Honiton have perfect start to league term ended at Bude

PUBLISHED: 13:58 09 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:58 09 October 2018

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9448. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9448. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

Saturday’s trip down to Bude is one to forget as the Lacemen came unstuck against a side who, frankly, out muscled them to take their unbeaten run away, writes Jerry Rice.

It was always going to be a difficult task after last week’s heroics, and with five enforced changes for that team and the fact it’s always hard to get wins on these long trips down to Cornwall, the writing was on the wall.

Despite the heavy overnight rain, the pitch was in good condition and Honiton played up the park into a stiff breeze blowing down the estuary.

Honiton started brightly and were spraying the ball around only to be thwarted by a good defence. From one passage Harry Wright crossed the line but the pass rather unjustly was adjudged to have been forward. Then, whilst Honiton were on the attack, a spilled ball was quickly passed to the Bude winger and in a bit of space, he had the wheels to beat Honiton’s defence and score a converted try from long range.

Shortly after there was a second for the seasiders as an speculative box kick was not gathered in midfield and the kind bounce found the hands of their other winger and he was able to canter to the whitewash from the 10 metre line and Honiton were reeling at 14-0 down!

However, the Lacemen, to their credit, didn’t panic and, through a patient build-up, a line brake from James Coouts was shipped to Ben Webber, who dotted down for a converted try. Honiton were also awarded a penalty which bought the score back to 14-10 and still with the lion’s share of possession Honiton seemed to have got things back on track.

When Jake Smith intercepted a pass and ran the length of the park to score under the post it looked like Honiton were back in the driving seat with a half-time 17-14 lead.

With the wind at their backs and coming down the slight gradient for all the money on recent form, Honiton should have had the edge.

However, rugby is all about possession and whilst there were cracks in Honiton’s scrummaging performances in the first half, the second period saw the much heavier home side start to take charge and, frankly, dominate and they were very effective with rucking and mauling.

Honiton then really struggled to get any real good possession and were often guilty of going into contact too high; this resulted in several held up turnover balls as the heavier men were then in their element as they were then playing their style of rugby.

Bude scored after a lot of pressure and a deliberate prevention of a try saw Honiton penalised with a penalty try and Louis Groves was sin binned to add to Honiton’s woes. The Cornishmen were clearly the ones in the driving seat and with good ball retention they scored again to take them out to 31-17. Honiton tried to get back into it and good work saw Nathan Hannay cross and there was a glimmer of hope, but the strong-arm tactics from Bude were quickly back on show and they proved the effective way to win on the day was to starve Honiton’s half backs of any good possession.

The buoyant home side scored again right on the final whistle and they deservedly took all the points and sent the Lacemen packing with their tails between their legs and 38-24 losers.

For Honiton… yes, they had to contend with several changes in personnel, but the reality was they collectively just didn’t play well and were intimidated by some good old-fashioned ‘stick it up your jumper’ rugby which does, sometimes, have its place, especial as the grounds get heavier.

If Bude can play like that each week, they will actually do Honiton some favours, I’m sure. As mentioned, it’s never easy to win in Cornwall and if you go to games with even a hint of complacency based on your last ‘good performance’, you will come unstuck and as the phrase goes ‘you are only as good as your next game’. I certainly don’t feel after this defeat it’s the end of the season by any means and you certainly don’t become a bad side overnight.

It was, however, clearly a bad day at the office and Honiton must learn the lessons, bottle the ‘how it felt’ feeling after the game and move on better equipped for the next trip down to the Duchy.

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