Honiton seconds left to wonder what might have been after serious injury stops play

PUBLISHED: 16:29 02 October 2019

Honiton 2nds away at Exmouth Nomads. Ref mhsp 38 19TI 9974. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds away at Exmouth Nomads. Ref mhsp 38 19TI 9974. Picture: Terry Ife

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Honiton seconds made the long journey to Cornwall on Saturday to take on Wadebridge Camels in a game that has become a regular feature in the fixture list in recent years, writes Jeremy Rice.

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

Wadebridge usually have a strong second string and have proved tough opponents in the past but the Ton travelled with a confident squad looking to push on from the previous weeks emphatic win at North Tawton.

The pack looked strong with the experience of Bird, Foot and White up front, Lane and Lancaster in the engine room and the combination of the wily Elliott, tough tackling Budge and the slipperiness of Bareback in the back row while the backs bristled with pace with Bennett at nine, Lovesey pulling the strings at ten and Canniford making holes from 12. Kidson moved into 13 with Platten and Morris on the wings and Phillips at the back.

George Palmer York and Joe Keep were riding the pine ready for action. Off the field the management team was back to full strength with Collins returning from his European talent scouting mission to hold the gate open for Harrison to squeeze through and they were joined on the touchline by Proctor.

On arrival at Wadebridge James Foot declared the pitch was huge, however it soon became apparent that to full size people it was in fact not much bigger than a postage stamp and that phase play would be required to create gaps and unleash the pace the ton had out wide.

Wadebridge kicked off and with a lumpy pack, looked to put early pressure on the Honiton defence but the ton defence held firm and Honiton began to get their attacking game going with Kidson almost evading the Wadebridge defence only to be dragged down. This woke the camels up and they pressed again and finally crated a gap to go over for a try near the posts which was duly converted. No panic from the Ton boys though and they duly worked their was up field with strong carries from Lane, White and Canniford creating a great attacking position in the Wadebridge 22. From there quick hands fed Kidson who caught his opposite number dreaming of his next Ginsters to go over in the corner and with Lovesey stroking over the conversion it was all square.

From the kick off Honiton attacked again with Lovesey unleashing his back three to cause the home defence problems and it took a last ditch tackle to haul Austin Elliott down show of the line following his great support running and a turnover allowed Wadebridge to clear their lines. Honiton were looking the stronger side at this point however a defensive lapse allowed the home side to sneak in for a second try to go back in front.

This seemed to spur out heroes on and with the forwards banging at the door, Louie Lane forced his way over out wide for the Ton's second try of the afternoon sending the travelling support wild and when Lovesey added the all important conversion and it was all square again.

As the clock ticked down toward half time Wadebridge found another gear and managed to cross for their third try which wasn't converted and the home side led 19-14.

On the stroke of halftime Honiton attacked again and good carries from Budge, White and Lane allowed Canniford to drop back into the pocket and stoke over a drop goal to send the Ton towards the half time oranges trailing 19-17.

With Bird rallying his troops at half time, Honiton came out to start the second half all guns blazing and more ill disclipline from the jam first brigade gave Lovesey an early chance to put Honiton ahead with a penalty. Unfortunately his kick hit the post and the home side were able to clear. This was to prove the last action as an injury meant that the game had to be abandoned while an ambulance was called to attend to the injured player leaving the Ton to wonder what might have been.

On the whole this was a good team performance against a strong opposition. In the pack, Tom White led the way with his carries, Bareback controlled the line out and Budge and Elliot proved a constant threat at the breakdown. In the backs, Canniford and Kidson constantly worried their opponents and the back three of Platten, Philips and Morris looked sharp in attack and defended well all afternoon.

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