Chesham Stags lost 24-12 to Honiton at home on Saturday in their National Cup quarter-final clash, with the winners just one step from Twickenham

In gale force winds, Honiton kicked off and immediately camped in the Chesham’s 22 and they remained there for much of the first half.

Chesham defended resolutely. Early repeated offside penalties saw Chesham pinned back in their own 22 and the constant pressure paid off for the visitors when, from a line-out, Honiton’s well drilled forwards scored an unconverted push over try.

Making good use of the wind to gain field position Honiton heaped more pressure on Chesham. Recurring offside penalties by the home team saw Honiton convert another six points from the boot.

Shortly before half-time, Chesham prop Nick Jones was sin-binned for a scrum offence. The Stags defence, which has been a key strength all season, dug deep to hang on until half-time.

Within five minutes, Honiton added another three penalty points for yet another Chesham offside offence.

Chesham rallied and after a series of good interchanges between forwards and backs Stags prop Jones crashed over under the posts. The referee signalled a try but then, controversially changed his mind deciding the ball was held up.

The home team continued to pile on the pressure and for the first time, Honiton were on the back foot. A series of breaks and some great team play saw Taz Hagan, the Chesham hooker, driving through the Honiton defence for a try which Tom Hirst converted. The Stags were now playing with some composure.

The Honiton flanker was binned for 10 minutes for a high tackle. Chesham were playing with some flair and fast recycling of the ball at the breakdown saw a quick blindside move by the Chesham backs put the ball in the hands of Hirst who side stepped the cover defence to score on the 15m mark. Hirst converted his own try to bring the score to 14-12 to Honiton. Chesham were back in the game.

But not for long, yet again Honiton bounced back. Chesham were penalised just inside their half. Despite the fierce wind the Honiton centre, who had been on fine kicking form all day took the opportunity to add three more.

Shortly before full time, Chesham were attacking and a dropped ball gave Honiton a chance. They took the initiative and fly hacked the ball towards the Chesham line. In the race for the line Honiton got there first and scored the final try of the game, which was converted.

This was an entertaining rugby game played in good spirit and in gale force winds

The Stags have had a fine season so far and sit at the top of the BBO Premiership with some impressive results. They must now focus on winning their remaining league games and securing promotion. They now face struggling Risborough on Saturday (3pm).