Honiton defeated in mud bath game at Tiverton
PUBLISHED: 09:24 09 January 2020
Saturday saw the resumption of league action for the Ton as they travelled to Tiverton for a key fixture in the relegation zone. There was a light drizzle and the pitch looked ok but when the players started running around it was clear that mud would be a factor in the game.
For the first 15 minutes the general passage of play was fairly even but it was clear the mud was sapping the energy out of the players. In the pack the home side had the clear weight advantage and they were often on the front foot at the set piece and it was them that broke the deadlock and got the first try courtesy of running back a clearance that didn't find touch. They add to this shortly afterwards when a good running line saw the Tiverton centre break the midfield defensive to cross under the post. This time the conversion went over to give the Mid Devon side a 12-0 lead. Honiton fought back and then had a good passage of play and a kick and chase was just thwarted by an unlucky bounce with the ball coming of the post and a certain try went begging. Honiton pressed though and were rewarded with an Ollie Cave penalty but the half finished with both sides now playing in what were frankly quagmire conditions and no one watching could really tell who was on who's side.
With hindsight perhaps a change of shirts should have been used as the conditions just got worse and the game just became a slog in the mud. Playing wise Tiverton had the lion's share of possession early on and it was only dogged defence from Honiton that kept them at bay and during this period it's fair to say the host were unlucky not to have scored. But from then on it was just "attrition in the mud" and as players from both sides tried to make breaks. On several occasion when the ball wasn't just being dropped by both sides they were both guilty of passing to opposition players because everyone was the same colour and frankly it all seemed a bit farcical on a pitch that wasn't really fit for prupose.
The attrition and error littered game continued until the final minute when a catch and drive from Tiverton pack saw them bulldoze over out wide for the winning try.
Both set of players were out on their feet at the end and the 17-3 score line was a fair reflection on the game. For Honiton there was much endeavour and they worked hard throughout to keep in contention and some of the defensive set were excellent but it was always going to be a difficult task and the conditions gave no real opportunity to play attacking rugby. This result means Honiton drop a place to third from the basement and the points situation all looks pretty tight and they are going to have to dig deep if they are to maintain the league status and it looks like it's turning into a dog fight very few points separating the bottom six sides.