Posted: 11.09.19 at 14:31 by Justin Nuttall
Honiton kicked-off their 2019-20 season in uncharted waters with the visit of top four finishers last season St Austell and with several new signings as well the Cornishmen’s ambitions for this season are clear.
With the weather set fair and a health crowd watching the Ton kick off up the infamous Allhallows slope.
Having quickly regained possession, following a St Austell knock on they won the resulting scrum but a forward pass saw a promising attack thwarted .
St Austell moved the ball down field and were awarded a penalty at the breakdown, they kicked to touch just shy of the Honiton try line but lost the line out and Honiton cleared.
Unfortunately Honiton were forced to make an early change when Matt Bailey was replaced following a head injury so on came Ross Watts.
Honiton stole the next line out to move the ball in to their opponents half and several phases of play saw them gain ground but the St Austell defence was well organised.
A penalty for holding on at the breakdown saw Tom Steer with his first shot at goal which he duly obliged with and after 10 minutes Honiton had a 3-0 lead.
Honiton moved the ball up field after the away side conceded two penalties and Tom Steer knocked another one over to increase the lead to 6-0 after 15 minutes.
Both sides exchanged possession and it was then Honiton who conceded a penalty of their own from outside the twenty two and the St Austell ten slotted which meant it was 6-3 after 20 minutes.
Honiton piled on the pressure and extended their lead with another Tom Steer penalty and on the half our mark the Ton were 9-3 in front and looking good for their endeavours but this was short lived as St Austell won the restart and Honiton were penalised for holding on and after another successful penalty from the St Austell 10 the first half ended at 9-6 with no tries score and both sides defences the winners.
For those watching Honiton now had use of the slope and were confident of the Ton powering down the field and getting a result.
The second half started with Honiton winning the restart and cleared down field but with strong runners St Austell moved the ball up the field going through multiple phases and they then camped in the Honiton’s twenty two and after valiant defence they had the firepower to get the first try of the game by bulldozing over just left of the uprights.
The conversion was added and they held the lead for the first time at 9-13.
The away side then started to control the ball more and staved Honiton of possession. They won a penalty inside the Honiton twenty two and elected for touch rather than a shot at goal. They lost the line out and Honiton cleared and forced a line out at half way.
The second half injury problems continued for Honiton with Ross Watts having to go off with knee injury and then player coach Alex Brooks also depart with an ankle injury as well and all this did disrupt things for the Ton.
The home side spent most the second half not having ventured in to their opponents half until they forced a penalty and had a line out just beyond half way.
They won the ball and started to move the ball well, a knock at the base of the ruck saw the attack halted.
From this scrum St Austell moved the ball wide through their full back and number eight who was making ground with every carry and the Ton’s clean possession dried up.
They defended valiantly, but in the final play of the game a great break by the St Austell replacement winger saw them score a try that killed the Ton’s chance of a losing bonus point and in what was a close game Honiton went down by 9-20.
For Honiton it was a good performance and they were defiantly in the mix until the final score and the visitors knew it had been a close game.
The injuries certainly didn’t help Honiton’s cause and their lack of possession in the second half was crucial as it kept their dangerous backs out of action.
The penalty count especially in the second half was also a room for improvement area.
But there were some good individual performances especially in defence but man of the match went to Ben Logan who worked hard throughout.
All in all Honiton played well and clearly showed they can cope at this level and despite the loss the mood in the camp was positive as they work on their aim to maintain their league status this season.