archant

Honiton claimed a 29-10 win over South Molton on Saturday afternoon in horrendous conditions, writes Nick Guilbert.

The Lacemen used the elements in the first half to gain a lead they never looked like loosing. Whilst South Molton scored twice in the last ten minutes, by then Honiton had done the job.

On arrival at South Molton it was clear that the first team pitch was unplayable with copious amounts of standing water. One felt that the players would have needed diving equipment for most of the game, just to the survive the aquatic conditions!

Honiton could see that a bad afternoon could have exasperated so requested that the third team pitch be used on the other side of town, and whilst the pitch is undulating (the linesman on one touch line can only see the top half of his opposite half due to the central hump), it was significantly drier and much more suited to the game of rugby.

Honiton kicked off and immediately gained the benefit of a scrum in a positive area. Coutts made excellent yards from the set piece and Honiton probed well in the first few forays. Whilst this did not immediately yield dividends, the erratic nature of the home sides clearances into the strong wind underlined that Honiton could be on the right end of the score line. Honiton spoke before the game about being professional despite the elements, and getting the job done in the first half.

Honiton looked after the ball well for the majority of the time and when ruck play saw Honiton progress to the middle of the field, just inside the opposing twenty two, good work from Lane and Hannay saw the former break several tackles to score in the bottom right hand corner. Webber was very unfortunate to see the conversion bounce back off the woodwork.

Honiton knew it was a case of plugging away and limiting the chances they presented to South Molton. Hooker Price, who had a pro-active game in the loose and composed match at the set piece grabbed Honiton’s second and the Lacemen were en-route to a much needed win. South Molton enjoyed a officiating inspired patch ten minutes before half time, but Honiton repelled everything they threw at them, before plundering down field to provide Hannay with his second of the afternoon.

At half time Honiton knew that the 17 points might not be enough and wanted more. It would be about how Honiton played with the ball that would have the defining factor. As it turned out the visitors looked after the ball well for the most part and kicked well out of hand to gain valuable field position. The set piece was strong throughout and with the line out working well, Honiton mauled the ball successfully. From one such line out on the left hand side Price found Rice and Honiton rumbled forwards. The Lacemen have worked on their maul shape and their form worked well as they propelled themselves on. They couldn’t be stopped and it was Rose who came up with the ball, in a just reward for months of hard work learning his trade at loose-head.

Honiton were on top and the north Devon side were struggling. Honiton were starting to run riot in the back division and when Bennett carved through from a nice pop from Canniford he found Guilbert with an offload. Guilbert hasn’t got what he had in the legs anymore and with vocal Archer on the shoulder he gifted the recent signing with a walk in.

With Honiton in control the last ten minutes went a little awry as hyperthermia set in for most. The officiating was also a bit dubious, but Molton to their credit kept going and scored twice.

Honiton clambered up to eighth, Molton remained routed to the bottom.


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