Honiton make Chard work hard for a narrow victory after a fine contest
PUBLISHED: 16:27 10 February 2020
Honiton were edged out 37-31 when they travelled the short trip across to Chard for their latest league outing.
Playing in ideal conditions for rugby, Honiton kicked-off into a strong wind which was to test players on both sides, particularly the respective hookers in the line-out department, throughout the contest.
The other big factor was evident from the first scum as the home eight shunted the Lacemen back and Honiton were lucky not to concede the first try, and a fortunate off-side gave the visitors some much needed relief.
Honiton scored first with Ollie Cave drilling a 10th minute penalty between the uprights.
There followed passages of play that saw Honiton serve up some good running rugby, offloading in the tackle and this got them the first try of the game.
Ollie Cave broke the line and slipped the ball inside to the supporting James Coutts Tucker who crossed whitewash after a 20-metre burst.
Cave sent over the conversion over and Honiton held a 10-0 lead 14 minutes into proceedings.
From the re-start, Honiton were awarded a scrum when the kick didn't go ten, they won the scrum, but a tame chip ahead gifted the Chard winger the ball and he cantered in from the 10-metre line top open the home account.
Honiton lost David Maynadie Morales to a yellow card, handed out for infringing at the breakdown and Chard elected for a scrum from the penalty and comfortably pushed the lightened Honiton pack left of the posts. The conversion was missed, but the scores were level at 10-all.
The wind played a part again as the re-start the kick once again failed to go 10 yards and, from a scrum on the halfway line, Chard first took possession and then chipped ahead forcing Kyle Blackmore to put the ball in to touch in the red zone.
Honiton we're coming under more and more pressure, and, from another scrum the Chard number eight picked up and went in unopposed on the blindside and it was now 15-10 to the home side.
The Lacemen made one more first half raid into Chard territory, but a line-out was lost and, for the remainder of the half the action was deep in Honiton territory with the home side scoring twice more, one from another dominant scrum 'pushover' and the other from a Honiton speculative wide pass that was intercepted giving the Chard winger a free run to the line. When the whistle blew for a break, Chard led 27-10.
Honiton began the second half on the front foot and, when Sam Heathcote was just forced into touch, the tackle was deemed high and the Chard number 11 was shown a yellow card.
With a quick line-out Honiton moved the ball left and the hard-working Ben Small got over after a piece of ball juggling and another Cave conversion toom the Lacemen to within 10 points of the home score.
With the next score being crucial, it was the home side who got it, forcing their way over from close range to make it 32-17.
Ross Watts won a turnover penalty and, from the ensuing lineout, Honiton's drives saw them go close, but a knock-on at the base of the ruck saw them denied.
Honiton, despite the scrum problems, were now getting much more possession and were putting some good phases together, forcing the home side backwards.
Chard were once again reduced to 14 players when their number six was yellow carded for collapsing at the line out and the Honiton pack had several attempts at getting the ball over the whitewash only to be denied, but were just thwarted.
A try followed shortly afterwards when pressure saw Ollie Cave getting over on the left, he converted his own try taking the margin between the teams to just eight points!
Tenison mounted, but Chard ended any hopes Honiton might have had when their number 11 crossed the try line for the third time.
Honiton were not done though, and they richly deserved their final score with Cave again going over from close range after more good work from the pack. Cave also slotted another conversion to complete the scoring and ensure his side banked two vital losing bonus points from a contest that, at one stage, they had looked dead and buried in!