Harry Houdini Job done!
Honiton avoid the drop with a hard fought win against Tavistock
Saturdays rugby at Allhallows was all staged with high drama and some sadness. Firstly ther was a very moving minutes applause that was observed by all the teams and a large crowd of supporters. This tribute was for long serving clubman Tony Dimond who had sadly lost his long battle with Cancer on Thursday night and being an honerary life menber it was a fitting send off for a very well respect man.
And... as for on the field action, the stakes could not have been higher. A loss with no bonus point would have meant Honiton’s league status as a Devon and Cornwall league club would have ended but on the other hand, a win would have secured another year at this very competertive level. Tavistock were the visitors and they are a side who were comfortably sitting mid table in the league and were no mugs in terms of their potential.
Spured on by Honiton’s largest crowd of the season and the emotion of the situation, the Lacemen understanderbly had a nervy start and it was the visitors who had the majority of the posession in the early stages and it was Honiton who were under all the early pressure. The deadlock was broken on the ten minute mark when a ball swung wide was dotted down right in the corner and the conversion was well struck to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. Honiton battled their way back into the game but this was not with out several bouts of goal line defensive plays which just about kept the Moorlanders at bay. Honiton did claw back on the deficit when Tom Irish had to work hard to finished off a good catch and drive down in “clubhouse corner” . The game was then very much end to end and Honiton’s set piece was starting to get on top but a late tackle was then penalised with a well struck penalty which took the visitors out to 10-5. Cave got a penalty back after one of their attacks was illigaly stopped and at the break, the visitors were 10-8 up will all to play for.
Honiton had to dig deep as they were now faced with the prospect of being behind and playing up the notirious Allhallows slope and as the half went on, the the tention just mounted. The game seemed to open up and both sides had their chances. There was a couple of try saving tackles from Josh Rice and James Coutes that were thrown in to the mix but from an attack up the right Cave broke the gain line but he was high tackled as he went through the gap. This resulted in a yellow card being given and Honiton then had the advantage and from the next set of plays it was Cave who crashed over under the post after good work from the forwards. He converted the score to given Honiton a slender five point lead.
The Lacemen then hung on to this lead for dear life and with ten minutes to go Cave kicked an important goal from an infringement and this score had Honiton move to that all important two scores ahead lead at 18-10. The visitors came back strongly and the last five minutes for all was pretty fraught and again another fine try saving tackle form Will Goulden ipitimised the resolve of the defence and they to a man twated attack after attack. With Honiton in posession and the 80 minutes up the ball was hoofed off the field and the whistle was blown and Honiton had done it!
This was a great game of rugby to watch which Honiton on balance, did deserved to win and it was a monumental effort by all of the squad. Skipper Price, Goulden, Coutie and Rice probably stood out for their usual senior performances but the man of the match went to Ollie Cave for his individual points tally and some courageous tackling thrown in but having said that, it was a good team effort and the performances of the younger players can't be over looked either and it’s probably harsh to single people on a day when everyone played their part in and 18 man effort in what was a tough "pressure cooker" environment!
So... Honiton dead and buried just after Christmas with just one win to thier name have produced one of the best “Harry Houdini” jobs seen to survive and they now live to fight another day as a Devon and Cornwall side. Hopefully next season we will see them grow and with some exciting young players on show and judging by the performances over the final six weeks, they have shown they clearly have the potential to do well and not just be in a “just surviving” situation next year.