Chiefs retain David Turner Cup in thriller at Honiton

HONITON 1st XV  22pts  v  SIDMOUTH 1st XV  22pts 

In a hard-fought, entertaining game, the Chiefs staged a second half come-back to retain the David Turner Cup as the holders in a drawn game.

In the first half, Honiton belied their two-leagues-below status to build up a significant lead. Their lively forwards were consistently quicker to the breakdown, which earned them a number of turnovers and penalties. With play predominantly in the Sidmouth half, this enabled them to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Straight from the kick off the Chiefs were penalised at the first ruck and the Honiton fly half opened the scoring with a successful kick at goal.

With an advantage in the scrums, the Chiefs were not short of possession, but the backs lacked cohesion and failed to make progress against a determined defence. A Dan Retter penalty levelled the scores before Honiton took control of the second quarter.

The Honiton half backs combined well in a move which took play into the Sidmouth 22, where the pack drove forward through several phases. They created a clear overlap, but a crunching Andrew Dare tackle took man and ball. However, the pressure eventually earned a penalty, which the number 14 kicked to regain the lead.

A fine break by the inside centre put Honiton back on the attack and, following a period of pressure on the line, the fly half darted over following a quick tap penalty. The try was well converted from the touchline.

The Chiefs had a brief period of pressure but when they lost a lineout Honiton were able to clear the danger. The home side added two more penalties before Dan Retter reduced the arrears with a penalty in injury time to make the halftime score 6-19.

The Chiefs fight back was sparked by a fine individual try from James Powell three minutes after the restart. The Chiefs launched an attack following a turnover at a ruck deep inside their own half. Powell made a break before kicking ahead. He won the chase to gather the ball and dive over near the posts. Dan Retter added the conversion.

With the Sidmouth pack in the ascendancy, Honiton were kept pinned inside their own half. Two more Retter penalties levelled the score, however, two good try scoring opportunities were missed. They eventually took the lead with a Dan Retter drop goal after good running by the Trim brothers and James Powell had set up the position.

Honiton launched one last attack in the closing minutes and, when Dan Trim was yellow carded for an offence at a ruck , a penalty levelled the scores.