Honiton suffer first defeat after conceding crucial score just before the break

PUBLISHED: 17:10 30 September 2014 | UPDATED: 17:10 30 September 2014

Action from the Honiton defeat to Penzance

Action from the Honiton defeat to Penzance

Archant

Honiton missed out on the chance to go second in the league on Saturday, going down 34-30 to a solid Penzance side, writes Nick Guilbert.

Honiton’s first defeat of the season sees them drop to fifth in the league.

Having won the toss Honiton won the toss and opted to play up the slope in the first half. The home side had plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges, but couldn’t do a lot with it. Pirates Amateurs had recruited well recently, and have become a much stronger outfit as a result.

Honiton couldn’t quite break the Pirates down and lacked a little continuity early on. Pirates escaped and cleared down field. Honiton gave away more penalties than they had done in the last three games in this encounter and soon found themselves in defending their twenty-two.

Pirates worked the maul well and crashed over for a converted try from a lineout. Webber was having a fifty-fifty day with the boot and so Honiton elected to work their way into the corners.

Honiton did so and with a solid platform from the scrummage they applied pressure the visitors. A few poor decisions allowed Pirates to clear, but only as far as full-back Cooke who showed good feet to beat a couple of defenders and offload to Webber. Webber carried to good effect and Honiton kept the ball moving. Small found himself in the open up the left and turned on the gas to score in the top left hand corner, claiming his second score in as many games.

Webber converted well from the touch line, taking the score to 7-7 with a minute to go before half time. Honiton gathered the kick off, but couldn’t execute their exit patterns. This gave Pirates one last chance before the break and they broke Honiton through the right hand channel, and once close to the line they showed good composure to break Honiton and grab a crucial converted try to lead at the break.

The Lacemen spent the whole of the second half trying to make up the seven point gap, but couldn’t do it. They started well and soon popped over a penalty to see gap narrow to 14-10. Honiton then began to open the tap and when they worked the fringes gaps began to open. Honiton have developed a decent off loading game in recent years and when Price forced a turn over Guilbert and Small capitalised. House snuck through a gap and Honiton went into 17-14 lead. From here Honiton should have turned the screw, but when a kick off went awry Honiton lost the chance to clear territory. Penzance pounced on their chance and scored a try by working a lineout on the top right in field and creating an over lap on the left. This score was countered by a Canniford drop goal, but the Cornish came back with an easy three after more carnage at a Honiton exit play. With the score at 24-20, Honiton needed more, but they were error strewn and uncharacteristically porous in defence. This was predominantly because the penalty count was hurting Honiton. Penzance squeezed out another try and three pointer to extend the score, and Honiton were looking down the barrel.

They scored a penalty through Webber and another try through Lane, but couldn’t get the score they needed to win the game.

It felt like Honiton had lost the game, rather than being beaten. Penzance were the strongest team Honiton have played for this season and it showed the Lacemen need to improve.


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