Honiton battle so well in defeat at the home of table-toppers Wellington
PUBLISHED: 12:41 21 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:41 21 January 2020
Honiton may well have slipped to the bottom of the Western Counties table after their 41-10 defeat at table-topping Wellington, but, there was plenty in their overall performance to suggest that their hopes of staying at this level can come to fruition.
A visit to the high-flying Somerset side was always going to be a tough task for the Lacemen and they made a confident start, enjoying a good share of th e ball with both defences holding sway through the opening exchanges.
It was more a case of 'ill-discipline' that saw the deadlock broken with a penalty conceded that gifted the hosts a 20th minute 3-0 lead.
The response to falling behind was tremendous and, frustratingly, only a couple spilled passed during key phases prevented the Lacemen from getting their first points on the board!
Wellington are not top without good reason and they showed their power with a converted try to move into a 10-0 lead.
Honiton continued to give as good as they got and their first points came when a high tackle on Johnny House resulted in a penalty that Ollie Cave sent between the posts. Wellington hit back with an unconverted try and there was still time for the home scrum half to cross to see his side troop off at the interval sporting a 20-3 lead.
Honiton will likely have pondered during the break as to how they were 17 points in arrears for their first half performance was not done justice by the interval score.
The home team, playing down the slope from the re-start scored an early converted try and, at 27-3 with a half hour to play, many Honiton followers might have been forgiven for fearing the worst.
However, the Lacemen responded so well and indeed, enjoyed a period of sustained pressure, looking particularly strong in the set piece. On one occasion from a five metre scrum they pushed the ball over the line, but were unable to secure the touchdown and a try went begging!
Such was the Honiton pressure that it was not until the hour mark that the home side scored another converted try to extend their advantage to 34-3.
It was no more than the Lacemen deserved when Johnny House made a good break to score a fine try and a successful Ollie Cave conversion saw the score move to 34-10.
The home side has the final say with their number 14 scoring under the posts and the conversion was clean to round off the scoring.
There is no doubt the home side deserved the win but even the home support watching would admit the score didn't reflect the general pattern of the game and for large parts Honiton more than held their own in the contest. However, the home side were clinical with their scoring opportunities. For the Lacemen, there were some excellent individual performances, none better than that serve dup by influential skipper Louis Groves who bagged the 'Ton' Man of the Match award.