A 500 plus crowd braved the Boxing Day storm to watch the annual derby between the two local rugby clubs. League positions are often irrelevant in these games as both teams rise to the occasion. Salcombe got off to a flying start after a penalty was given immediately after the kick off. Fly half Chris Drew stepped up to send the ball over for the games first points. Salcombe dominated the opening exchanges and could have been further ahead but Drew's two further Penalty attempts drifted agonisingly wide. Kingsbridge soon settled and began to get a foothold into the game. Sharp breaks down the blind side caught Salcombe sleeping at times as they edged closer to the line. A Salcombe infringement led to an attacking line out for Kingsbridge ten metres out. The Kingsbridge pack controlled the catch and drive to score their first try of the afternoon. Full back George Banfield converting. Kingsbridge now had the upper hand in the set pieces and began to spread the ball wide. Salcombe's backs dealt with the danger and had Jon Squire and Chris Drew to thank for try saving tackles after good attacking runs from Ben Newman and James Trout. Both sets of packs were going toe to toe in the driving wind. The Salcombe back row of Stuart Winzer, James Palmer and Richard Gregson worked tirelessly in the loose attacking and defending. As half time approached Salcombe had their own catch and drive that was pulled down and turned over close to the line for the visitors to clear. Trailing 3-7 at the break the Crabs knew that they were still in the game but needed to address a few issues. The Kingsbridge line out was working really well and they set up a number of catch and drives inside the Salcombe half. It didn't take long before the blue and whites scored their second try using the same method as the first score. At times the weather took centre stage as both teams struggled to maintain possession for any prolonged periods of time. After gaining field territory Salcombe were forced to concede a 5 metre scrum. Number eight Jack Cope controlled the ball well to touch down for a converted score. At no stage did the Salcombe heads drop during the game. They threw everything they could at their opponents but couldn't get the field position to really set up the attacks. Off a turnover ball created by centre Ian Smerdon, Salcombe launched a counter attack just outside of their own 22. With the pitch opened up the final pass didn't go to hand and Kingsbridge kicked ahead the loose ball. Wing Jack Evans won the foot race to the ball to score the final points of the afternoon. Salcombe can be proud of the way they performed against a side who plays their rugby three leagues ahead of the Devon Two side. The crabs will look to carry on their recent good league form as they host Buckfastleigh on January 10th at Twomeads.
An avalanche of tries were scored at Salcombe on Saturday as they recorded their highest ever score in a league fixture by scoring over a hundred points. Only once in the history of the club have the Crabs scored a century and that was in a friendly fixture over ten years ago. Plym Vic gallantly fulfilled the fixture even though they were struggling with numbers after arriving at the ground with 13 players. Luke Pepperell and Ryan Hatch, two of Salcombe’s replacements played for the visitors to bring them up to full numbers. The first ten minutes was a relatively quiet passage of play with the Plymouth side securing territory from the boot of their outside half. In fact they could have taken the lead but the penalty shot at goal fell short. This seemed to wake the Crabs up and they started to find holes in the opposition defence at will. Centre Oli Masters scored the first points after out pacing his opposite numbers to touchdown. James Palmer got his name on the score sheet picking and driving from close range. Then after a long Palmer run Darren Clarke was next to score for Salcombe before wing Craig Julian side stepped his way over the line to secure a bonus point inside twenty minutes. The free flowing rugby continued with tries from Sean Baker and Chris Drew. Brothers Lee and Kieran Clarke got one a piece as Salcombe ran riot against a valiant effort by the away side. Every kick off the Plymouth side did was caught, recycled and shipped wide to where the gaps were. Masters got his second quickly followed by a try from Captain Stuart Winzer. Masters, who before this game was yet to score this season, was in scintillating form cutting angles and showing the pace to break away. He scored a further two tries in the second half to double his first half tally. His centre partner Mark Parnowski may not have got on the score sheet but had a great game, creating several chances and setting up quite a few of the tries. Scrum half Lewis Winzer also scored a hat trick of tries. His second touchdown came after a sniping run right through the defence after a quick tap penalty. Winzer also had an excellent game setting up several of the Salcombe tries and was a very busy man keeping the tempo of the game up. Salcombe sensed they could be making history and there was a degree of urgency to keep the scoring rate up. The crowd were urging Salcombe on and the Crabs responded by playing a fast paced game that the visitors had no answer for. Baker completed his double before Pepperell now playing for the home side dived over in the corner. Another player who didn’t get his name on the try scoring list was prop Nick Trant who came within an inch of scoring after a bullocking run through the heart of the defence. In the final play with the Crabs stuck on 94 points the two men of the moment combined with Masters sending Winzer over to complete his hat trick. Chris Drew added the conversion to take his points tally of the afternoon to twenty one and more importantly Salcombe over the one hundred point threshold. A thoroughly entertaining game of rugby that players and supporters will talk about for many years to come. The huge points difference gained mean Salcombe overtake Dartmouth to move to third in the table. League action returns in the new year as Salcombe are due to be playing DHSOB in the Devon Junior Vase in a home and away leg starting on the 13th in Plymouth with the return leg on the 20th at Salcombe. This years Boxing Day clash sees Salcombe welcome neighbours Kingsbridge to Twomeads for the two thirty kick off.
Salcombe’s run of good form came to an abrupt halt on Saturday as they found the unbeaten lead leaders in fine form. However, the score line could have been a lot closer if Salcombe had not given away four soft tries at the start of the game. The Crabs have been unlucky with injuries and availability in recent weeks and they travelled with a depleted squad to mid Devon. In the opening exchanges both sides attempted to gain territory by kicking the ball for position. Whilst North Tawton dealt with the danger, Salcombe seemed to freeze when a kick through came their way and failed to clear their lines. The first three tries were scored this way as the home side pressurised the defence into mistakes and pounced on the ball over the line. The fourth try conceded came immediately from kick off when the powerful Tawton number eight ran through several would be tacklers to score under the posts. Falling 26 points down, Salcombe realised that pride was on stake in front of a large crowd. Immediately the forwards and backs started to attack the home side and create a few gaps. James Palmer and Stuart Winzer were making ground with the ball in hand whilst the centres Mark Parnowski and Oli Masters made some powerful carries. From a penalty that was nudged down field the forwards set up a good platform in which to attack. Fly half Chris Drew sniped down the blindside and put hooker Richard Gregson in to crash over in the corner for a well finished score. Drew converted from the narrow angle. Into the second half and the game became a much tighter affair. Salcombe rung the changes and prop Ryan Hatch made a welcome return to the side from injury after a lengthy absence. Matt Farleigh made his debut for the first team on the wing. Farleigh impressing in a recent second team game away in Plymouth and in training earned his spot in the side. Coach James Mundy also made an appearance from the bench and it is hoped he will feature more regularly for the team in future. Tawton scored a further two tries to kill off the game. The first from a slick set of hands across the width of the pitch and the second came from more defensive frailties. There were some good performances from the visitors. Scott Lowry and Jay Hannaford tackled anything that came towards them all afternoon however, Salcombe’s man of the match was prop Jim Winzer who worked tirelessly all game in attack and defence. Overall a disappointing day at the office for the Crabs but lessons have been leaned and they move on to the next challenge ahead starting with a home Devon Junior Vase tie versus DHSOB at Salcombe this Saturday, KO 1430.
In atrocious conditions the Crabs came out on top as they beat Ilfracombe to move up to third in the league. Salcombe got off to a fast start when centre Mark Parnowski spotted a gap in the visitors defence to run the ball in from twenty metres. Chris Drew’s conversion attempt narrowly missed but he made amends with a penalty five minutes later. Salcombe’s large pack worked tirelessly in the ever deteriorating weather. Prop Jim Winzer put in several tackles all afternoon whilst powerhouses James Palmer and Scott Lowry carried the ball strongly. The Crabs sensed the visitors on the ropes and after a good kick chase they found themselves in possession of the ball ten metres out. Brothers Lewis and Stuart Winzer combined to send the latter crashing over for a converted score. At 15-0 up Salcombe eased off the gas for ten minutes. Ilfracombe started to have more ball themselves and whilst they didn’t threaten the Salcombe try line they did manage to score after they were gifted a cheap seven pointer. A calamitous error in trying to clear the ball from the Salcombe full back led to a simple try and the visitors found themselves with a foothold in the game. Leading at half time 15-7 the Crabs knew that the next score was crucial. The pack were having success at scrum time and a break by Stuart Winzer at the base of the scrum should have seen the lead extended but the final pass to brother Lewis went astray. However, the next scrum inside the opponents 22 gave the lead the home side deserved. The ball was spilled from the Ilfracombe base and pounced on by the Crabs. Prop Chris Winzer used his considerable size to power over the line from short range. Ilfracombe bounced back again as another hopeful punt wasn’t dealt with at the back and the opposing winger capitalised to score their second converted try of the afternoon. Inside the last ten minutes Salcombe tried to close out the game by securing a fourth try but the combination of a churned up pitch and torrential rain made playing rugby an extremely hard task. Fly half Drew added a penalty to bring the final score to 23-14. This week Salcombe travel to unbeaten league leaders North Tawton in search of an upset.
Salcombe were close to causing an upset in this Devon Junior Cup game but ultimately a poor first half left them with too much to do. Wessex, currently playing in Devon One got off to a flying start as they used the strong wind to their advantage. A high ball put the Salcombe full back into all sorts of trouble. With the ball spilled, the Wessex winger scooped up and dotted down under the posts for a coverted try. Within two minutes Salcombe were fell further behind when a Wessex backline move saw them extend the lead. Things got worse for the Crabs in the first half when lock Sean Baker was shown a yellow card. At times the referee struggled to contain the two sides as the game threatened to blow over at any stage. Wessex used their numerical advantage to extend their score from a catch and drive close to the line. A further penalty gave the visitors a huge 24-0 lead. Just before the half time whistle Salcombe were reduced to fourteen men again when prop Nick Trant was adjudged to make a late tackle. The state of injustice seemed to spur the Crabs on and they scored a crucial try right on the stroke of half time. After slick hands in the backs, wing Darren Clarke beat two defenders to get stopped just short of the line. After recycling the ball quickly it was fed back along the line to captain Stuart Winzer to touch down. Chris Drew added the extras. With the wind firmly behind Salcombe’s backs they started the second half by pinning their opponents back at every opportunity. Scrum half Lewis Winzer marshalled his forwards well and found good positional play with his boot. Some great pressure from centre Ian Smerdon on his opposite man forced a loose pass which fly half Drew seized upon. Drew raced in from the half way line to score in the corner and added the all important conversion. Leading only by ten points you could tell there was a shift in momentum. Salcombe looked a completely different side to the first half as they started to build sustained pressure. Replacement wing Anthony Squires was starting to find more space and able to use his powerful running to set up good field position. Drew reduced the lead to seven with a huge penalty from wide out on the ten metre line, then reduced the gap to just four with a simple kick in front of the sticks. The Crabs were reduced to fourteen players for the third time in the game when Sean Baker was shown a red card for a swinging arm tackle. Into the last five minutes Salcombe ran everything at their opponents but couldn’t find the breakthrough they needed and so deserved. Although the exit from the cup was disappointing Salcombe can take heart from the way they scored twenty unanswered points in the second half. Better composure and discipline were needed during the first period when the visitors scored all of their points. Back to league action this Saturday as Salcombe host Ilfracombe at Twomeads, kick off at 1430.
Salcombe made it three wins on the bounce as they demolished Devonport High School Old Boys with a blistering first half performance. Straight from the kick off the Crabs exerted their dominance on the game in every aspect. The forwards totally dominated the scrum with props Nick Trant and Jim Winzer giving their opponents a torrid time. After five minutes Salcombe opened the scoring when second row Scott Lowry burst through some tacklers to score. Chris Drew kicked the extras. Almost immediately Salcombe doubled their lead when a scrum was won against the head and the ball was presented to the backs. Luke Pepperell linked well with full back Craig Julian to send Kieron Clarke over for a try in the corner. The conversion was good to give the visitors an early 14-0 lead. DHSOB struggled to contain Salcombe’s pace and structure as they conceded another two Try’s in quick succession. First winger Darren Clarke went over after some more good hands by the Salcombe backs. Then Captain Stuart Winzer controlled the ball at the base of the scrum as the Crabs walked their opponents back over the line. Drew added the extras. From the restart, flanker James Cooper lept like a Salmon to take a fine catch in the air. The ball was then sent through a number of hands before DHSOB infringed and gave away a penalty. From the quick tap James Palmer burst through the defensive line and unselfishly offloaded the ball to centre Lee Clarke who scored under the posts. It was Palmer who set up Salcombe’s sixth try of the afternoon as once again the home side failed to take him down. This time Palmer offloaded to Craig Julian who swallow dived in the corner. Into the second half Salcombe were reduced to 14 men as James Palmer was shown the yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Salcombe stuttered to maintain the same pace as they showed in the first half. With a strong wind behind DHSOB’s backs they repeatedly turned Salcombe around. The home side got onto the scoreboard with a penalty in front of the posts after a Salcombe defender had been caught offside at the breakdown. Devonport could have scored a try themselves as the number eight broke down the touchline only for fly half Drew to put a great covering tackle in to take the player into touch. This seemed to give the Crabs the lift they needed to finish the game off strongly. First Stuart Winzer collected his second of the game after the ball popped out of the back of a scrum. Richard Gregson reacted first and passed to Winzer to cross the line. With just time for the restart Salcombe builded patiently and put a number of phases together. This culminated in the backs having the last word when they sent Darren Clarke in for his second try of the afternoon. Drew finished with 5 out of 8 successful kicks in the blustery conditions. This Saturday, Salcombe welcome Wessex from Devon One for a home game in the Devon Junior Cup. Kick-off at 1430.
Salcombe kick started their season with a comprehensive win over local rivals Dartmouth. The Crabs have struggled to adapt to the early pace of previous games but they flew out of the blocks right from the start. Good field position from the kick off put early pressure on to the visitors. Salcombe capitalised on the fast start when James Cooper crashed over for the opening score. Chris Drew added the extras. Playing with the wind Salcombe kept the visitors penned inside their own half. A catch and drive from the forwards, which was assisted by a few backs, saw Cooper control the ball at the base of the maul and was able to touchdown for his second try. The conversion went wide. Salcombe kept up the high tempo and after Chris Drew broke through and raced half the length of the pitch the ball was shipped wide. Every back ran on to the ball at speed and depth and Oli Masters gave the decisive pass to allow winger Kieron Clarke score in the corner. The extras were missed to leave the score 17-0 at the interval. The confidence that has been missing in recent weeks seemed to be flooding back. Salcombe were really putting together a complete team performance with the forwards providing clean set piece ball and the backs looking threatening every time the ball went wide. It was off a line out when Salcombe scored their fourth try to secure the bonus point. Flanker James Palmer peeled off from a rolling maul and burst through three defenders to score. Drew was able to add the kick to extend the lead but then saw a yellow card for a professional foul. Salcombe rallied well with fourteen men as Dartmouth started to come back at them. Entering the final five minutes, Salcombe lost another player to the sin bin as full back Lee Clarke was adjudged to have made a dangerous tip tackle on his opponent. Dartmouth managed to get a consolation score when a Salcombe player dropped a high ball to gift the Dartmouth player the easiest try he will ever score. However, it was to be Salcombe’s day as they added their fifth try on the stroke of the full time whistle. Again the backs moved the ball down the line to the wing where Darren Clarke beat his man to dive over. Overall this was a terrific performance from Salcombe and they will look to build on this for the forthcoming games.
Salcombe travelled to Plymouth to take on Old Techs in the semi final of the national vase eliminator. After electing to play with the breeze, the first ten minutes of the game was all about establishing the field position with several kicks from both sides trying to pin the opponents back. The home side, who will are now playing in the league above Salcombe took the lead when the scrum half sniped over from a line out catch and drive move close to the line. Not to be outdone the Salcombe pack started to impose themselves on the game.
Both the scrum and the line out was working well and after a period of sustained pressure Captain Stuart Winzer linked well with his brother Lewis at nine to go over the line. The conversion was missed but Salcombe soon found themselves back in the home side's 22 when Darren Clarke Senior kicked a loose ball ahead to force the home side into carrying it over the line. With an attacking Scrum the Salcombe pack pushed their plymouth opponents over the line and it was Stuart Winzer who controlled the ball at the base to score. Chris Drew slotted the extras from out wide.
Leading 12-7 at the break the Crabs could sense a real upset on the cards. However Old Techs soon responded when they moved the ball down the line to break free and were able to switch the point of attack to score in the opposite corner. The game stayed at 12-12 for the majority of the second half. Salcombe made several changes off the bench but they still struggled to get out of their own half due to the gusty wind. Old Techs finished the game strongly and scored a further two tries. The first being off another catch and drive and the second after a break down the blind side. They finished the scoring in the last minute with a penalty kick.
The game finished 27-12 to the home side but Salcombe can be proud of the way they competed for 70 minutes against the Devon One side. A mention must go to the Clarke family who had father Darren, playing alongside his sons Lee, Darren and Kieran who made his first team debut.
Salcombe train at 7pm on Thursdays at Twomeads, Salcombe and new players, young and old are more than welcome to come along. Minis Training on Friday night from 6pm has already started and the club welcome families to bring their children up to the club for these sessions.
The 8 March Fixture for U7-U10 is now a 3-way with Brixham.
The U14 game for 8 March has moved to 26 April.
Salcombe's season finished on a high as they battled to victory to regain the 'Barry Cup' against local rivals Buckfastleigh. The elements were always going to play a big part in the game as the wind and rain blew fiercely down the slope. Salcombe were given the elements first and the game plan was simple enough. To play rugby in the opposition half. The game started at a ferocious pace with both sides attempting to gain the upper hand. The referee at times struggled to contain thirty fired up players as tempers flared up. Salcombe knew that they would have to silence the large home crowd and keep the referee on their side. Mid way through the first half Salcombe were awarded a penalty that Chris Drew was able to slot to give the Crabs a 3-0 lead. From the restart Salcombe forced their way down the pitch again and after a good kick chase from Rupert Bevan a line out five metres out was secured. Hooker James Turner found James Cooper at the front of the line out and a driving maul was set up. As the backs poured in to help, the Buckfastleigh scrum half entered illegally from the side to collapse it. James Cooper had scored the try but the referee deemed a penalty try was more appropriate. The simple extras were added to extend the lead. Salcombe thought that more points were needed but they found the home defence in a stubborn mood. The front row of the Winzer brothers and Turner began to gain the upper hand disrupting the opposition several times at scrum time. With the final play of the half Salcombe gave away a penalty in which the home fly half kicked to narrow the gap to 10-3. Playing up the hill into the wind Salcombe were given a test like they haven't faced this year. Wave after wave of attacks came their way but a well organised defence and some ferocious hits kept the home side out. Scott Lowry, returning to the club after his stint at Ivybridge, Luke Williamson and Nick Trant tackled their hearts out whilst the back row trio of Cooper, James Palmer and Captain Stuart Winzer worked tirelessly in the loose. On occasion Salcombe forced the turnovers and made some nice line breaks. First Bevan then centre partner Oli Masters found some space to exploit. After coming extremely close to scoring a second touchdown Salcombe were penalised when Chris Winzer forgot the rule book and tried to crawl his way to the line from ten metres out. A huge clearance kick forced the crabs inside their own 22 again where they stayed until the final whistle blew holding Buckfastleigh out and bringing this important trophy back to Salcombe once again. Salcombe's attitude in the game was terrific and they have a group of players the club can be proud of. Everyone stood up and was counted for in this fiercely contested game. With new coach James Mundy watching on the sidelines the future is bright again for the Crabs. The win was a fitting finale for Chairman John Sprague who has given so much of his time towards the club and the players. John is stepping down this year after 4 years of service for the club. A new chairman will be elected at the AGM on 16th June.
With the Crabs season all but decided the team travelled to Plymouth determined to play a more expansive and attacking game. A decision to run penalties or kick to the corner was favoured instead of taking the options to take a shot at goal. Just like the last few weeks the Crabs came out of the blocks all guns blazing. They instantly set up camp inside the opposition 22 and the forwards tried to force their way over. James Cooper made a welcome return from another Holiday to add his experience to the pack in the early stages. Several occasions Salcombe were held up just short and after a penalty for holding on the home side could clear their lines. Old Techs showed Salcombe how to execute moves when off a scrum they scored in the corner. This was the only scrum in the game that the home side had the advantage as Salcombe’s dynamic prop Chris Winzer kept turning the screw against his opposite number all day. Salcombe made several changes to the side to keep everything fresh. Rich Winzer moved to Full Back and had an outstanding half notably making one huge clearance kick of 60m to force the opposition inside their own 22. Trailing 5-0 at half time Salcombe knew they were well in the game and a slight change of plan was taken to kick a three point penalty whilst the team took a breather. Salcombe’s reliable kicker Chris Drew struck a magnificent penalty from the touchline to narrow the deficit. The game could have gone either way at this point and a turning point came when Salcombe forced a knock on deep inside their own territory. The Ref played on and Old Techs capitalised on this to score for a converted try. At 10-3 down the game plan stayed the same, attack at speed and take quick tap penalties; something which Salcombe’s Craig Julian became adapt to. Julian hasn’t had much game time in the first XV this season but the little guy did well up against the bigger Plymouth side. Another mention goes to centre Marco Alfano Rogers who has converted to his new position with ease and shows each game just why Salcombe rate him as one for the future. In the closing minutes Old Techs crossed Salcombe’s line again to put a final gloss on the scoreline. Salcombe’s performance in the game impressed the home support and John Young, Chairman of Old Techs was quoted as saying "We played really well against Salcombe, who didn't play like a side already relegated – I was very impressed with them” . The players would like to pay a special thanks to Chairman John Sprague who did well trying to keep up when running the touchline.
Salcombe dominated large parts of this game but couldn’t take advantage and score the points when in control. The game started well for Salcombe who quickly established territory and possession inside the Oaks 22. From an attacking line-out James Cooper took control of the ball at the base of the driving maul. The Crabs edged closer to the line before being brought down illegally. The same tactic was attempted again.
This time Prop Forward Jim Winzer steered the maul like he was driving his tractor closer to the line. After the attack broke down a second time all Salcombe could come away with was a three point penalty from the boot of Chris Drew. For all of Salcombe’s attacking threat it was the visitors who took their try scoring opportunities. The first points they scored was when a loose ball was scooped up and raced in under the posts. The second was when the visiting pack attempted and executed their rolling maul following some time spent in Salcombe’s 22. Following another lengthy spell inside Plymstock’s territory again the visitors broke away against the run of play to score their final points of the half leaving it standing 19-3 to the visitors. Salcombe’s half time talk remained positive.
On several occasions they had threatened the try line but it was agreed that a little more patience in the build-up would be the way forward. The Crabs got off to the worst possible start when they left a gaping hole in the blind side defence of a ruck to allow the visitors a cheap five points. On several occasions this year Salcombe may have thrown the towel in but to their credit they fought back and dominated territory and possession for the rest of the game. Another new centre partnership pairing brought together the speed and power of Marco Alfano Rogers with the route one crash ball effect of Lee Clarke who kept the visiting defenders on their toes the whole game.
Changes were made with Luke Pepperell and Craig Julian brought into the game to try and find the breakthrough. Both players have waited patiently all season for some regular game time and have been a credit to the club for their loyalty shown. Pressure on Plymstock’s line led to a yellow card for the visiting team but still Salcombe couldn’t breakthrough the stubborn attack. Replacement hooker James Turner made a welcome return from injury set up the home team’s only Try when he put flanker Ian Smerdon into a hole to race through to score from the ten metre line. The extras were added by Drew.
The final whistle blew on a disappointing result that leaves Salcombe’s future in Devon One looking very perilous indeed.
Salcombe were blown away in the first half in this fiercely contested encounter that boiled over on several occasions. The home side won a penalty on the very first ruck of the game and from the resultant kick to the corner the forward pack trundled over to score the first points of the afternoon. Salcombe immediately hit back though and two penalties from Chris Drew gave the Crabs a 6-5 lead. The lead was short lived as again the New Cross pack bundled their way over from close range despite the determined defence of the Salcombe pack. During the next torrid twenty minutes New Cross were able to score a further 3 tries to leave Salcombe with a mountain to climb. There were positives for Salcombe when in the closing stages of the first half a rolling maul skilfully controlled by James Cooper was illegally brought down short of the line. From the following penalty prop Jim Winzer was unlucky not to score after using his dazzling footwork to beat three opponents he fell short of the line. The last play of the half summed Salcombe’s season up to date. An aimless kick from New Cross deep into the Salcombe half wasn’t dealt with. The pressure of playing catch up rugby forces the kind of mistakes you don’t see when leading games. The ball was turned over and New Cross scored the killer try to all but end the game as a contest.
The second half was a far better showing from Salcombe who played with far more pace and determination. Flanker Jay Hannaford made a nuisance of himself disrupting the ball New Cross had so much time with in the first period. The backs looked dangerous as they spun the ball wide on several occasions. Lee Clarke and Darren Hopkins combined well as they pressurised the New Cross defence. Centre Rupert Bevan scored the only points of the second half when he dissected the home side backline to score wide out after a good offload by Captain Stuart Winzer. The only team who looked like scoring in the second half was Salcombe but they couldn’t apply the finishing touches to moves when they were close to the line. The game ended with tempers blowing over and a red card for the New Cross centre who was obviously upset at something. The result and other results in the league see Salcombe now sitting 8 points adrift at the foot of Devon One.
This Saturday is the last home league game of the season where Salcombe host Plymouth Albion Oaks. Relegation isn’t final yet but Salcombe would need a good result here and rely on other teams to slip up. Two important players for Salcombe this season Darren Clarke and Mark Parnowski have gone under the knife this week to sort out various injuries. The whole club wish them a speedy recovery so they will be back fit for pre-season.
A large number of Vice Presidents dined and then watched Salcombe battle in another crucial game of survival. Salcombe blew hot and cold all game just like they have all season. At times they threatened Wessex and had them under lots of pressure before Wessex would capitalise on mistakes to go right down the length of the pitch and get a score. Playing into a stiff wind away from the clubhouse, Salcombe knew the first half they would be under pressure. Giving away cheap penalties lead to the Wessex kicker giving the visitors a 3-0 lead.
At times the Salcombe backs looked good with the ball in hand. Oli Masters and Darren Hopkins combined well down the right hand side and Salcombe were awarded a penalty. From the resulting touch kick the Salcombe pack began driving their way to the line for the touchdown. However the maul was illegally collapsed and another penalty was given. On Salcombe's second attempt the ball was stolen at the line out and cleared from danger. A dreadful 5 minutes then ensued where Salcombe let in two soft tries. The first try was a result of Wessex simply outnumbering the defence to touch down out wide and the second score came almost from the restart when the Wessex receiver broke through several tackles to make good ground. The ball recycled a few times before the centre dummied his way over to score.
Once again this season Salcombe were having to play catch up rugby. Flanker James Cooper was on hand to dive on the loose ball to score for the home side after good work out wide by Darren Clarke. The kick was missed but the Crabs believed they could turn it around especially with the strong wind in the second half.
The quality from both sides dropped away in the second half as Salcombe tried to bridge the deficit. The once so secure Scrums and Line outs came under constant pressure and scrum half Lewis Winzer had to feed off scraps for most of the half. When the Crabs had 10 minutes of sustained pressure inside the opponents 22 the ball was spilt and the Wessex full back kicked the loose ball and won the foot race to recover it and score. The final whistle came soon after and Salcombe were left to ponder another game that got away from them. No game for the first XV this Saturday but the 2nds travel to Plymouth Argaum.
It was a surprise in the first place that this game was allowed to take place. Large areas of surface water combined with very loose footing made the game a farce at times with the amount of errors there were. Added to that were hurricane force wind and hail storms made this an unattractive day to play rugby. However the home side, boosted by some guest players and the Plymouth referee seemed keen for the game to get underway.
The home side’s tactics were clear from the start with every ball being kicked deep into Salcombe territory and waiting for a mistake from the vistors. Within ten minutes St Columba had scored two quick tries after building up pressure on the Salcombe defence. The first was a close range forward pick and drive and the second was a won foot race to a hacked on ball. Salcombe’s strength in recent weeks has been the scrummaging but on a day and surface like this this advantage was gone. Both teams were unable to maintain their grip which meant there was no clear ball for the backs to use. Salcombe lost key man hooker James Turner to injury mid- way through the second half. A much welcome return to the team for Symon Cater who put in his work horse shift in the loose just like the old days. The Salcombe pack had plenty of possession and made good progress as they entered the attacking half of the pitch.
Fly half Chris Drew was able to kick two penalties as the Crabs came right back into the game trailing by just 12-6 at the break. Several Salcombe players did well in the conditions and both Luke Pepperell and Marco Alfano Rogers dealt with some tricky balls coming their way with great skill. For the first twenty minutes of the second half it was all pressure from Salcombe inside St Columba’s half of the pitch. A well taken line out from Sean Baker turned into a great driving maul from 30 metres. Five metres from the line a player from the home side clearly entered the maul from the side and collapsed it stopping a certain score.
Supporters on the touchline were astounded that there was no card shown or a penalty try when a probable score was stopped. From the resulting penalty good work from Captain Stuart Winzer saw second row James Palmer just held up short of the line. However shortly afterwards the Crabs reduced the deficit to just three as Drew struck his third penalty of the game. With the forwards taking the brunt of the workload Salcombe replaced the hard working props Nick Trant and Jim Winzer with Darren Clarke and a celebrating proud new father Chris Winzer. St Columba added their own three points from a penalty awarded in the middle of the park for a scrum infringement.
Entering the final ten minutes Salcombe tried to take the game to the home side. At times they forgot about the weather and tried to play too many offloads and quick tap penalties. St Columba capitalised on Salcombe errors and kicked a penalty with five minutes to go to effectively prevent Salcombe from at least taking a bonus point home. Drew’s last gasp penalty kick dropped agonisingly under the crossbar to confirm the final result. Whilst Salcombe are sat at the foot of the table following this result, the league is a very close affair with only seven points separating fourth spot and the Crabs in last. It will take a huge effort from all involved to escape relegation this year.
Salcombe will be hoping for better weather this weekend as they host Vice Presidents day at Twomeads when they play Wessex.
On balance the visitors deserved this win at Twomeads although if the game had gone on much longer Salcombe’s obvious superior fitness and domination in the pack might have won it for them. As it was the Crabs scored two tries, one converted, in the last 5 minutes and were close to the line when the full time whistle put an end to proceedings.
Salcombe played against the strong wind in the first half and saw Totnes take firm control when inside the first 15 minutes they scored a good try from a rolling maul following a lineout and a penalty to put them 8-0 up.
At this point one of the Totnes players broke his knee and could not be moved while the ambulance was called. This resulted in a break in play of an hour and it was questionable whether the game could be completed in sufficient daylight. The ref is to be congratulated on deciding to continue the game.
On its resumption the Crabs pressed hard but rarely looked like scoring despite a couple of impressive line breaks from Chris Drew who rightly got the Crabs man of the match award.
Totnes then put together a beautiful move which let their centre in for the try which they converted to go 15-0 up. Salcombe responded strongly and following one of Drew’s breaks and good forward control they established themselves close to the visitors’ line.
Awarded a penalty Salcombe opted for the scrum and the hoped for pushover but Totnes managed to wheel the scrum, albeit illegally, and Salcombe went for the same option again with the same result. While a third attempt might have produced a penalty try if Totnes had infringed again, time for the half had run out and the ref warned Salcombe that there was only time for the kick which Drew slotted to make the half time score 15-3 to Totnes.
The second half started in the gathering dusk and for the first 20 minutes was largely uneventful as Totnes defended well against increasing Salcombe pressure. Then against the run of play the Totnes wing intercepted a pass and went almost the length of the pitch to score under the posts to take their lead to 22-3.
Salcombe did not allow their heads to go down and with their pack pushing Totnes all over the place they opted yet again for a penalty scrum and this time kept it straight for Captain Stuart Winzer at no8 to touch down. Drew converted for 10-22 and the losing bonus point looked possible.
The kick off went in to the ever safe arms of Sean Baker who fed fellow second row Scott Lowry. Lowry then made a 35 yard break brushing aside would be tacklers before passing to centre James Palmer who in turn slipped the ball to prop Darren Clarke. Clarke drew the final defender before handing the ball to son Lee at scrum half who touched down flamboyantly wide out. Drew’s kick hit the upright but at least the bonus point had been secured.
While the pack was outstanding the 3 new youngsters in the Salcombe side all played well, Jay Hannaford at flanker and Marco Alfano- Rogers on the wing who both were in the starting line up and Will Pike who came on as a replacement on the wing. This may be a difficult season for Salcombe but with youngsters of this quality joining them the future looks bright.
Without a game for 3 weeks since the Boxing Day encounter with Kingsbridge, and didn’t Salcombe do well in that match scoring 3 tries even if the Kingsbridge match report barely mentions them, the Crabs were looking to get the rust out of the system at Topsham.
The weather was always going to be a key factor and with continuous heavy rain the match was moved to Topsham’s much narrower second pitch as the usual one was flooding.
This suited the Crabs who had always planned to keep the ball tight and to restrict the talented home side’s backs. Salcombe immediately showed their domination up front in the early exchanges and reinforced it after only 10 minutes when they put together an unstoppable rolling maul on the Topsham 10 yard line and kept it going for the full 45 yards to allow scrum half Lee Clarke to get the touch down under the posts. Chris Drew converted for 7-0 to Salcombe.
But to their credit Topsham came back strongly from this setback and tried to play their usual quick offloading game. However the conditions didn’t suit that sort of rugby and Drew and Darren Hopkins, making a welcome return at full back, demonstrated that a better policy was to kick deep and look for handling errors taking the greasy ball. Something of a stalemate developed and at half time the score remained at 7-0 to Salcombe.
In the second period the Crabs pack were increasingly on top and play rarely ventured into the Salcombe half but good Topsham defence and the inevitable handling errors kept the Crabs at bay for 15 minutes. However a series of set scrums 10 yards out from the Topsham line were collapsed by the home side as Salcombe were going for the pushover and eventually the ref lost patience and awarded the penalty try which Drew converted to move Salcombe 14-0 ahead.
As the conditions worsened the ref considered stopping the match but was firmly told by his assessor that this was not warranted and thus the last quarter once again produced a virtual stalemate with the Crabs having much of the ball but with Topsham defending well. However Salcombe had the last word when they patiently put together something over 20 phases edging closer to the line before flanker James Palmer crashed over for the try. Once again Drew converted to bring up the final score of 21-0.
This week the 1s are at home to Totnes in the league while the 2s are away to Totnes, both matches kicking off at 2.30.
Salcombe went to Brixham for the first game of the new year.
Brixham started very strongly with Salcombe not really getting started until they found themselves 3 down. When they got going Salcombe made strong runs with Freya, Daniel and Mikolaj. The defence got stronger with good tackling by Freya, Luke, Grace and Georgia "Player of the Match", Freya, went over for Salcombe's only try.