Webber kicks Lacemen to Paignton success
Honiton maintained their 100 per cent league record on Saturday with a professional away performance against Paignton, writes Nick Guilbert.
The 18-13 score line in favour of the Lacemen ultimately came down to the superior kicking of the in-form Webber.
His greater accuracy and penalty at the end of the third quarter gave the Lacemen the cushion they needed to see the game out.
As it was, it was incredibly humid at the seaside with little air to be had. Paignton, who have dropped down two leagues in as many seasons hard a bark worse than their bite, and it wasn’t long before the Lacemen got their teeth into the scrummage. Honiton looked to have the upper hand, but Paignton looked reasonable with ball in hand in the opening exchanges. This yielded a penalty and from which they had an unsuccessful attempt at goal.
Another penalty saw them kick into to the twenty two, from where they caught and drove the lineout all the way to the line in a controlled fashion. Goulden came up with the ball at the end in what was a real pack effort that lifted the large number of travelling supporters. Webber missed the conversion, but his time was to come.
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From the re-start Honiton gave away a needless penalty for an accidental block and the hosts got three points back.
Paignton followed this up by finding space on the right for their robust second row to do damage.
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He generated quick ball which saw the Lacemen all at sea and they crossed to the left of the posts for an easy conversion.
As the game neared half-time, Honiton were behind due to their own errors more than anything else!
Pressure from the five man Paignton lineout saw the nine throw a loose pass to the on coming forward. The robust lock mentioned earlier couldn’t hold and Small pounced on his chance. The open side, later to be named Man of the Match, reacted before the opposition defence to kick on the loose ball with his cultured right foot. By kicking through with his laces (in text book fashion), Small gave the ball enough elevation for it to bounce appropriately into his hands giving him an unopposed race to the line. Small dedicated his try to the electrical insulation tape that had held his Nike boots together!
Webber added the extras and Honiton went ahead into half-time having not really expended a lot of energy.
During the break the Lacemen were championed to not make this a wasted opportunity and they restarted with new purpose and belief. A Ben Webber penalty saw them into a 15-10 lead. Honiton continued to press and missed a chance to kill the game off when a loose kick found Webber on the right. He noted the space on the left skirted around two defenders before feeding Keep. The latter, who had acquitted himself well throughout, could not collect the loose pass and the chance went begging.
As it was Webber redeemed himself with a penalty kick shortly afterwards to take the score to 18-10 and crucially put two scores between the teams.
Paignton huffed and puffed and whilst Honiton did make hard work of it at times, they saw it out in very professional fashion. Paignton knocked over one penalty, but that was all they could muster as Honiton stood strong.
On Saturday Honiton face Penzance Amateurs who have also made a flying start to this season which makes this weekend’s contest a ‘second versus third’ match.