Wright bags hat-trick of tries as Lacemen return to top two as title race begins to heat up

PUBLISHED: 22:36 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:15 06 March 2019

Rugby ball.

Rugby ball.

Archant

Honiton, despite travelling with a much-changed XV due to injuries and unavailability, returned from their Tribute Cornwall and Devon fixture in Penzance against Pirates Amateurs with a splendid 39-17 success, writes Jerry Rice.

The five-point win, coupled with the 10-10 draw between title rivals Penryn and Bude, means the Lacemen are now just three points away from table-topping Penryn.

The enforced changes led to the Lacemen fielding a new half back pairing – Johnny Selway and recent newcomer Tom Steer – while Harry Wright switched from his regular number eight berth to play in a midfield role.

Pirates Amateurs opted to have the strong wind in their favour, but it was the Lacemen who dominated the first 15 minutes, during which time Wright burst through to score in the corner.

Several further attacks were thwarted by dogged Pirates defence and with errors and penalties Honiton were kept at bay, but the reward for constant pressure yielded a penalty goal, well struck into the wind by Tom Steer.

The home side hit back with a try from their fleet-footed winger, but a second successful Steer penalty left Honiton leading 11-10 at the break. The intrepid Honiton supporters – all six of them – saw Honiton, with the wind now at their backs, ‘at it’ from the re-start and a second try from Wright, converted by Jake Smith, extended the advantage.

Further pressure led to a pick and go in front of the posts and, after some patient play, Josh Rice dived over for the third try and again Smith added the extras to give the Lacemen a 25-10 lead.

A second try, a converted one too, from the home left winger, reduced the deficit.

However, Honiton ended the game in the ascendency.

Steer made a superb break through the middle to score under the posts and Smith slotted the conversion before Wright completed his hat-trick of tries followed by another Smith conversion and the final whistle blew soon after.

Considering the enforced changes, this was a good performance on the road.

The new recruits all played well; the pack was dominant in tight and loose, but the backs found it difficult to gel as a unit and had to cope with some pacey home backs.

Tom Steer made a promising debut at fly-half and it was good to see Selway back behind the scrum.

The only worry was for skipper Goulden, who came off early in the second half with bruised ribs.

This Saturday (March 9), Honiton entertain second bottom Plymouth Argaum.

See details of the remaining fixtures for the Lacemen and their three rivals for the divisional title at www.midweekherald.co.uk

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