Honiton edged out at Old Public Oaks in Plymouth
PUBLISHED: 13:12 16 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:18 19 February 2016
Despite the many cancellations of games in the division Honiton’s game was on and with the twos playing the same opposition it was a mass exodus of senior players on a bus down to Plymouth to play Old Public Oaks as a club, writes Jerry Rice.
The hosts are a Plymouth-based club blessed with a well-funded new ground and club house and were promoted last season and currently sit in fourth place in the division. This all made for potentially a tough afternoon for the Lacemen!
Despite many pitches being plagued by the rain this season, Oak’s pitch was remarkably in fairly good condition, but maybe a newly installed £30,000 draining system had some thing to do with that!
The home side started strongly and playing up the field they had the lion’s share of the possession and Honiton struggled to get their hands on the ball. They scored an early try and added to it with another on the 15-minute mark, but this time it was converted.
The home side then butchered a couple of good try-scoring chances as they flung the ball wide, but as Honiton got used to the pitch and surroundings they stated to make inroads and the remainder of the half saw Honiton on the attack.
Good pressure was rewarded with a penalty which Andy Canniford knocked over and, with five minutes of the half remaining, a good blind side break released Ben Dobson who crossed in the corner and Canniford converted well from the touchline to leave Honiton trailing 12-10 at the break.
Enjoying a good breeze behind them the influential home ten used it well and blessed with a couple of dubious decisions he also kicked two early second half penalties to give his side a useful advantage.
However, as the half dragged on Honiton seemed to get stronger and, despite several injuries and personnel changes, they defended well and fought there way back into the game.
Credit to the home side they also defended well and coupled with several booming kicks down the field from their astute10, they kept Honiton at bay.
With five minutes on the clock left Honiton were awarded a penalty and realising the kick would result in a losing bonus skipper Pricey opted for the sticks. Ross Oaten fresh on the filed stepped up and calmly slotted the goal to get Honiton to within a score and the final moments were tense as Honiton pressed, but time ran out and the home side hung on for a narrow 18-13 victory.
The home side will now doubt have been relieved to win as Honiton played well for large parts of the game and were perhaps only really undone by a skill full number ten who ran the show for his side. Several of the Honiton players put in good performances and a losing bonus point in an away fixture to a top four side was a reasonable result for the Lacemen and given the frantic last five minutes they maybe could have even sneaked a win if they’d had some luck.
Next up is Saturday’s Allhallows meeting with a mid-table Paignton who are in that position because they haven’t played for several weeks owing to the weather.
Having run them close when the side’s met in South Devon the Lacemen can go into the meeting hopeful of a result that will help to keep them out of the bottom three. As always, the town’s support can only help the cause!
Kick-off on Saturday is 2.30pm.