Honiton enjoy RFU Senior Vase success at Twickenham
HONITON enjoyed success at Twickenham on Sunday by winning the RFU Senior Vase final.
The east Devon club, who had already claimed promotion and the Devon Intermediate Shield, staged a late comeback to beat Yorkshire side Northallerton 29-27 in a high quality and entertaining game.
Honiton, having found themselves 10-0 down in the opening 30 minutes, were leading 19-10 early in the second half, but Northallerton hit back and went 27-19 ahead before the Devonians produced a late rally to claim victory.
Both clubs had taken plenty of supporters to Twickenham and it was the Northallerton’s who were cheering first when Australian fly-half Ashley Rio scored the first points of the game with a penalty 14 minutes.
The two sides were very evenly matched and both struggled to break through the opposition defensive line for much of the first half.
Northallerton’s second-row Phil Swall scored the first try of the game 29 minutes in after relentless waves of attacking pressure and scrum-half Jedd Bainbridge added the extras to make it 10-0.
However, a yellow card for Rio on 34 minutes gave Honiton a man advantage and they made it count, scoring their first try of the game through captain Will Goulden, which Tom Steer converted.
And just before the break, winger Adam Thompson produced a moment of magic to run down the left wing and out-pace three players to score from nearly 50m and give Honiton a 12-10 half-time lead..
It continued to be an attritional battle in the second half with both sides defending superbly.
Honiton missed two long-range penalty kicks at goal befoe they did extend their lead when fly-half scored under the posts after some intense pressure. Steer again converted to give his side a 19-10 lead.
But Northallerton bounced back when prop Joe Hargreaves crashed over the line from a rolling maul after 63 minutes. Rio nailed a tricky conversion to narrow Honiton’s lead to just two points with 15 minutes left on the clock.
And it was Rio’s boot that once again gave his side the lead moments later when he knocked over a penalty from in front of the posts to put them 19-17 in front.
Northallerton suddenly had all the momentum and they scored once again when the ball was spread wide to Alexander Metcalfe, who showed great footwork to touch down. Rio added the extras.
Steer gave Honiton hope of mounting a comeback with eight minutes left when he nudged over a penalty to narrow Northallerton’s lead to just five points.
And Steer was the man to make the difference for Honiton in the 78th minute, converting his own try to make it 29-27 to the Devon side at the final whistle.