Honiton edged out by Okehampton and that confirms their relegation
PUBLISHED: 14:25 09 April 2013 | UPDATED: 14:25 09 April 2013
Honiton 25, Okehampton 26
Honiton again narrowly lost out at home again on Saturday as they went down by a single point in an evenly contested game, writes Nick Guilbert .
It was Vice-Presidents day at Honiton and the large crowd including key sponsors were treated to a fluent running game played in the right spirit on hard ground. It was a bright sunny day at Allhallows and, following a well respected silence for those who lost their lives at Lee Close earlier in the day, Honiton kicked off down the slope.
The opening period was tit for tat it until the 10th minute when the deadlock was broken.
Okehampton, playing up the slope, ploughed a furrow up the left hand side and Honiton were caught narrow in defence as an accurate cross-kick found the Moorlanders winger in space down the right and he finished well unopposed to open up a five point margin that was increased to eight when the away side’s vociferous, but capable, number ten knocked over a penalty a few minutes later.
With Honiton playing down the slope they needed a response quickly and they found it through lineout ball in their own half on the top left hand side. Quality ball provided Cave with a chance to challenge the gain line and he broke through before offloaded out of the back of the hand to Hill. Hill marched on down field before a good exchange of hands with Barratt put Hyland in space with twenty yards to go. He made no mistake with his finishing as he dotted down in club house corner.
Webber added a penalty to take Honiton to 8-8, and although Honiton did get into promising areas before the break they threw a couple of ill timed passes which let them down. They were also let down by uncharacteristic ill discipline which allowed the away side to nudge ahead before the break.
Honiton had it all to do following the break and following ‘a chat’ about discipline they started the second half superbly. In fact the twenty minute period following the break was probably one of their best phases of from this season as a whole.
From the kick off Norman claimed the high ball and again it was Hill and Barratt who were instrumental in moving the ball up the centre right of the field. Cooke, who had another solid game at full back, gathered the ball on the right hand touch line and did well to cut in field and recycle possession. Play shifted to the left hand side and Hyland found Barratt who hit the ball at pace on the ten yard line. The Honiton man showed good strength and speed to beat several defenders before dotting down to the left of the posts for a converted score.
Honiton were full of running and hit their stride again following the kick off with Salter making yards off the left wing. From the platform the home side carried well into the Okehampton half. The away side conceded several penalties and eventually were reduced to fourteen. Honiton made hay as they moved the ball to the left and following a period of sustained pressure skipper Guilbert burrowed over.
Okehampton showed their class shortly afterwards as the nine tapped and went from a penalty on the half way and raced away down the right. He fed his winger who raced in down the left doing well to fend off some committed tackling. This bought the scores to 20-19, but Honiton were in defiant mood. More consistent recycling saw man of the match Moffet race through the middle of the park. He was halted but Honiton were deep in Oke territory again and several pick and go efforts gave Dalton space to break through to score fifteen yards left of the posts. Webber missed the conversion, before Okehampton missed two penalty kicks at goal. The away side began to turn the screw and won a penalty which they kicked to the corner, but as they lined up one of their back division collapsed in the middle of the field, bringing the game to a halt. As he could not be moved the game was moved to the top pitch following a twenty minute break.
Okehampton used their driving maul to good effect from the re-start and scored the try they needed, and crucially grabbed the conversion the needed to win the game.
They showed their experience to close out the game and inflict a disappointing defeat on the now relegated Lacemen.