Monday 20 February, 2017, by Oli Masters
As a member of the playing squad it was impossible not to leave the pitch on Saturday feeling incredibly dejected, performances had been building steadily this season despite some disappointing results but Saturdays fixture felt like it could have been there for the taking. That’s not to say Salcombe didn’t play well, to the contrary, coaches and spectators all said how that was the best 80 minute performance the crabs had managed in several years. Players fought, bled and ran themselves into he ground for the team and each other but I think the disappointing thing was that with 15 minutes to go the Salcombe players despite being behind on the scoreboard actually believed they could win it whereas previously they might have resigned themselves another heroic but ultimately hard fought defeat.
Salcombe scored their points through the boot of Fly half Lee Clarke with three penalties and a try through winger Jake Winterbottom in what was a moment of class that only happens when a team is 100% focused. With a penalty advantage already bank on the Old Techs 22 meter line thanks to the Crab forwards, Salcombe chanced their arm. Using fast hands through the backs, centre Liam Wills found himself in meter of space which he used to deftly chip the ball over the onrushing defence only for Winterbottom to pluck the ball from the air and beat two covering tacklers to score in the corner. This was in reply to an Old Techs converted try which was from a questionable rolling maul and 3 penalties.
Salcombe were ferocious in defence (one of the staples of the team) coupled, for arguably the first time with glimpses of what they could be capable of in attack and was so close to being the season defining performance that the team and coaches deserve. Unfortunately this was not to be and In truth this is the scar that may take some time to recover from, there were some bruised and broken bodies the following morning for sure but the Crabs need to focus on the mindset and memory of being in the ascendency and building themselves into a position to win the game not just defending for their lives no matter how much practice they may have had this season. The message to the club must be to stick together, trust the players and coaches around you and believe that we are capable of beating the teams above us because we are, now the results are needed to prove it.
With that in mind there are two more league matches for Salcombe this year, both against lower league opposition and the Crabs must try and recapture the mentality of Saturday afternoon, if they can do that then they will have wins as well as performances that they can be proud of.