Cave stars as Lacemen give Cornish table-toppers tough time

PUBLISHED: 10:17 21 December 2016 | UPDATED: 10:17 21 December 2016

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9443. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton 2nds at home to Exeter Eng. Ref mhsp 41-16TI 9443. Picture: Terry Ife

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Honiton 1st XV made the long trip down to Falmouth for their last game before Christmas, writes Brendon Findlay.

Falmouth are currently the Tribute Cornwall and Devon runaway leaders and the Lacemen (and their supporters) journeyed in the full knowledge that it was going to be a tough game!

The approach to the contest was one of ‘we’ve nothing to so lose’ and, with this in mind, the Lacemen began brightly.

It was the home side who registered the first points of the game with a well-struck penalty.

Honiton were giving as good as they got, and, with two penalties knocked over by Ollie Cave, they took the lead.

Unfortunately, from the restart Honiton failed to gather the ball and conceded a scrum on their line from which the well-organised home side bagged their opening try.

Cave chipped away at the lead with two more penalties, but Falmouth had the last word of the half when, following a sustained attack, with several phases of play, the Lacemen ran out of defenders and the second home try was scored.

Turning round 18-12 down, Honiton were very much in the game and it was nip-and-tuck until disaster struck!

Firstly influential skipper Robert Price had to leave the field with an injury and to add to their woes, Honiton went down to 14 men when centre James Coutes was sent to the sin bin for a mid-air tackle!

Honiton hung on, but during the 10 minutes of being down a player, they concede 10 points courtesy of another try and a penalty.

Honiton then struggled a bit as head dropped and the league leaders crossed twice more to finish the visitors off.

The Honiton supporters did have something still to cheer in the game when Phil Bennet dotted down, but it was too late in the game to change the outcome as Falmouth won the match 44-17.

The Cornish side were deserved winners, but Honiton certainly ‘gave them a game’ and, at times in the contest, the table-toppers were clearly ‘rattled’.

It was only after the 60th minute injury and the sin-binning that the game ‘went away’ from the Lacemen who, to a man, played well.

Price and Rice were mentioned in dispatches, but the Player of the Day was undoubtedly the hard-working Cave.

The final whistle at Falmouth brought the curtain down on a torrid first half of the season and they have to now lick their wounds, enjoy the Christmas break, and come out fighting for the second half of the season as they face a real battle if they are to maintain their league status come the end of April.

All that said, there has clearly been a marked improvement in the final three games of the year and this momentum will defiantly need to be built on as part of their survival plan.

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