Honiton again pipped at the post
Harsh decisions cost Lacemen dear and when is a penalty try not a penalty try!
Having hauled them selves out of the relegation zone two weeks ago Honiton had the task of keeping the momentum going but with a difficult trip down to Plymouth to play fifth placed Plymstock Albion Oaks it was anything but easy.
Two factors were to play a big part in the game, one was a very strong cross wind that made throwing the ball around difficult and as a result of this most of the game was played up one side of the pitch and was no advantage to either side. The second fact I’m afraid to say was some pretty inept officiating but to be fair this factor effected both sides but really this aspect and the wind meant it just wasn’t a great game to watch as there was niggle errors all afternoon.
The home side got off to a good start with a well judged penatly and whilst Honiton tried to get into the game the first 15 minutes was littered with penalty after penalty and most of which were against Honiton. The Oaks added a second penalty on the fifteen minute mark to go six points clear. Honiton then had a good passage of play. Ollie Cave knocked over a straight forward penalty and with the scrums working well they were able to dominate the last 20 minutes of the half. From a defensive error Honiton were awarded a five metre scrum and given their dominance at the set piece they opted for a scrum. They drove and the Plymouth side colasped the scrum and from the restart they did it again, not once but three more times and to all watching, including the home supporters, it should clearly have been a penalty try but it was just not awarded and on the final drive the home side were the ones who were awared a penalty and the Oaks cleared their lines. Unpeturbed and helped with a sin binning for the home side, Honiton pressed again and this time they were actually rewarded a penalty try as the home side again capitualted at a maul. Cave converted which gave Honiton a deservid 6-10 lead at the break.
After the break Honiton did not react quickly enough to a penlaty and from the quick tap and go and a couple of missed tackles, Oaks ran in from the 22 metre line and score a converted try. In a ding dong affair Honiton leveled with another Cave penalty and it was clear this was going to be nip and tuck for the rest of the game. For Honiton a yellow card to number 8 Harry Wright was harshly punnished as Oaks again broke the deadlock with another try from a break up the middle and at 20-13 down and just 10 minutes to go Honiton looked dead and buried. They dug deep and worked up field and from a couple of good drives they were awarded a penalty. They tapped and went and Cave crossed and with the conversion going over the scores were level at 20 a piece and with two minutes on the clock it looked like it was going to be honours even. Unfortunatly in the dying moments Honiton were penalised for an error at the ruck and I’m afraid the decision was clearly wrong but up stepped their accurate goal kicker and he knocked over the goal and yet again Honiton were piped at the death.
This was a harsh call for the Lacemen and on blance of play they should have won the game. Two bad defensive errors cost dear as did some of the unfavorable decisions from the whisltle man. It was not a great game to watch with too many penalties and errors were rife because of the strong wind. Honiton maybe also needed to use the back s a little more as they are dangerous with the ball.
Despite the loss, results in other games went Honiton’s way and they still remain just out of the relegation zone and next weeks home game against second placed Satlash is frankly a big one. Honiton are also holding their VP day as well so hopefully with a good training session this week and the advantage of a large home crowd they can pull a result out of the bag but it won’t be one for the faint hearted.