Welch stars as Honiton 2nds see off high-flying South Molton in high-quality encounter

PUBLISHED: 13:37 04 December 2018

Rugby action. Picture TERRY IFE

Rugby action. Picture TERRY IFE

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Honiton 2nds were 41-25 winners when they entertained South Molton, writes Phil Bird.

With the visitors sitting second in the table, two places above the Lacemen a decent Allhallows crowd was expecting a tough encounter

Leading from the front, as he has done all season, was skipper Ben Welch. Indeed it was immense Welch industry which led to a fifth minute penalty that Dom Lovesey tucked away.

It was that man Welch who scored the game’s first try; the skipper setting off from his own 22 and showing the opposition a clean set of heels as he raced in under the posts.

A penalty saw the visitors onto the score board.

Honiton were soon back on the front foot and, after some terrific work by the back line, Welch crossed the whitewash for the second time and Lovesey slotted the extras.

Mike Boraston, who had a fine game filling in at tight head, played his part in the next try, scored by Kyle Blackmore and there was still time before the break for Arthur Banks to score a try and Lovesey to tuck away another conversion and Honiton trooped off with a 27-3 lead.

South Molton began the second half came out with renewed determination and, with strength from their pack, had the home side on the back foot. The Honiton discipline was not good and a yellow card for Tom Churchward left them playing a man short for a spell. Another blow came when influential skipper Welch collected one knock too many and succumbed to injury.

South Molton took control and suddenly, with four quick tries, the score board clicked round to 27-25!

Robin Bennett became the second home player to be shown a yellow card and, as the contest entered its final few minutes, Honiton’s forwards showed strength to hold up south Moltons pack as they drove over the line, resulting in a five-meter scrum.

Honiton knew this next phase of play was make or break, with the scrum going backwards and over the try line, Tom Churchward, fresh from his breather, managed to gather the ball from under his feet and undertake a lung bursting length-of-the-pitch-sprint clear and cross under the posts. Lovesey duly converted and, with a minute remaining the lead was one of nine points at 34-25.

There was swill time for one last break led by Sam Heathcote, playing his first game after a long injury lay off. The move ended with Austin Elliot crossing for the final score of the contest.

There were several impressive performances from the likes of Arthur Banks, Kyle Blackmore and Mike Boraston, but the undoubted Honiton Man of the Match was skipper, Ben Welch, who seems to turn in great performances week after week in both attack and defence.

As we say every week, a big hand to the colts, Lovesy, Aaron Bowker and Sam Heathcote, who had an impressive second half. Not easy for these boys to step up from colts to the physicality of senior rugby, but they do it well and it’s appreciated by the seniors in the team.

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