Cooke stars as Honiton 2nds are beaten by Topsham 2nds

PUBLISHED: 11:46 19 November 2019

Honiton rugby. Ref mscsp 48 17TI 3845. Picture: Terry Ife

Honiton rugby. Ref mscsp 48 17TI 3845. Picture: Terry Ife

Archant

The Otters had a rare occasion on Saturday when they welcomed Topsham seconds to Allhallows for the first time in several seasons.

The game started with the Otters receiving the kick and playing up the slope. It became very obvious that Topsham's scrum half was going to be one to watch all game.

With the clearing kick not making touch, Topsham set up a ruck and the 9 ran on down the blind side to get their first points of the day.

As the first half progressed, the Ton just could not seem to get a hold of the game, with Topsham being very strong at the breakdown and turning over the ball.

Topsham ran in a few more scores to turn around 34-0 up at half time. The score line was maybe a little unfair on the Otters as they had worked hard but were up against a team who knew how to maximise their chances. The Ton made a couple changes at half-time and seemed to come out a different side.

They got back to basics and started using the forwards to build a platform. The ton managed to get on the scoreboard after 10 minutes with Andy Canniford bursting through the gap to score just to the left of the post. Sam Heathcote converted. The second score came soon after in much the same way.

The forwards were building with pick and goes and then Matt House managed to crash over for another converted try. With a few changes being made, momentum was lost a bit but the Otters managed to get the last points of the day after winning a scrum against the head on Topsham's five metre line and young Dom Bernhardt managed to get over the line for his first senior try. Certainly looking like one that's got a bright future in the Tons' senior squad.

It was certainly a game of two halves and one that they can only blame themselves for giving away. All that said, there were some very good individual performances; Fin Blackmore had a good game at hooker, the returning Kyle Blackmore showed what he can do in the centres and it was good to see Robbie Price doing his usual wrecking ball carrying at number eight, but man of the match had to go to Phil Cooke, who had an outstanding game in both defence and attack.

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