Honiton claim fifth straight league victory with Withy win

PUBLISHED: 15:41 02 October 2017 | UPDATED: 15:41 02 October 2017

Honiton at home to Withycombe. Ref mhsp 40-17TI 1603. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton at home to Withycombe. Ref mhsp 40-17TI 1603. Picture: Terry Ife

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Honiton continued their perfect start to the Tribute Cornwall and Devon League campaign by claiming a fifth straight success, seeing off East Devon rivals Withycombe 23-22 after a compelling 80 minutes of rugby at Allhallows, writes Jerry Rice.

Recent season’s have seen Withy as one of the levels more consistent teams and the Lacemen have previously always come off ‘second-best’ in meetings between the teams, but this early season has seen the Lacemen make a flying start.

Electing to play ‘up the field’ in the first half, the Lacemen were ‘under the cosh’ for the opening 15 minutes with Withy clearly in no mood to pay too much heed to the form book!

Honiton defended well, but the visitors were first on the score sheet with a well-struck penalty.

Honiton were patient and got into the game and, after a good passage of play it was skipper Will Goulden, who crashed over for the first score and Ollie Cave tucked over the extras.

Withy hit back with a converted try and they struck again in a first half that produced end-to-end flowing rugby.

Honiton were again on the score board when Ben Kidson dotted down out wide and this was followed by a sublime Cave conversion to reduce the deficit to one of just three points at 17-14 to the visitors.

Withy, with the advantage of the slope, continued to press and scored a third try, but the conversion was missed and, a late first half Cave penalty, saw the sides troop off for a deserved break with Withy holding a 22-17 lead.

The second half saw a confident Lacemen, now playing with the slop in their favour start well, but the advent of rain reduced much of the remainder of the contest of the ‘scrappy’ variety and it became from of a ‘slog’ for both teams.

Honiton kicked an early penalty to get with three points and it became clear that the outcome of the match would depend on which side held their nerve best in the conditions.

Withy had two players sent to the sin-bin in the second half, reducing them to 13 men for a five minute period.

Cave slotted a 68th minute penalty to nudge his side into the lead for the first time in the contest at 23-22.

The final 10 minutes were nerve racking for both sets of supporters and, with just moments remaining, Withy spurned a shot at goal to win the game. However, the Lacemen dug deep and hung on through to the final whistle to claim a famous win.

This was a terrific encounter. Honiton could argue they should have had a couple of scores awarded in the first half, but a narrow Honiton win was probably the correct result to a neutral.

Honiton, to a man, were committed to the cause and they are now playing very much like a unit, there was some great individual performances as usual but it was number ten Adam Thompson, who is sponsored by Priory Paving, who was named as the Lacemens Man of the Match.

Next up, is this Saturday’s (October 7) home meeting with a Lanner side that has also made a good start to the new league term.

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