Honiton battle well before going down to high-flying Saltash
PUBLISHED: 13:25 19 January 2015 | UPDATED: 13:25 19 January 2015
Honiton gave a good account of themselves as they went down 17-9 to visiting promotion-chasing Saltash, writes Roger Dance.
With very tricky underfoot conditions it was always going to be a slog in the mud.
Playing in their change strip Honiton elected to play up the park and started brightly, and, if anything, enjoyed the lions share of possession for the first 15 minutes and they also had a couple of chances at goal, both of which just went wide.
Unfortunately, whilst attacking on the halfway line a loose pass was intercepted by the visitor’s centre who cantered to the line unopposed for a converted try against the run of play.
Honiton plugged away and the fears of the 50 point hammering suffered when playing the Cornish side away was obviously not going to happen this time! Saltash did look good though, and the Lacemen had to dig deep to keep them out. Unfortunately, with all the hard work done against the slope and right on the half-time whistle concentration waned, and the Ashes pounced to score again to hold a 14-0 lead at the interval.
After the break, with the slope advantage now and a buoyed up by a rousing half-time team talk, Honiton were by no means dead and buried and they took the game to the league leaders, but the visitor’s do sit top for nothing and, having weather Honiton’s initial response, a patient build-up saw Honiton run out of defenders and they dotted down again out wide.
As the game went on the mud sapped the energy, but Honiton seemed to get better and with a dominant scrum they battered the visitors defence. Saltash had a player red carded for a tip tackle which meant they were down to 14 and Honiton clearly had the upper hand for the rest of the game. Jason Hannay crossed for what everyone thought was a score, but the referee was unsighted so it was disallowed!
Honiton were unperturbed and still look the fight to the Cornishmen and were finally rewarded from another frantic passage of play on the visitors line when Robert Price crossed near the posts for Webber to add the extras. Honiton came back again, but unfortunately the Cornish team’s defence stood strong through to the final whistle.
Honiton denied the league leaders their accustomed bonus point which was a credit to them in difficult conditions. Saltash would consider themselves lucky, and with Honiton missing three kickable goal attempts and gifting them that interception try the game could easily have gone Honiton’s way. To be fair, kicking conditions were far from ideal and the mud stopped the visitors running around but never the less this was a marked improvement for Honiton. They now have a week off now to gather their thoughts. but they must use this break to prepare for a must win game away to South Moulton on January 31.