Posted: 02.09.19 at 13:27 by Dan Garman - Honiton Rugby Football Club
Saturday saw Honiton RFC travel over to West Devon to take on North Tawton in the last of their pre-season warm up games.
The host have just been promoted to the Devon and Cornwall league following a successful campaign last year and they were obviously keen to test our their prowess against high league opposition.
For Honiton it was anything but plain sailing and with at least 10 (counted) regulars form last season unavailable for the day, it would prove to be a stern test of “strength in depth” and it was also obviously, a potential banana skin game.
Whilst coming up from grass roots rugby to the D & C league it’s fair to say, the host are able to boast some very impressive facilities and on a rather blustery but sunny day their pitch looked perfect.
The game was split into two thirty minute sessions and a final 20 minute one to finish off proceedings. Honiton took advantage of the stiff breeze first and started brightly. A good passage of play saw the Ton press and James Coutts open up the scoring after several phases.
This was soon followed up with a second when Adam Thompson intercepted a wayward number 10 pass, Tom Steer converted both.
Despite this bright start it was pretty clear that Honiton were up against it in the forward department and it was here where they often struggled to supply good “front foot” ball for the backs to use and both number 9's used in Meadows and Cook, had difficult afternoons in getting the ball away from the base.
The home side bounced back from their early set back and were rewarded with a good score when the Ton’s defensive line was breached. Honiton however stretched their lead when new Spanish signing David Maynadie charged down a kick and then popped the ball up for player coach Alex Brooks to cross.
The second period saw Honiton in much more of a defensive mode as it was now their turn to play into the stiff breeze. The home side used the advantage well and with strong runners and Honiton’s defences well stretched, they got their second score.
It was then a bit tit-for-tat as Skipper Wright scored for the Ton from the back of a retreating scrum and then the mid side dotted down as well and it was anything but comfortable for the Ton being just one score ahead.
Young Sam Olive got a score from a pass from his skipper but in the dying moments back came North Tawton with another score.
The final 20 minute session saw Honiton lose a toss and they then had to defend the stiff breeze again. It was tight and also an even 20 minute period of play with both sides scoring. Tom Steer got Honiton’s with a good individual break and the game finished with a 26-36 win for the Ton.
Credit must go to the home side as they stuck to their task well. For Honiton there was also a real plus, as their make shift forwards did well against a strong opposition.
This struggle up front did however mean Honiton didn’t have as much of the ball as they are used to and the backs and whilst looking dangerous were probably frustrated by the afternoons proceedings.
It was obviously an opportunity for several to show what they could do and both David Maynadie and Sam Olive looked good on their first full senior outings.
As mention the backs clearly have potential and up front skipper Wright and Baily worked hard but it was Will Goulden who got my man of the match as he held the front row together and worked hard in the "defence and carrying" departments.
It’s back to training this week and lots to work on before the first game of the season which starts this Saturday at 3pm down at Allhallows.
There was also a fitting response by the Honiton contingent after the game as they contributed towards support for the North Tawton skipper who's recent work accident has sadly left him paralysed and by giving match fees and several donations on the day they raised in excess of £200 for the fund to support him in his rehabilitation.