Lacemen left to ponder defeat

Honiton RFC 1st XV 17, Tavistock 21

Honiton slumped to a disappointing 21-17 defeat to Tavistock at Allhallows on Saturday. The defeat was hard to take for the Lacemen as it was strongly felt by both players and on lookers that Honiton had gifted the game to the visitors with unforced errors, writes Nick Guilbert.

The hard ground provided a solid platform for running rugby and the home side started well up the slope. The pack made good yards with some decent carries and Honiton went close to scoring before being snuffed out.

Honiton struggled at the contact areas for the rest of the afternoon, where the basic rucking and second man skills were simply not good enough.

This meant that continuity was well below par, making it hard for the half backs to marshal their troops effectively.

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Tavistock made it into Honiton territory and when the home side infringed, their number 10 kicked a penalty from just inside the 10 yard line.

Honiton reacted and worked up field, and again it was direct running with effective rucking that allowed the progress to be made. Canniford kicked well from hand all day, and a decent nudge to the top left hand corner gave his side a platform.

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The lineout functioned better than last week, and Rice gathered a good throw from youngster Price to set up a maul. Good yards were made before Way and Dalton ventured blind before being stopped two yards short. Hill pick and drove quickly in the same direction and crossed in the corner for an unconverted try.

Honiton were guilty of conceding penalties themselves and Tavistock came back with a try of their own from a catch and drive to carry the score to 8-5. The game was well balanced and Honiton altered their scrum to provide more stability. Honiton turned the ball over in the middle of the field and looked odds on to make good yards from the left hand side. Unfortunately an unforced handling error resulted in the away side’s out side centre collecting the ball and galloping in from the half way.

At half time, Honiton were in with a shout, but in the second period they panicked and failed to implement or exercise their intended strategy. They acquired good field position that could have allowed them to score penalty kicks but they elected to run their opportunities, which did not work.

As it was Honiton turned over a lineout on the half way, Price shifted the ball to the backs and Coutts-Tucker showed an excellent turn of pace to beat the gain line and evade several tacklers to cross unopposed on the left hand side.

However, Honiton switched off and fell further behind as Tavistock scored in the top right hand corner, before conceding another penalty. At 21-10 Honiton were in danger of leaving the game with nothing but good work from the pack with more constructive pick and goes finally gave them the bonus point which lifted them off bottom of the table, again it was Hill coming up with the ball.

?Honiton seconds did not play on Saturday as Tavistock failed to turn up. This does mean they earn the points for a ‘win’.

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