Honiton Otters edged out in close ecnounter with Cullompton 2nd XV

PUBLISHED: 12:25 12 September 2019

Honiton rugby. Ref mscsp 48 17TI 3845. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton rugby. Ref mscsp 48 17TI 3845. Picture: Terry Ife

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The rebranded Honiton Otters kicked off the new season by welcoming Cullompton seconds to Allhallows for a friendly, a phrase not usually associated to these teams meeting, writes Phil Bird.

The game started with the Otters playing up the slope and receiving the kick off.

It was clear from the early minutes that Cullompton had turned up to play and, with the lion's share of possession, ran in the first score of the day.

Another a quickfire score by the visitors left Honiton shell-shocked and, at 21-0 in just 15 minutes, a rout looked on the cards.

Honiton had two options: either turn up and put the pressure on or lie down and let Cully walk in many more. Thankfully the Otters decided to put the pressure on and this started to force errors on Cullompton's part.

One such error allowed Andy Canniford to pick up a loose pass in his own 22 to run over half the pitch to get the first score for the ton.

Jake Smith converted, making it 7-21. Honiton continued with the pressure right up to the break.

After the interval, the Otters really turned the gas on for 20 minutes, in which time Will Tyres, who looked dangerous all day with ball in hand, ran in a brace and his fellow winger, Sam Heathcote, made a good break down the wing and picked up a loose ball to run in for his first of the season.

With Jake Smith converting, the score was now 26-28 with all to play for going in to the last 20.

Cully then came back with a score of their own, to make it 26-35, but Honiton battled on and their hard work paid off when Josh Tatlock was on hand to finish off in the corner to leave the score at 31-35 with five minutes to go.

Unfortunately, the whistle came a bit too quick and the Ton couldn't find the points and the game finished 31-35. There were several positives to take from the Tons' performance, especially the way they pulled back from 21 points down. Man-of-the-match had to go to Will Tyres, who topped off a great all-round performance with two tries.

The Otters travel to Exmouth for their first league game of the season next week.

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