Honiton now just two more wins away from Twickenham berth after win over Burnham-on-Sea
PUBLISHED: 21:23 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 21:23 25 February 2019
Honiton defeated Burnham-on-Sea 35-22 when the pair met in the SW regional final of the national cup, writes Jerry Rice.
Allhallows looked resplendent on the day, creating a terrific atmosphere, one made all the more vociferous by an Ottery Brewery ‘outside bar’ for the occasion and, with the visitors supported in large numbers and the home faithful turning out ‘en masse’, the stage was set for a compelling cup encounter.
After losing the toss, the Lacemen were left playing down the slope, and they made a flying start with a good run from Tyers taking play towards the ‘Clubhouse Corner’ and, after a couple of ‘pick-and-goes’, Cook fed Wright and he crossed for the opening try.
Burnham hit back with a 15th minute penalty and then missed a great opportunity when they had a two-on-one situation, but dropped the ball!
However, soon after they did cross the home line out wide on the left and Honiton found themselves trailing.
The Lacemen dug deep and, with a kickable goal from a penalty, they opted to go for the corner, and, in a very controlled way, the forwards got an unstoppable maul going and it was skipper Goulden who took the ball over the line.
A Smith conversion then took Honiton back into the lead.
From the re-start the ball was received in the deep and, when Blackmore broke, the move ended with Smith beating the one defender to cross and he converted his own try to give the Lacemen a 19-8 lead at half-time.
Given what had gone on before, the conversation, during the interval, centred on how testing the second period would be with Honiton playing ‘up the slope’.
The home cause was helped early in the second half when Burnham conceded a penalty and up stepped Tom Steer, a new signing from Exmouth, to drill a long-range kick between the posts to make it 22-8 in favour of the home side.
Burnham hit back and, after a series of pick-and-goes, crossed for a converted try to take the score to 22-15.
A good steal in the tackle from Alex Brooks followed by a kick through saw the Honiton forwards secure a line out and, from the driving maul, the ball was judged to have been held up over the line!
However, from the ensuing scrum, Honiton got possession back and a neat side-step from Wright gave him his second try and extended the Honiton lead to 27-15.
The home side were not finished and they then served up the ‘try of the game’!
Following a great break by Steer and some good hands up the left and a final ‘basketball pass’ from Wright inside to Hannay, there was no stopping the player coach as he powered over the line. Despite the conversion being missed, Honiton were back in the driving seat at 32-15.
Burnham again refused to lie down and they scored another converted try to make it 32-22 with 10 minutes remaining.
However, the Lacemen were not to be denied the final word and it came from another Steer penalty that completed the scoring.
In parts it was nervy and the visitors played their part in a great game of rugby. Honiton’s defence was very good throughout and that was what the win was built on.
Front row forward Ross Watts was awarded the Honiton Man of the Match honour, but make no mistake, this was a great team effort with everyone doing their jobs well.
Commiseration must go to the visitors as no one likes losing in a cup game, but Honiton did have the edge in what was a typical hard-fought cup game.
The next step on the road to Twickenham is a March 16 game at Chesham.
On Saturday (March 2) its back to league action for the Lacemen and a trip to Pirates Amateurs.