Tuesday 20 December, 2016, by Oli Masters
The question was asked last week if Salcombe were making progress this season as a team and as a club, the answer was a resounding yes on both fronts with a now large player pool to choose from, competition for shirts and a willingness to compete and front up rather than let heads drop and capitulate as had been known to happen previously. These qualities were shown again on Saturday when, somewhat true to form Salcombe suffered a setback and contrived to trail the match from early on as the hosts scored two quick fire tries before finding their feet. One of these tries should have been dealt with better by the Salcombe backs and the other stemmed from technically astute forward play, add to this a penalty and Old Techs were 15 - 3 up with a penalty from fly half Treeby (making his welcome return from injury) being Salcombe’s response.
As with the previous weeks loss against OPM’s Salcombe had to concede points before beginning to believe that they could assert any authority on their opposition and to show any attacking intent which they were able to do with a strong line out showing from Drew and Cooper, tactical kicking from fly half Treeby and great counter attacking from full back Parnowski. Field position was gradually improved upon and possession of the ball retained with an emphasis on trying to use the wide pitch to keep the ball away from the home side as much as possible and attack the open spaces that were appearing. This approach seemed to pay off with Treeby adding another penalty to make the score 15-6 to end the half strongly.
The second half saw the Crabs several times just coming short of adding to their tally as they began to dominate possession and curry favour with the referee, who eventually decided to send off the Old Techs fly half having had enough of his erratic tackling style and the constant general bickering from many of the home players. Salcombe used this to advantage to good effect and won another penalty in a kickable position central with the posts, bravely with 8 minutes still remaining Salcombe opted to kick for the corner and go for the win. Unfortunately the ball was turned over and even with a final penalty ratio of 4:1 in their favour Salcombe were unable to improve the scoreboard, 15-6 being the final result. Once again Salcombe showed lots of heart and effort in their display and once again this was the type of match that could have been taken away from them early on if they let it so It is to their credit that the crabs were able to match their typically combative counterparts. It is however difficult not to feel the frustration of being so close to a win but not quite close enough. Notable performances from the ever improving Bromprawnwich at scrum half, old face Smerdon at flanker making his league debut for this season and joint “men of the match” Cooper and Drew.
The league takes a break for a few weeks now with the annual Boxing Day match Vs Kingsbridge taking place at Twomeads this year, Salcombe will then need to regroup in January and concentrate on turning these near misses into wins.