Honiton survive Tiverton test
PUBLISHED: 13:39 24 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:45 24 September 2019
On a breezy bright day and a good home crowd Honiton had their second home league game of the season hosting Tiverton. There was a sponsor lunch for In Zan's Finance Tackle company and Giles Bangerger so the scene was set for the encounter.
Honiton lost the toss and played up the Allhallows slope and curtsy of a down field wind they had first use of the elements. They received possession from the kick off but some initial handling errors restricted the home side progress but they were looking good against what was a very large set of forwards.
The Ton broke the deadlock with the first try of the game when player coach feed Ollie Cave on a good line and he easily broke the defence to dot down under the posts he converted and Honiton were 7 up after 10 minutes. Honiton were back on the score sheet again, a good break from a scrum on the half way line was started by Alex Brooks and also finished by him. He delayed a pass to put Adam Thomson in a gap who then made metres and then returned the pass to Brooks to canter inform the 22. Cave again obliged with the extras and the Ton were 14 up after 15 minutes.
Tiverton then enjoyed period of possession and territory in the Honiton half but all to no avail as Honiton's defence managed their strike runners well and any dispossession was punted down filed curtsy of the strong wind. Tiverton tried to run out of their twenty two but were driven back and forced to kick to clear. From a line out Ollie Cave made a fine break but was just unable to link up with Will Tyers and the ball went to ground for a missed opportunity.
A few minutes later Honiton conceded a penalty at the breakdown for not rolling away, Tiverton couldn't take advantage though with another wayward throw at the line out and from the resulting scrum the ball was thrown wide and Sam Heathcote after a great run was halted just shy of the line. Penalties from both sides were exchanged and play didn't really progress out of the Tiverton twenty two. After thirty five minutes Ollie Cave added a penalty after Tiverton were penalised for holding on 17-0 after 35 minutes. With both hookers struggling to throw in with the gusty wind Tiverton couldn't benefit from a penalty but the heavier Tiverton pack were starting to get on top in the scrum but the first half ended with Ollie Cave hitting an excellent penalty over from just inside his half again curtsey of the stiff breeze and this meant at the break Honiton were 20-0 up and the question was, was it enough given it was their turn to face the wind and slope.
Honiton kicked off and the second half got underway, a miss placed midfield kick gave Tiverton possession and they broke wide left, recycled well and their number six barged over from close range and with the conversion successful the Honiton crowd were starting to get twitchy at 20-7 .
Honiton moved up field but another crooked throw at the line out saw possession squandered, Tiverton cleared. Honiton did win the resulting line out but a knock on in midfield saw the Mid Devon side move the ball downfield. They were awarded a penalty for offside and duly kicked the penalty to reduce the deficit to 20-10. Things went from bad to worse as Honiton restart went out on the full and Honiton were rattled and the pressure was on. The midfield scrum saw a kick down in to clubhouse corner for a Honiton line out. The Ton secured the ball and Alex Brooks cleared but the relief was short lived and Tiverton won the line out and rumbled in to the Honiton half with a good rolling maul. They moved the ball left and were stopped just shy of the line with the ball held up. The scrum, in which the away side had been stronger all afternoon was odds on to rumble over but Honiton's eight dug deep and held them and there was then a frantic try line defensive phase and a lost ball on the line was greeted with cheers as Honiton survived.
The clearing kick was unable to find touch and Tiverton continued to press for a score, they spun the ball wide right but spilled the ball which was common theme for both sides throughout the match. Honiton were still struggling to escape their twenty two and were pinned on their line. Some absolutely outstanding goal line defence saw the frustrated Tiverton unable to breach the Honiton line and when Will Goulden hitback one of their big strike runners they then threw a paniced pass that was fumbled Cave hacked the loose ball through gathered and then had a 60 yard run to the line, he was caught but delivered a great pass to the supporting Angus Meadows who dotted down. It was very much against the run of play but there was much relief from the faith full as this now put breathing space between the two sides.
Credit to Tiverton they didn't let their heads drop and again moved the ball into the Honiton half and good last ditch tackle from fullback Sam Heathcote stopped a certain try.
With the clock ticking Ben Logan won a penalty at the breakdown and Honiton had a rare excursion into the Tiverton half, they won the line out and edged towards the Tiverton line. Pressure at the base of the ruck saw Tiverton win a penalty and they cleared their half. They did get a consolation try with an excellent weaving run from their fullback who ran in from forty metres, the try was converted and the final score was 25-17 to the Lacemen.
This was a good win against a big side and Honiton will feel pleased and with what was some excellent defence when it really mattered. There were some good all-round performances for the players but Robert Price was picked out as the Ton's man of the match but in what will be a tough season, Honiton are at present, "cutting the mustard".