House try and the trusty boot of Cave see Lacemen to success at Torquay

PUBLISHED: 09:22 24 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:22 24 December 2018

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

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

Archant

After a difficult week, Honiton travelled back down to Torquay to play the fixture that was called off seven days before because of the monsoon conditions, writes Jerry Rice.

Planning for what they had thought the Saturday before Christmas would be – a ‘match free day’, several of the players had organised other events for this weekend and, as such, were unavailable for selection.

It left a number of players being drafted in and the party that travelled to Torquay did so with far less confidence than they had the week before. Indeed, a normally confident travelling Lacemen group, did so this time fairly low expectations of getting a result!

Conditions for the contest were perfect and there was hardly a drop of wind. However, both sides made nervous starts and there were several handling errors from both sides.

Honiton drew first blood when Ollie Cave slotted a penalty. Honours were pretty even from then on with both sides making good in roads that were usually thwarted by handling errors.

With ten minutes left in the first half, a good attack down the right saw a Honiton pass spilled and the home side seized their chance, launching a counter-attack that ended with their pacey wide man cantering home from the halfway line for a converted try. He nearly did the same again but a great cover tackle from Corrie Pullman hauled him down, but he got the pass away and, with the line begging, the recipient of the pass fumbled and the try scoring opportunity was lost which left half-time arriving with the Lacemen trailing 7-3.

Given they were still in touch of the hosts, Honiton started the second period very well and had the lions share of the possession. When they won an early penalty, Cave sent the ball between the posts and then, when another penalty was awarded, Cave repeated the action and Honiton held a 9-7 lead.

The Lacemen stepped up the tempo and, after some good, patient, build-up play, Jonny House powered over and a Cave conversion gave Honiton a 16-7 lead.

The home side rallied and hit back with real strength. There were several try-line defensive calls as the Lacemen dug deep to keep them at bay.

With 10 minutes remaining, the Torquay prop trundled over, but the attempt at a conversion drifted wide to leave Honiton holding a four point lead.

It led to a frantic close to the contest. The Lacemen thought they had an interception try, only to be called back and in the gloom, after which they dug deep to seal what can only be described as a fabulously win against the odds.

All of the 18 played their part in a heroic encounter and, for this particular scribe, ‘dead on his feet’ player-coach John Hannay epitomised the effort of all the players.

Yes, there were errors, and dropped passes, and the set piece technical areas was a struggled as the game progressed, but all that was immaterial as the job was done and it really was a club performance as several had to step up a level.

This effort means Will Goulden’s men left the field knowing they now sit in third place in the league, nicely placed for the second half of the season and with two cup competitions thrown in as well there could be exciting times ahead for the Lacemen heading in 2019.

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