Hustled way out
PUBLISHED: 13:49 01 February 2012
Honiton RFC 1st XV 18, Hayle 6
Honiton achieved their mid-term goal of going unbeaten in January by dispatching Hayle 18-6 at Allhallows on Saturday afternoon. Honiton maintain their spot at the top of the league whilst Hayle looked to have dropped out of the promotion race having now lost six of their last seven games, writes Nick Guilbert.
The Lacemen always knew that despite Hayle’s recent poor form they would be a difficult nut to crack and it proved to be as they expected and, in truth, Honiton did use up a get out of jail card to get the four points.
Playing up the slope in the first half Honiton confidently claimed the kick off through Lane. It was clear from the opening exchanges that the home side were the better team, but Honiton were getting into dangerous positions and then conceding penalties that were allowing the Cornish to clear. Eventually, the Lacemen won a penalty of their own to the left of the posts and Channing knocked it over with relative ease. However, soon after, they conceded a penalty allowing Hayle to pin them back.
In the first half, Honiton managed to hit over another three points before the Cornish missed a three pointer of their own.
With a narrow three point advantage at half time Honiton knew it would be a torrid second half. Honiton kicked into Hayle half and pressed them into errors. They squandered some lineouts near the Hayle line and let them clear, before the defining moment of the game. Honiton pressed the Cornish into clubhouse corner. The green and whites won a scrum but a Honiton shove turned it against the head and positive rucking gave Hannay space to ruck over from five yards with Channing converting.
Hayle reverted to some effective rucking of their own and gained territory, but, just as they offloaded the final pass, centre Barratt poached the ball and ran the interception the full length of the field to cross under the posts to give his side the breathing room they so desperately needed.
Hayle huffed and puffed but Honiton stood strong and hustled their way out of defence.
A seriously poor last ten minutes nearly cost the Lacemen as first Small was sin binned, before Owen was sent off for an alleged offence in a maul. With nothing left in the game for Honiton to gain they started to play champagne rugby, and very nearly gifted a loosing bonus point to Hayle. Fortunately in form wing Coutts was on hand with a superb tackle to end the game.
Next week Honiton face a very tricky task as they travel to in form Withycombe.
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