Honiton play well but come away empty handed
First half penalty count cost dear and it was one of those days .
Honiton had the difficult task of going to second placed Paignton on their home ground this week but give a string good results of late and a settled side for once they was hope of an upset.
Conditions under foot were good but the icy stiff breeze blowing straight down the field was to play it’s part in proceeding. Honiton elected to play against the wind in the first half clearly understanding ball retention was key and for the first ten minutes things went to plan. There was a good break from James Coutes which was stopped short but in the next attack Honiton’s effective “pick and goes” saw them work there way close and Will Goulding was driven over by team mate Louie Lane for the opening score. Ollie Cave converted for Honiton to have a well deserved lead. Paignton then started to use the wind well and with Honiton finding it difficult to break out or get there hands on the ball errors crept in and a succession of three penalties saw their accurate kicker put the home side back in front by 9-7with 25minutes played. Paignton then added to their tally with another well struck penalty but to rub salt into the wound they then reacted quickest to a over throw line out and scored a try to go 19-7 up. Honiton rallied from this well and from a series of good rucks they pressed the home sides line and after a succession of "off side" advantages played Honiton elected to take the points but maybe they should have scrumed them becasue from the restart and nearly on full time Paignton knocked over another penalty and this saw the seaside’s extend their lead to 22-10 which wasn’t a real reflection on the balance of play.
With the use of the wind Honiton started the second half brightly and with the pack dominating and pushing the home side about they did have the possession and ran the ball well. Using the wind as well Honiton at one point made a great clearance kick but the ball was adjudged to have gone dead which was disputed but from the restart which was way back in Honiton’s half the well organised Paignton side scored thier seconsd try which was converted. Cave and the home sides kicker traded penalties and at 32-13 Honiton were really dead and buried but they hung in and came back strongly and from a good passage of play Webber was put in for Honiton converted try. Both side went close in the final moments but with Honiton pressing in the final passage of play the final whistle came to soon and it meant Honiton were left empty handed.
The final score was 32-20 but it was hugely disappointing for the Lacemen as the reality was, they played very well against one of the leagues top sides. They will rue their penalty count, especially early on and if you take out the five penalty kicks in the first half then Honiton were definatly in it. Honiton cause was also hampered as they didn’t seem to have the ref on their side and there was niggle in the front row with several decision not going Honiton’s way and this definatly cause disruption as they were on top in this department. The backs looked dangerous and the centre pairing of Smith and Coutes looked good. And trenchard Tyers and Webber all carried well. Upfront they also shunted the Paignton pack around for much of the game and they should have scored a push over try as well but I guess it was just one of those days and all said and done, the all round composure of the home side won the day despite a sprited good performance against a side who are in a key position for promotion.
Next week Honiton are at home to Penryn and as always home support will be well received