Honiton land narrow victory on visit to Plymouth

PUBLISHED: 22:08 22 December 2014 | UPDATED: 12:43 23 December 2014

Action between Withycombe and Honiton at Raleigh Park on Saturday.  Ref exsp 3201-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn.

Action between Withycombe and Honiton at Raleigh Park on Saturday. Ref exsp 3201-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn.

Archant

Honiton travelled down to Plymouth to play the final league game before Christmas and returned with the points from a narrow 7-6 success at OPMs, writes Roger Dance.

Action between Withycombe and Honiton at Raleigh Park on Saturday.  Ref exsp 3200-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn.Action between Withycombe and Honiton at Raleigh Park on Saturday. Ref exsp 3200-50-14. Picture: Simon Horn.

Honiton had travelled keen to stop the rot of a couple of back-to-back losses. They had already beaten the Plymouth side at Allhallows earlier in the campaign and had every right to travel in confident mood.

Unfortunately, front line troops were in short supply, as skipper Nick Guilbert was away getting married, which meant several regulars were also missing. This all meant it would be a much tougher engagement than it might have been!

For once the conditions down there were favourable for rugby and it was a pleasant change not to be faced with rain or a gale – this certainly seemed odd!

Both sides started brightly and there were several attacks from both sides. These early encounters were pretty even so it was obvious it was never going to be a run away result for either side. The majority of the first half was played in the middle quarter of the field and if honest neither side looked like scoring a try and the attacks got few and few as the game went on. Honiton were also a little guilty of not clearing their line well and often put them selves under pressure needlessly.

The home side broke the deadlock with a well struck penalty but with defences holding firm from both sides at the break it was a rather dull half of rugby which saw the home side holding a 3-0 interval lead.

The second half started badly for the Lacemen when OPM knocked over a second penalty and, with injuries to fly-half Thompson and hooker Pricey, Honiton were under pressure. With limited possession thrown in, it was backs to the wall stuff for the majority of the half. With 10 minutes left on the clock, courtesy of a couple of concede penalties by the home side Honiton’s ended up in the opposition twenty-two for the first time in the half.

From the ensuing ruck Harry Wright broke the defensive line well and very unselfishly off loaded to lock Louie Lane who dotted down under the post for what was a critical score. Webber coolly added the extras and Honiton were in front by a narrow point!

The final ten minutes were frantic, but with a little luck and playing their ‘get-out-of-jail-free-card’, Honiton hung on for what can only be described as an ‘ugly’ 7-6 victory.

It definitely was not wasn’t a spectators game, but despite having only 30 per cent of possession what it did show was Honiton’s defence was good and it held firm.

The reality was neither side really every looked like scoring and Honiton’s one second half attack delivered the points and on that narrow margin Honiton can relax for their Christmas break but also knowing there is much to do in the new Year.

There is a fun game at the club on Boxing Day and all ex-players and would-be players are invited to get along and join in a fun run to blow out the Christmas pudding. Kick-off for this fun event if noon.

League rugby returns on Saturday, January 3 with the visit to Allhallows of Paignton.


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