End to end stuff sees Honiton edged out in a tough battle
Honiton's battle to aviod the drop cobntinues
This was a much anticipated clash against Saltash and despite brilliant sunshine all morning the heavens opened up just before the start of the game and this torrential down pour really meant the game was played in pretty difficult conditions. There was a large crowd on hand as Honiton were hosting their annual Vice Presidents luncheon which is held to thank all the local firms and individuals who help support the club ove rthe year.
Saltash currently occupy the third slot in the division and are a side very much in with a shout for promotion spot and as for Honiton it was another day, in their dog fight to avoid the drop so for both sides there was everything to play for.
Despite the difficult conditions Honiton playing up the slope, started brightly and a good passage of play saw them take several drives to the oppositions line and it was the final push that saw Louie Lane come up with the ball for Honiton’s first try, Ollie Cave slotted the extras. This good start unfortunately spurred the opposition into action and it was clear they were no mugs once they got the ball. They got back in to the game with a well worked try and on the 15 minute mark added to it with another powerful surge and a try dotted down out wide. With both conversions kicked Honiton were on the back foot at 7-14 down. However they hung in there, Cave slotted a penalty to reduce the deficit but again using the ball well the Cornish men spotted a two on one and again dotted down for their third score. Honiton plugged away and Cave got another shot at goal which he took and as the half ran out Honiton finished strongly and a good passage play saw the ball spun wide and Jake Smith threw a neat dummy to break the defence and run round to the posts for an easy converted try. This score meant Honiton finished the half one point to the good at 20-19 and having weathered the storm were looking good for it as well.
With the famous slope advantage Honiton were clearly in confident mood and with a penalty advantage in play, a speculative cross field kick was well gathered by Devon under twenty man Kyle Blackmore and he cantered over the line for a good Honiton score. The visitors though dug deep and despite being under the cosh from the Honiton scrum they retained the ball well and they scored two quick tries which was orchestrated by a nippy number 9. These scores took them out to 31-25. Cave slotted a penalty to keep Honiton in the hunt and it was frantic stuff for the last twenty minutes.
For Honiton there then came a killer moment as a dropped ball was latched on to by the 9 and he crossed for their third try of the half. Honiton didn’t give up and they pressed and the visitors were hanging on in the final passages of play. Honiton were awarded a penalty right in front of the posts and chasing for a two point bonus they opted to run rather than take just the one losing bonus point kick that was on offer. Their endeavour from the tap penalty went very close but stout defence some how kept them at bay and the game finish moments later Honiton ended up empty handed with a disappointing 28-38 loss and we can only hpoe that single point bonus doesn’t come back to haunt Honiton.
Despite the conditions, this was a good game to watch and Honiton clearly played their part in a tough encounter. For Saltash they knew they been under the cosh for lots of the game but to thier credit they dug deep to get back into it and they showed why they are at the top end of the league. For Honiton, it must have been hard pill to swallow as there was a lot of effort put in by all and on this evidence they really showed they can more than hold their own in this league. If truth be told, it was handing errors that did for Honiton and whilst it was terrible conditions it was the same for both sides and it was that, that was maybe was the difference between the two sides. The result pushes Honiton back into the bottom three and with two games left, Honiton have now have no option but to win both if they are to avoid relegation.
This weekend they play bottom side Tamar Saracens and as always they will welcome your support as the battle continues.