If only Honiton had been positive from the start

PUBLISHED: 16:12 11 November 2009 | UPDATED: 00:32 16 June 2010

Honiton Seconds: Honiton were in league action and they entertained a strong Exmouth third team outfit who, given the luxury of no second team game, were clearly able to bolster their ranks with several larg,e bulky players.

Honiton Seconds: Honiton were in league action and they entertained a strong Exmouth third team outfit who, given the luxury of no second team game, were clearly able to bolster their ranks with several larg,e bulky players.

That's the way of things in rubgy at the lower levels and really Honiton let this fact affect their game.

The first half was very much one of defence and a case of watching the opposition do what they liked with the ball.

They finished the half 17 points to the good.

However, towards the end of the half, Honiton did start to take the game to the opposition and, when number eight Galling demonstrated this with some strong runs, this seemed to spur Honiton into a more positive approach and things greatly improved.

The second half was a much better encounter and Honiton conceded only one try and really, if there'd been an altogether more positive start, things could have ended up much better than they did.

With the firsts winning by a massive margin, you'd have been forgiven for suggesting a swap of opposition but it has to be said that a 23-0 loss teaches you more than an 89-0 win and, when this game finished, there was a real sense of team sprit as Honiton worked hard throughout.

Thirds: This was a big first for the club as, for the first time in their history, they fielded four senior sides on the same day.

Admittedly, the thirds are currently run on a once a month basis but it was nice to see some of the old war horses on parade.

They travelled down to Topsham to play their seconds and went down by a narrow 12-10.

In truth, they played well but ran out of steam towards the end but it was played in a good sprit and underpins the core values of rugby with everyone enjoying themselves.

Well ... all bar the 60-year-old Topsham player who came on as a sub only to leave soon after having been cut in half by a flying Duncan Cousens on the first time he got the ball much to the amusement of all present!

Colts: Honiton made the long trip to Torrington with just 15 players, but returned with five tries and all three points after coming out on top in a tough encounter, writes Jason Fahy.

The Lacemen started poorly conceding an early unconverted try after some poor tackling.

This seemed to galvanize Honiton, who responded well and began to dominate possession.

Ten minutes in, and Hyland burst through the defensive line to level the scores.

Poor concentration and discipline from the restart saw Honiton concede a further unconverted try and poor tackling was to blame once again.

Some stern words behind the posts from scrum-half Meadows seemed to do the trick as, from here on, the visitors dominated play.

The pack worked hard to get back in the game and Jack Fahy led the fightback with strong defense, turnover ball and yards gained.

Honiton's backs also gave their best performance of the season and it was a try from skipper Rice and a second for centre Hyland, converted by Meadows, that pulled the Lacemen in front.

A late penalty for Torrington saw Honiton lead 13-17 at half time.

From the restart, the home side saw very little of the ball as Honiton camped out in their hosts' 22.

With the pitch cutting up badly and resembling a bog in parts, conditions made free-flowing rugby difficult, but the visitors stuck to the task and launched a number of attacks through their backs.

An injury to the abrasive Down, who cut his head, saw Honiton reduced to 14 but resolute defending kept the hosts at bay.

Deep into the second half, prop Dalton finished off a series of mauls, breaking the last line of defense for a typical score, but the highlight of the game was when centre Kingwell crashed through, beating off four defenders to score his first Colts try.

Meadows converted to end the game 13-31.

Ollie Hyland grabbed Man-of-the-Match for both his defensive and attacking play, and, on this performance, he seems to have rediscovered the form that makes him a formidable centre.

As pleasing was scrum-half Meadows' performance; he showed a renewed hunger for the game and positive contribution which spurred his team-mates into action and demonstrated the qualities of a first-class scrum-half.

All in all, the Lacemen continue to improve with each game and the unit looks strong.

Under-14s: On Sunday the 14s took on Cullompton at home.

As with most weeks, they started badly and were three scores adrift before they realised they were in a game.

Strangely, once they did, things got a lot better and they rallied well and started to take the game to the opposition.

Things greatly improved in the second half and, despite not scoring, they did restrict the visitors to only one try and they ended up 36-0 losers without being easily beaten.

Man-of-the-Match went to Max Mason who was in the thick of it throughout.

Under-12s: The under-12s also entertained Cullompton - at Manor House - and really, they came unstuck against a very useful outfit.

They went down 35-0 and it wasn't a good day at the office.

They were defending for most of the game.

Ben Morris was singled out for Honiton's Man-of- the-Match award as he made several tackles to help keep the opposition at bay.

However, to be fair, the visitors were a well drilled outfit who played well.

Under-11s: On the same field, the under-11s faired little better against yet another strong, well- organised team from Cullompton.

The visitors really ran the show from start to finish and demonstrated some skills that were well advanced for their age group.

Honiton were guilty of some sloppy defence which didn't help but it was difficult, given the oppositions skill levels.

However, they did, on occasions, make some in- roads but all too often the ball was lost and they went down by a disappointing 42-0.

Will Vinning gave a captain's performance, leading the defensive efforts from the front.

Under-10s: The under-10s were over at Cullompton and, in very cold windy conditions, produced a good solid performance in two short games.

They won the first by 25-0. Ben Philips got things off to a fine start with a good score and then Harry Todd went on a solo run for the second.

Elliot Perez then weighed in with a brace of tries and Sam Philips rounded things off with the final score.

Things did not go all their own way in the second encounter and they were 15 points down before they rallied.

They scored two second half tries courtesy of Curtis Rowe and Joe Witthorne but this wasn't enough as they went down 25-10.

Coach Wellington didn't award a Man-of-the-Match; instead, he praised the whole team for what was a good effort in a tough fixture.

Under-9s: The under 9s were also at Cullompton and they lost a close encounter by 40-30.

There was a Man-of-the- Match performance from Will Bougler, who did a lot of the hard work, but a mention has to go to Torrin Jones, who scored all six of Honiton's tries.

Under-8s and -7s: Both teamswere involved in three games against Cullomptom.

The Sevens drew 4-a-piece in an entertaining encounter.

Sam Steel got a hat-trick and Ethan Rowe the other score.

The Eights went down by a narrow 6-3.

Emily Lee led the way with a brace of tries and Riley got the other one.

Finally, both sides came together to play a mixture of 8s and 7s and, unfortunately, Honiton lost the encounter by 5-2.

Steel and Burgess got the two Honiton scores but Man-of-the-Match went to Rowen Stanstell, who performed well in all three games.

By Jeremy Rice

Honiton rugby

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