Honiton ground out narrow 32-29 win over Exeter Engineers

PUBLISHED: 10:23 15 January 2020

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9443. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9443. Picture: Terry Ife

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Honiton Seconds entertained Exeter Engineers on Saturday at fortress Allhallows in what was the Otters first game of 2020 following last weeks last minute cancellation.

The students are usually a strong outfit and have handed some heavy defeats to the Ton in recent seasons but this side are made of tough stuff and hopes were high that the turkey fuelled December training camp would work its magic and get the year going with a win.

Playing up the slope in the first half the first 10 minutes was all Honiton as they battered away at the students defences seeking an early score, the away side held firm though and finally forced an error and were able to snatch a loose ball and break away for the opening score of the game. Honiton roared back but were unable to find the gaps and as frustration grew tried to force things a little which caused some handling errors which were capitalised on by the pacey away side for two more unconverted tries.

Having had the majority of possession, Honiton now found themselves 0-15 down with 20 minutes gone.

The home side continued to take the game to their opponents and with hooker Foot now finding the extra inches of Bareback at the lineout were starting to find more penetration in attack. This resulted in a penalty which Lovesy slotted to reduce the arrears to 3-15. With their tails up Honiton came straight back up the hill and after several good carries from the forwards Sam Platten crashed over for a try which Lovesy converted from the Touchline to make the score 10-15.

On the stroke of half time, more good forward pressure gave quick ball to the backs and Chris Sampson was able to break several tackles to score out wide to level the scores at 15-15 as the teams went to the half time oranges.

As the second half started it was clear that the students were fired up and they threw all they had at the ton defence but the home side held firm with Bareback's tackle the pick of the defensive effort. Energised by their strong defensive set the Honiton pack started to take control with Parratt and Platten carrying hard and providing good quick ball and this was rewarded when skipper Bird went over for a rare try to edge the home side ahead.

This seemed to knock the visitors confidence and shortly after, Phillips made a break from halfway and after shaking off the last ditch covering tackle made it over in the corner to give the Ton some breathing space at 25-15.

With 15 minutes to go Elliot broke through the middle and when his pace deserted him found support with quick hands getting the ball to Jake Smith who cantered over for a try under the posts which he also converted so surely put Honiton out of sight at 32-15.

The Engineers hit back almost immediately with their own converted try and they continued to pile on the pressure as the clock ticked down but the home side stood strong and despite the students scoring a try with the last play of the game Honiton had ground out a well fought win with the final score being 32-29.

This was a great team effort with man of the match contenders throughout the squad but in the end the award went to Sam Platten for his tireless ball carrying and solid defence. Next week the twos are on the road as they make the trip to South Molton and will hope to take this form into that game to bring home a win.

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