Eddie the Otter's influence sees the Lacemen home.
Honiton win in the final play of the game
Honiton kicked of their 2017-8 campaign on Saturday in front of a healthy crowd down at Allhallows. Conditions were perfect and with a lot of work being done by the grounds men during the summer the pitch was in perfect condition.
The visitors for the opening game were near neighbours Wellington who were relegated last season from the league above and to be honest despite being just over the hill in Somerset, Honiton knew little about them as they haven’t played each other n any form for several years.
There was a minutes silence observed by all present for long serving club member Eddie “the Otter” Marks who had recently passed away after a fall that he never recovered from and it was a fitting tribute to someone who had actively supported the club since the mid seventies. His funeral is on Friday at St Pauls church at 1.30pm and there is a “wake” at the club from 2.15pm.
Honiton lost the toss and were asked to use the slope in the first half and they started brightly but right from the off it was clear this would be a close encounter as the Wellington defence stood firm. Ollie Cave
(sponsored by Rob Tryes Plumbing ltd ) put Honiton’s first points on the board on the six minute mark with a well struck penalty from the ten metre line.
It was a physical encounter and Honiton’s number eight Josh Rice
(sponsored by Ultim8 construction)and the Wellington number 7 were involved in a scuffle and as a result both were sin binned which did seem a little harsh as it was in rugby terms, just a “bit of handbags”.
Wellington got back on even par when an off side decision saw the visitors fullback levelled the score. Back game Honiton with another penalty and Cave added to that with a second and Honiton went 9-3 up. Then Honiton fortuitously had a clear advantage, as the Wellington number 7 back on the field was again penalised for a for not releasing and despite it being a yellow card for persistent offending it turned into a Red card as it was his second offence. There was no messing with the referee and both sides were on edge from then on. Honiton battered the Wellington line in the last ten minutes of the half and they should have scored and maybe a few wide balls rather than route one approach should have been the option.
Wellington were having a bad day with the ref as on the stroke of half time they lost another man to the bin for decent and they started the second half with13 men on the park. Despite this they rallied well and went form being under the cosh to dominating procedures and they scored a try out wide to get back to with in one point. Honiton then lost the impressive Ben Small
to the “yellow card” trigger happy ref and during this 10 minutes Wellington scored again with a neat cross field kick which the winger caught and dotted down, the conversion was successful and Wellington were 15-9 ahead and with their tails up. Honiton dug deep and went back to being patient with their build ups and Honiton made inroads but to all watching it looked like Honiton were facing the usual first game loss but with seconds on the clock left a pick and drive saw Player Coach Nathan Hannay
barge over from close range and after a long deliberation the ref awarded the try and this meant Cave had the conversion attempt for a heart stopping win or lose result. He calmly slotted and Allhallows celebrated having played their get out of jail card and just maybe “Eddie the Otter” had something to do with it as well and this win was a fitting send off.
Wellington contributed well through out and will undoubtedly feel unlucky as they felt they had done enough to win the game and they had of course played 50 minutes of the game with 14 men on the park and they look a strong outfit. For Honiton discipline was very good in the first half and there were also some very good passages of play but there was a lack of width in attack and I’m sure they could have made more of a wide game than they did if they’d released the ball more often. Still it was a win and with more actual match practice, things will get better. There were several good performances from the Honiton ranks but the man of the match award went to Ben Small
(not sponsored) who has made an impressive come back to playing after a two season absence.
Next week it’s away trip to newly promoted Wessex who play at the flowerpot fields in Exeter.