There was not much good news for Salcombe at New Cross, once again starting slowly and unable to make up the ground despite dominating the second half.
The dreadful conditions did not help either side and the ball was decidedly unkind in the contact area. Salcombe failed to take any real control for some 30 minutes and being dragged out of position were made to pay, New Cross scoring twice wide out. The third try was something of a gift, the troublesome New cross number 8 was tackled near the goal line, the referee commanded the tackler to release the player and roll away upon which the number 8 stood up and placed the ball over the line, confusion all round but 7 points awarded.
17 points down and staring down a barrel, Salcombe began to assert some authority. Stern words at half time and a change of spirit saw them control large periods of the second half, fortune for once smiled on them as Oli Masters broke the line but was tackled short, in the contest for the ball New Cross spooned the ball backwards and the ever tenacious Ian Smerdon was first onto the loose ball scoring close in. Chris Drew added the two points. There followed a period of unpleasantness during which a New Cross substitute was red carded for joining in. Despite increasing the pressure, Salcombe did not get close again but with 2 minutes to go a penalty chance was turned down, on the advice of the coaches who somehow got the maths wrong, and with it the chance of a losing bonus point.
Not so much a game of missed chances , more a couple of moments of lack composure and concentration allowed the very average New Cross side to grab a healthy lead. Salcombe are making a habit of coughing up early points and fighting back, this must change if they are to avoid a relegation dogfight again this season.
Salcombe played well enough to have won this game as the Uni side with 14 of the same players that had put 57 points on Plymstock two weeks before struggled to find form in the face of some ferocious Crabs tackling and the smothering influence of a Salcombe pack fired up and ready to go.
But the Uni scored two good tries through their lethal backs and were gifted an interception try as Salcombe attempted a miss move in the backs following a decision to run a penalty that should have been kicked for 3 points as coach Mark Lidstone yelled at them to do. Chris Drew had already shown his kicking form with a difficult penalty after two minutes but the Uni had replied with two tries to make the score 12-3 to the visitors at this point.
The penalty was awarded well within Drew's range and the score should have moved to 12-6. Instead white line fever took over, the penalty was run, the miss move attempted and a grateful Uni winger latched onto the ball with 90 yards to go. Such was his speed that a persuing Darren Hopkins only managed to push him out wider rather than under the posts and the score moved to 17-3 to the Uni.
Salcombe rallied well from this however and the pack in which James Palmer at blind side was outstanding ensured a plentiful supply of ball often putting together multiple phases driving forward but allowing the backs to show that it wasn't just the Uni lads that had ideas. Drew's distribution was good and Rupert Bevan and Henry Fray combined well at centre giving Hopkins on the wing some opportunities to run. In the end though it was the forwards securing good possession and driving for the line that allowed Ian Smerdon at open side to touch down with Drew adding the fairly difficult extras to bring up the half time score of 17-10 to the visitors.
Within 4 minutes of the re-start Drew slotted another tricky penalty to move the score to 17-13 to the Uni and Salcombe encouraged by a large crowd and playing to their favoured Clubhouse end set out to get the points they needed for the win. But it was not to be as the visitors showed that they were not solely about pace and attacking flair and settled in to a dogged and effective defence in the face of relentless Salcombe pressure. The Crabs rang the changes from the bench to bring on fresh legs with Nick Trant, James Cooper and Simon Walters-Symons all showing up well. But time ran out and the Crabs had to settle for the losing bonus point while ruing the folly of not kicking the first half penalty when it was on offer and compounding the error with allowing the interception thus denying themselves the win.
This week the 1s are away in the League to New Cross and the 2s face OPM 2s at home, both matches kicking off at 2.30 pm.
Salcombe caused an upset in the cup by beating a side placed well above them in the league. Competition for places in the Salcombe side has been heating up in recent weeks and they were fortunate to have a strong replacement bench to call upon when needed. The Crabs got off to the worst possible start when the kick-off was dropped and a player picked the ball up from an offside position. The Oaks fly-half sent over the penalty to see the home side lead 3-0 in the first minute.
This seemed to spark life into Salcombe and they attacked the home side straight from the restart. Salcombe’s strong ball carriers started to make inroads into the home side’s defence. Chris Drew missed his first penalty attempt but then made amends with his second to level the scores. Playing into the elements Salcombe showed greater tactical nous than the hosts and soon found good field position. A line-out and backs move combined developed into a rolling maul. On the transition from maul to ruck lock Sean Baker charged at the line. After being held he offloaded to Number eight Stuart Winzer who powered his way through the split defence to score by the posts. The extras were added by Drew.
Salcombe’s mobile pack really started to take control of the game midway through the first half. Back row James Palmer and Ian Smerdon were always a threat going forward with the ball in hand. It was off a rampaging run by Palmer that Salcombe developed quick ball that the backs used to their advantage to send centre Rupert Bevan over in the corner. With the conversion failing the Crabs turned around 15-3 at the half time break.
The second half was a disjointed affair with neither team being able to break the oppositions defence down. Jamie Laban and James Cooper were unleashed off the bench to keep Salcombe’s pack going forward. The backs, who looked like they had the better of their opponents all day were unlucky after a smart move sent full back Lee Clarke clean through only for some good defence from the home side to prevent the score. That was the closest Salcombe came to scoring more tries and had to settle for three more points from the boot of Drew to extend the lead.
Plymstock Albion rallied in the last quarter but were unable to break through the Salcombe defence. The final whistle rang to signal a comprehensive victory for the Crabs. Salcombe have been drawn at home in the next round and will face the winners of the North Tawton, Plymouth Arguam game.
Tomorrow sees Salcombe face the unknown quantity of Exeter University at Twomead 2:30. Salcombe will aim to continue their good form against the Divisions runaway leaders.
With local bragging rights at stake this was always going to be a key match for both sides and although it took Salcombe 20 minutes to register a score, the result was never in doubt as the Crabs strangled the life out of the home side denying them any useful possession from the start.
The Crabs' forwards dominated both the set and the loose and the backs threatened throughout the game using Rupert Bevan at inside centre to batter up the middle. Dartmouth put two men onto the big centre but some sweet offloads from Bevan, usually to Chris Drew on the loop, gave Salcombe space out wide. And indeed that is how the first Salcombe try came. The forwards secured quick ball, Bevan did his bit, Drew took the offload, passed to Oli Masters at outside centre, Lee Clarke came into the line from fullback and when stopped he passed to Drew looping again who went over with a Chris Ashton dive. The kick from wideout failed in the swirling wind, 5-0 to Salcombe.
The rest of the first half continued with Salcombe trying to break down the well organised and tenacious Dartmouth defence and Darren Hopkins on the wing almost got over on one occasion.On the other wing Darren Clarke's speed in following up Drew's shrewd kicks caused panic at times in the home side's backs but at half time the score remained 5-0 with Salcombe now having to play up the slope but with the benefit of the increasingly stiff breeze.
The Crab's forwards responded splendidly to the threat of Dartmouth's lumpy pack rolling downhill and aided by some good positional kicking from the backs set up camp in the Dartmouth half. Sundry Winzers, Stuart at 8, Jim and Chris at prop spurred on by livewire skipper and scrum half Lewis made many hard yards and with Sean Baker and Ian Smerdon winning the lineouts Salcombe kept well on top. Salcombe's time on the scrum machine in training paid off as the pack needed some re-arranging after Scott Lowry at 2nd row came off with a deadleg allowing James Palmer to move up from back row and be replaced by James Cooper and new signing James Turner came on at hooker for the ever reliable Richard Gregson.
But the second Salcombe try owed much to the quick thinking of Darren Hopkins who threw a quick line out ball to Lee Clarke who went for the line before passing as he was tackled to new boy Turner who crossed for the unconverted try. Salcombe now began to have hopes of the bonus point for four tries and these were strengthened when the Crabs got their third try after another looping move in the backs saw Drew pass to Hopkins for the try. Drew narrowly missed the conversion and the Crabs were denied the chance of the bonus point when having turned the Dartmouth pack through180 degrees five yards out and expecting the put in, the ref blew for time a minute early when the pushover try beckoned.
This week a sterner test awaits as Salcombe travel to Plymstock in the first round of the Devon Junior Cup ko 2.30 and this is followed next week by a home game against table toppers Exeter University also at 2.30.
A dominant performance from start to finish saw Salcombe come away from Exmouth with plenty to smile about. First half tries for Salcombe from Daisy (2), Graham (2), Jack, Hallie and Reuben to Exmouth's 1 showed how dominant they were. The second half saw Exmouth push hard but unable to pierce the red and white wall as every player tackled hard creating plenty of turn-over ball for Salcombe. Daisy's bruising runs saw her scored another pair as she brushed any tacklers aside, and great link-up play saw the speedsters Graham and Hallie with plenty of room to attack wide. Hallie crossed twice and Graham rounded off a super performance with four to make it a 15 try haul for Salcombe.
Rather contrary to expectations this was a match in which Salcombe outplayed the opposition and could have and should have won. Totnes have long been a difficult side for the Crabs to beat and with the grapevine suggesting that they had recruited well it looked like being a hard afternoon for the Salcombe faithful.
This certainly looked the case initially when a Salcombe defender failed to clear his lines and Totnes won posession for their winger to go over wide out after only 5 minutes. The conversion failed as did a simple Totnes penalty soon after, in front of the sticks and only 25 yards out. But this near miss served to shake Salcombe up and much more of the play was taking place in the visitor's half. The backs showed some real sparkle with Henry Fray, Oli Masters and Lee Clarke combining well in attack. The pack began to win some good ball in both the tight and the loose with Richard Gregson taking a couple against the head and Sean Baker and Ian Smerdon controlling the line out. T After a further 20 minutes this eventually led to a combined effort by both backs and forwards and a neat inside pass to the hard working James Palmer at blindside gave Salcombe their first try. The conversion failed.
However just before half time Totnes scored their best try of the match when they put together a rolling maul that took the Crabs back 20 yards or so and close to their own line. Salcombe were penalised for taking the maul down and from the resultant penalty the big Totnes prop crashed over under the posts for a converted try to make it 12-5 to the visitors.
Salcombe relaxed in the opening minutes of the second half and paid the penalty. Some slack defence gave the Totnes wing the easiest of run ins for the try which was converted to make the score 19-5 to Totnes. But from the kick off Salcombe with Jamie Laban prominent pressurised the Totnes catcher who screwed his kick into touch. Ball from the lineout was but a formality for the Crabs and after several phases the hardworking Chris Winzer at prop got the touchdown, a just reward for all his hard work both in the tight but also in carrying the ball well in all those hard places. Chris Drew converted and the score went to 19-12 to Totnes.
Further good play by Salcombe kept the pressure on Totnes and a beautifully worked try with great handling by both backs and forwards left Masters on the wing with the touchdown. The conversion failed but Salcombe were now within 2 points of Totnes at 17-19 down. In one of their rare excursions into Salcombe territory Totnes then put over a drop goal and although Drew then slotted a penalty to bring up the final score, Totnes managed to hold on for a win that even their coach said wasn't justified.
So why did the Crabs lose? Basically they gave away two soft tries, one at the start of each half and in tight league games this is fatal. But that apart Salcombe played well and if they keep this up then they should notch up some scalps along the way.
Next week is at present blank for both Salcombe teams but watch the website and posters in town as the Club hopes to get a Club match at home for this Saturday.
Salcombe u9s 30 vs OPM u9s 0
Salcombe u9s 45 vs OPM u9s 10
Salcombe's young Crabs came away from Plymouth with a fine win on Sunday. Captain of the day Jack lead from the front, once again putting in a massive tackle count and bagging three tries by half time to make it 15-0. The restart saw Salcombe's defence stand firm and force back any OPM attack with Daisy, Chloe and William working hard in the centre. OPM were forced to attack wide where Hallie, Jack and Graham meet them head on to create plenty of turn overs. Daisy and Reuben both crashed over for a try each before Jack cut through for his forth. The final wistle blew with Salcombe keeping a clean sheet.
Playing with plenty of confidence in the second match it wasn't long before both Daisy,Jack and Reuben stormed through for a try each and Graham's jinky runs saw him score twice. OPM were rewarded for their determination with a pair of tries, but it wasn't enough as Graham and Jack both scored again. The last say went to Tilly coming back of the bench to score two great tries out wide to round off a great team effort.
After narrowly losing out to Oaks in there opening game of the season it was a much improved effort for Salcombe when they traveled to OPMs. Salcombe started the stronger team with some fancy feet from Tom opening his account of 15 tries for the day! OPMs came back firing to make both games very even and a great contest for both teams. Salcombe had the edge through some blitz defence from Dan forcing all sorts of errors along with some exellent tagging from Freya, Luke and Gracie who had an exellent game scoring great individual tries with Mikolaj and Luke scoring a pair each. This was a great all round team effort with numerous seven tag turnovers that every player should be proud of!
Salcombe u9s 55 vs plym A Oaks 15
Salcombe u9s 50 vs Plym A Oaks 15
Salcombe U9s welcomed Plymstock Albion Oaks to twomeads for the first match of the season, which saw the step up from tag to contact rugby. Contrary to the score, this was a fairly even match with both sides showing great attacking flair. It was Salcombe's defending that gave them the edge. A great team effort when pinned back on our own try line and individial chase back tackles prevented several strong Oaks attacks. Try scorers Graham 7, Jack 6, Daisy 6,Hallie 1 and Chloe 1.
Salcombe returned from North Devon disappointed not to get something out of the game. The visitors started well enough with Fly half Chris Drew landing the opening points with a penalty twenty five yards out. Playing up the slope the home side started to exert pressure of their own. Using Salcombe’s mistakes to their advantage they soon levelled the scores with a penalty and then extended their lead with a converted try after stretching Salcombe’s defence across the pitch.
The Crabs rallied and started putting together phases of their own. Unable to break through and score trys, they had to rely on the boot of Drew for two further penalties to close the gap to 10-9 at half time. The decisive moment in the game came minutes after the restart. A hopeful high kick from the Torrington fly half caused confusion in the Salcombe half. When Salcombe failed to gather the ball the on-rushing full back found himself scoring a gift of a try under the posts.
Drew’s fourth successful penalty again put the crabs into contention but Torrington’s pack had other ideas. With the hosts dominating the set plays Salcombe ended up trying to chase the game off scraps of ball. Salcombe found themselves camped inside their own 22 and struggled to clear their lines. A further penalty from the home side was added when Salcombe were reduced to 14 men after a somewhat harsh sin binning. Torrington added the final score of the afternoon after further pressure close to the line.
There were some good performances from Salcombe with lock Scott Lowry putting in some fire into the counter rucking. Centre Rupert Bevan was putting in some shuddering hits in defence to contain the Torrington backs. Salcombe should reflect on the game and learn from the performance. Whilst the backs looked strong in defence they offered little in attack. The forwards must provide a stronger platform to give the backs faster clean ball especially at scrum time. This week is a blank weekend in the league for Salcombe but a friendly fixture will likely be organised. Check the website or phone the club for details.
As the score suggests this was a close game that could have gone either way and indeed Topsham missed a penalty in front of the sticks 5 minutes before the end which would have clinched the match for them. But Salcombe deserved to win scoring 3 tries to the visitor's two and ending up much the stronger side in the last 20 minutes; clearly the fitness training is paying off.
The game started with Topsham playing with the steady breeze and for much of the first half this gave them the territorial ascendancy although the Crabs had several dangerous forays into their opponents half. The most notable was when the Clarke brothers, Lee and Darren at fullback and wing respectively combined to take play up to just a few yards outside the try line. When they were stopped a little more patience and clear thinking by Salcombe following the ensuing ruck might have resulted in a try. As it was however in the 33rd minute Topsham put together some smart handling to score in the corner which their captain then converted to leave the score at half time at 7-0 to the visitors.
Poor defence by the Crabs let Topsham in for another converted try soon after the break and at 14-0 down things looked ominous for Salcombe. But at this point the match turned round and Salcombe, who had never looked as if they should be trailing by this amount, started to dominate aided by one or two judicious substitutions. Jamie Laban coming back after injury replaced the heroic Ian Smerdon, himself having his first start after injury, and Jez Foster returning after an indiscretion at South Molton at the end of last season, moved to his favoured tight head spot. Possession flowed and the Clarke brothers again combined well to take the game up into the Topsham 22. Following a series of rucks Scott Lowry eventually crashed over the line for the try wide out. The conversion missed.
The visitors were soon penned down in their own 22 following a great kick from Chris Drew and in trying to clear their lines the Topsham defender screwed his kick to give Salcombe a lineout on the 5 yard line. Possession from the lineout via the ever reliable Sean Baker gave Salcombe the momentum and the ball eventually found its way to Darren Clarke on the wing who went over just inside the touchline. Again the conversion failed with Drew unlucky in hitting the upright.
Now it was all Salcombe but with 5 minutes to go a rare Topsham sortie got them a penalty in front of the posts and on the22. Hearts stopped as the normally highly reliable visitors kicker put it wide. Salcombe swarmed forward and after several attempts by the forwards to get over from the ruck, the ball was whisked out by Drew to Rupert Bevan at centre who jinked past his one opponent to give the Crabs the lead. With the conversion again failing Salcombe were 15-14 ahead and with 4 minutes left they managed to close out the match.
This was a great all round performance by Salcombe with everyone playing well. But special mention must go to the pack who played themselves almost to exhaustion with James Palmer, Jim Winzer and Richard Gregson particularly prominent. When he came on Laban put in some huge tackles and Lowry and Baker were all fire and aggression. Amongst the backs Darren Clarke playing in his first game for the Club had a dream debut. Apart from the try he was also immaculate in both defence and attack and as he gains more experience he will be a force to be reckoned with.
This week the 1s are at Torrington in the League and the 2s will play Plymouth Argaum 2s at home, both matches kicking off at 3 pm.
Salcombe generally worked hard against a powerful South Molton side but poor tackling let in two soft tries. It also usually took two or three Salcombe players to bring down some of the big visiting forwards so that the home cover was stretched all the time and possession in the loose was limited. This was a pity because the Salcombe backs looked good in attack and indeed both Salcombe tries were scored as a result of their fine handling.
The game was scoreless for much of the first quarter although the visitors clearly had the edge in terms of territory and ball and two quick penalties saw them 6-0 ahead after 20 minutes. The game then became more even with the Crabs showing some nice touches, often orchestrated by Jon Squire playing at 10 in place of Chris Drew who was reluctantly on wedding duty. However more or less on the stroke of half time Molton put together a neat move from a set scrum which allowed their wing to cross over for a converted try to make the half time score 13-0 to the visitors.
The start of the second half saw Salcombe in the ascendancy with Mark Parnowski just beaten to the touchdown from a kick ahead. This was quickly followed by some smooth handling in the backs with James Palmer at flanker providing the final link to Darren Hopkins who with 40 yards to go burnt off the opposition for a try wide out. Lee Clarke converted well to bring the score back to 13-7 to Molton.
Poor tackling let the north Devon side score an unconverted try before Salcombe got their second of the match when Parnowski, always lively on the wing, gathered a skewed Molton kick and from the ensuing ruck the ball came swiftly via Squire to Rupert Bevan at centre. Bevan then put in a great solo effort running through tackles and hitting gaps to go over wide out. The conversion failed but the score was 12-18 to the visitors. However as Salcombe tired Molton got two more tries to give them the bonus point and to notch up the final score.
Next week Salcombe have nothing in their fixture list at the moment but will hope to pick up a game to give everyone some much needed game time.
In a game with only 2 established Salcombe 1st team players involved, Salcombe's second string did well in this hastily arranged match played at Dartmouth. As the score suggests the game was only going to have one outcome but it flatters Dartmouth in that Salcombe pressed hard regularly and were only kept out by some resolute defence.
New signings Andy Wheeler and Henry Fray showed that they have plenty of 1st team potential and were all over the park tackling anything in a green and red shirt. Luke Pepperell and Craig Julian on the wings showed promise yet again and mention must be made of Paul “Rambo” Roberts, the team's manager, who played a full 80 minutes at tight head age 60+ and who saw off a couple of Dartmouth props in the process!
This week the League season starts with a visit from South Molton who are bringing two sides down in a double header at Twomeads. The 1s will kick off their league match early at 2.0 pm to allow the 2s to follow on at around 3.30. Lets get a good crowd to cheer on both Salcombe sides.
Short of 5 or 6 key players and having only two available for the bench, this was always going to be a big ask for Salcombe on the first day of the season. Plymstock fielded a full side which contained at least 5 players of standout quality, big, fast,strong and skilled and together with the rest of a highly competent side they totally dominated the game.
Scoring at the rate of a point a minute and aided by a steady breeze the home side raced into a 29-0 lead before Salcombe put together a sweet move which resulted in an unconverted try. Jamie Laban playing his first game for 18 months recovered the ball from the kick off and after several phases the ball came to Mark Lidstone who found Laban again with the pass. Laban threw a long pass to fellow flanker James Palmer who made good progress before passing inside to Lidstone. Intelligently switching the angle of attack, Lidstone gave the ball to Mark Parnowski whose subtle kick ahead allowed Darren Hopkins to win the race for the touchdown wide out. A Plymstock drop goal straight after this meant that the Crabs turned round 32-5 down.
With the wind at their backs Salcombe started the second half well and Parnowski was unlucky to touch down a kick ahead just over the dead ball line. However from the drop out Salcombe made progress through several phases with the Winzer brothers eventually feeding Scott Lowry who crashed over the line despite the attentions of a couple of Plymstock players. At 32-10 down a Crabs revival looked possible but hope was soon extinguished as the home side ran in four more tries.
However worse was to follow for with the game lost both Luke Cole and Jamie Laban went down with injuries late on that threaten to keep them out of the game for at least some weeks. On the bright side a couple of young players showed real promise. Luke Pepperell on the wing was particularly strong when tackled and held up well until help arrived. At full back Lee Clarke coped well with the high ball coming out of the sun and kicked solidly throughout the game.
This Saturday Salcombe hope to find a 2nd team match, preferably at home, to give the 2s a run out before on the 15th they play South Molton at home in a double header after the 1s have also played South Molton at home in their first league match of the season. The 1s will kick off at 2.0 pm with the 2s following on at 3.30.
Thursday 9 August.
We will be unveiling Will's memorial bench after training followed by supper & drinks.
The Annual Salcombe Ball was held last Saturday night at Salcombe Rugby Club where the club which is so much part of the community played host to 140 guests.
After a 3 course meal provided by Liz Turner of the Dinner Service.com, an auction for club funds was held where an England training shirt donated by Julian White, the former Salcombe, Leicester, England and British Lions player raised £130.
Dancing to Vicious Kitten followed with the great evening capped for the Chelsea fans in the gathering by the result in Munich. The clubs stock of champagne sold out!
Chairmen of 5 local sporting organisations before the dinner. Left to right Malcolm Squire, Commodore of Salcombe Yacht Club, John Sprague, Salcombe Rugby Club, Caroline Evans, Salcombe Tennis Club, Tristan Tucker, Salcombe Football Club and Peter Hartley, Thurlestone Golf Club.
Salcombe RFC held its two Awards nights last Friday and Saturday with the proceedings starting on Friday night with the Mini and Junior Section where not only the children themselves but all their parents and coaches have a good night out. Using the fully dressed marquee as the venue the presentations were made by Club President Paul Roberts before members of the 1st team served supper to the hungry kids.
The trophies awarded were:-
On Saturday night it was the turn of the Seniors and after a great dinner provided by Liz Turner of the Dinner Service. Com, Club Chairman John Sprague reviewed the season. The 1st team had escaped relegation despite winning only 5 of their 16 league matches but had a good run in the National Junior Cup, were losing finalists in the Devon Vase and had retained the Barry Cup. The 2nd team had done well winning half their 14 matches under the careful eye of Paul Roberts. John then gave Lee Clarke a bottle of champagne for the one Champagne moment of the season, putting Anthony Squire clear for the fourth try at S.Molton thereby gaining the vital bonus point that avoided relegation. A bottle of champagne also went to Neil Elliott for all his efforts at the Club over the years prior to his moving to the “ Darke Side” (aka Kingsbridge RFC) next season!
Pippa Favis then presented the Tina Favis Cup in memory of Tina who had always worked so tirelessly for the Club and fittingly it went to Yvonne Billings for the immense amount of hard work she puts in organising the Marquee events and so much else at the Club.
President Paul Roberts next presented bouquets to Yvonne Billings and to Linda Stewart for organising the 2nd team, mixing 1st Aid for the 1st team with being unofficial Club photographer.
Finally Paul presented the Senior Awards which were:-
On their third visit to to South Molton this season the Crabs were deservedly beaten by four tries to none on a quagmire of a pitch designed to maximise the home sides advantage in the pack and minimise the danger from Salcombe's superior backs.
Salcombe stuck to their task brilliantly and deep into the second half were only 9-10 down due to magnificent defence by everyone but two late tries, one when Salcombe were down to 14 men, very much flattered the home side. That said Molton were the better side and Salcombe found it difficult to lay hands on the ball and least of all to get quick ball to release their backs.
The scoring started with the deadly boot of Chris Drew slotting a long range penalty but Molton quickly replied by shoving Salcombe back in the scrum and their no8 punching a hole in the Salcombe ranks before releasing to their wing for a simple touch down. Salcombe's best chance of the match came when Oli Masters took a fine interception on the half way line and set off up the steep muddy slope. On a decent surface he would have made it but the cover got across and hauled him down 5 yards out.
A further difficult penalty from Drew put the Crabs ahead but just before half time Molton replied with a further unconverted try to bring the score to 6-10 to the north Devon side.
Turning round Salcombe played down the slope with some confidence and a further Drew penalty put them only 9-10 down. Molton now dug deep and in a series of moves worked themselves up to the Crabs 5 yard line. After a whole run of scrums they eventually got the ball down for a converted try and swiftly followed it up with another in much the same manner to post the final score.
Salcombe produced a storming second half to snatch victory and regain the Barry Cup. In the twentieth anniversary of the fixture being resumed after a break of many years Salcombe knew they were in for a tough game after eight regular first team players were unavailable. Prop Jimmer Winzer confidently stepped in to the role of hooker for the scrums and usual line-out ball winner Sean Baker ‘won’ the pre-match accuracy challenge and was therefore nominated to throw the ball into the line-outs.
The game started at a furious pace with Buckfastleigh doing everything they could to get the large home crowd behind them. Salcombe with all of the changes started sluggishly and quickly conceded two penalties which the Buckfastleigh kicker knocked over to give the home side a 6-0 lead. Hanging on at times, it took some great defending from the Salcombe side to prevent the ramblers from going even further ahead. Second row Scott Lowry again showed why he has been one of the finds of the season by some great aggressive defensive work. Playing up the slope and into the strong wind Salcombe found themselves camped inside their own half for the majority of the half. Buckfastleigh made the most of the few try opportunities when the forwards found a gap to score in the corner. With the difficult conversion added Salcombe found themselves 13-0 down.
A turning point in the first half was when Flanker Ian Smerdon broke clear from Salcombe’s own line after the home side had lost control of the ball at a five metre scrum. The Salcombe side worked their way up to midfield and were awarded a penalty. Stand in scrum half for the game Lee Clarke took the opportunity to quickly tap and go. He fed Captain Darren Hopkins who broke through the home defence and was caught short of the line. James Palmer, a back rower in his secondary position of centre drove at the heart of the ramblers midfield and it resulted in Salcombe being awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Chris Drew scored to reduce the half time score to 13-3.
At half time Salcombe were able to bring back regular pack leader and number eight Stuart Winzer who had recovered sufficiently from injury. Winzer’s deputy Darren Clarke had a fine first half controlling the ball at the base of the scrum and linking well with his son at scrum half. The second half started with a disaster for Salcombe when fly-half Drew’s clearance kick being charged down led to Buckfastleigh adding another seven points to their lead. Drew quickly made amends and cut the lead with a second well taken penalty. With the game in the balance Salcombe’s scrum started to take control with props Nick Trant and Ian Vassiere taking control of their opposite numbers. With the ball being won more cleanly the Crabs started to gain their own territory to put pressure onto the home side. A Salcombe grubber kick caused a mix up in defence and centre Hopkins raced onto the loose ball. As he was caught the supporting Liam Wills called and received the ball before scoring under the posts for a converted score. With Salcombe finding top gear in the closing ten minutes the Crabs really opened up. Showing superior fitness and match sharpness they finished the game in style by scoring three further scores. Scrum half Clarke finding himself the last man to score on two occasions wide out after some unselfish work close to the line by Palmer and Winzer.
The final score and one that finally settled the tie was when the Salcombe pack produced a great line-out on the half way line. From the resulting catch and drive, big Scott Lowry broke through and thundered his way to the try line. After Lowry was finally hauled down it was left to his supporting second row Sean Baker to pick up the ball and crash over.
Salcombe showed a fine team performance with every single member of the side putting in a huge shift. From bodies on the line defending to clinical finishing it was a fitting way to regain the famous old trophy. There is one more game remaining for Salcombe when they travel to South Molton tomorrow to play in the final of the Devon plate competition.
Salcombe made sure of avoiding relegation in the best way possible by scoring 4 tries, so gaining the bonus point that ensured whatever those below them did, the Crabs were safe.
In an entertaining match with Salcombe depleted through injuries sustained over Easter the Crabs started slowly and within 15 minutes they were 17-0 down following 3 Molton tries. These could have been stopped if half the team had put in the tackle rather than just flapping at the runner! However although Molton have a strong pack their outsides were not a match for Salcombe's and they resorted to kicking for position when pressed. One such kick was fielded by Anthony Squire on his own 22 and the pacey winger then ran through the entire home side to touch down under the posts for Chris Drew to convert.
This galvanised Salcombe who began to run the ball whenever they could and despite a pushover try from South Molton Salcombe always looked dangerous. Just before half time the home backs were dispossessed on their own 22 and some smart handling in the backs saw Rupert Bevan clear to score under the posts for Drew to convert and bring up the half time score of 14-24 to South Molton.
The start of the second half saw the Crabs play some brilliant rugby up the slope and in a move started by a Bevan intercept the ball went to Squire who managed a sweet offload to the ever present Lewis Winzer who raced in for the try. Drew with deadly accuracy secured the tricky conversion to bring the score to 21-24. Salcombe were now on fire and further slick handling gave Squire the chance to notch up his second try of the afternoon which Drew converted to put Salcombe ahead 28-24.
This fourth try and the resultant bonus point prompted wild celebrations from the Salcombe supporters who knew the drop to Devon 2 had now been avoided. The Crabs continued to attack but rugby is a game of momentum and with Salcombe about to launch yet another move the ref had to stop the game because the young and inexperienced Molton touch judge was waving his flag with excitement rather than indicating a problem. Although the restart was a scrum to Salcombe, this was of doubtful benefit to a Salcombe pack that was being totally dominated in the tight. Possession went to the home side and momentum was lost so that Molton reasserted themselves scoring 3 more tries in the final 20 minutes, one at the final whistle.
Overall this was a great performance by Salcombe. Whether they would have won if the touch judge incident had not happened is debatable but at the time Salcombe were well on top and having won quick possession they might easily have scored,especially as most of the home pack were on the ground trapped in the ruck.
While the backs rightly take the plaudits for the tries, the pack were confronted by one of the best units in the league and they deserve credit for the way they stuck to their task. In particular flankers Ian Smerdon and Rich Gregson had enormous games winning a lot of loose ball and second row Scott Lowry put in a huge tackle count.
This week after the drama of the league it is away to Buckfastleigh for the Barry Cup match, ko 3.0pm while the 2s entertain Plymstock 2s at home also at 3.0 pm. Next week, the 28th, its back to South Molton again for the final of the Devon Vase ko 3.0 pm in a fitting end to the long season.
Salcombe secured what could be a vital bonus point in the fight for survival in Devon 1 in the final 5 minutes of the game against the Plymouth side.
The hosts got off to a fast start and the rattled crabs soon found themselves a penalty down. However they quickly recovered and scored their first try of the game after a great line-out from the forwards gave the backs quick fast ball. The ball was passed at speed down the line to winger Rupert Bevan who beat his opposite number. Being caught just before the line, Bevan popped the ball inside to the supporting Liam Wills who finished off the move. The extras were added. Plymstock added a further seven pointer in reply as they attempted to take control of the game. Back came Salcombe though showing great spirit. This time the forwards did all the hard work themselves. Hooker Neil Elliot started the move by hitting his man in the line-out. The forwards developed a tight maul and started to drive the home side towards their line. With the weight of Nick Trant and the Winzer contingent in full steam Salcombe were able to touch down their second try. Hooker Neil Elliot being the man with the ball under the pile of bodies. Another successful conversion made it 14-10 to the visiting Crabs. Plymstock rallied and used their large ball carriers to good effect and scored a quick converted try just before the stroke of half time.
Into the second half and playing into a much stronger wind the Salcombe side battled to take control of the game. Flanker Ian Smerdon and prop Jimmer Winzer put in countless tackles all afternoon.. Pack leader Stuart Winzer led from the front by some strong defence in the loose. Lee Clarke had a solid game at Full-back and made a crucial tackle when faced with a one on one situation. Salcombe's kicker Chris Drew added a simple penalty from in front of the posts to keep Salcombe close to their hosts but the crabs were quickly out of touch again after Plymstock scored a long range drop goal and then a further try of their own which gave them an eight point lead going into the last ten minutes. A break in play for an injury saw Salcombe regroup and set up one last chance of attack. Captain Darren Hopkins received a ball down the blind side from a good scrum by the forwards.. Further pods of attack were launched by Salcombe and they were rewarded when the Referee awarded them a penalty. With five minutes left on the clock Fly-half Drew kept his nerve and slotted the kick to get the Crabs within the seven points needed to secure a bonus point. A frantic final five saw the crabs hold on. Whilst it wasn't the win they so badly needed, Salcombe will be relieved to come away from a hard game with the hard earnt point.
The relegation battle looks likely to go down to the last game of the season where Salcombe will be hoping that Plymouth side St. Columba do not win their final two games with bonus points.
Salcombe u7s returned to winning ways with a fine performance against a much emproved Newton Abbot side from when they meet at the begining of the season. Good support play and the ability to move the ball quickly gave Salcombe the edge against a solid Newton defence who never gave up. Tom and Henry led the way scoring eight tries between them with Fin and Angus both scoring a pair. Freya's solid performance saw her cross the line as did Luke and George. SQUAD Tom (5),Henry (3), Angus (2), Fin (2), Freya (1), Luke (1),George (1), Mathew, Joseph, Douglas.
Despite the scoreline this was an improved performance from Salcombe particularly the first half after which the Crabs led 11-7. However Salcombe had been well served by the tactical kicking of Darren Hopkins and Chris Drew in the first period who, with the wind at their backs, ensured that the home side'ss attacks were generally from long range.
The game started well for Salcombe when Neil Elliott took a ball against the head and allowed Rupert Bevan on the wing to have a good run to set up field position. After a couple of plays the Crabs were awarded an indirect free kick and Ian Smerdon made ground before off loading to 2nd row Scott Lowry who crashed over for his first try for Salcombe. The difficult kick failed narrowly.
OPM then showed why they are in contention for the second promotion spot when they established themselves in the Salcombe 22 and in a simple move straight off the training field they moved the ball out in the backs only for a slick inside pass to find a player moving at speed to run hard and straight for the converted try.
Salcombe replied almost immediately when from 35 yards out Drew dropped a superb goal to take the score to 8-7 to Salcombe. He then followed this up with a longer range penalty to increase the Crab's lead to11-7 but there the score remained until half time.
Within 10 minutes of the second half starting the home side were ahead 13-11 courtesy of two penalties and although Salcombe defended well the OPM backs, who have been their strength all season, managed to get away on two occasions to score converted tries and bring up the final score.
This week in a break from league action the 1s entertain Ilfracombe at Twomeads,ko 3.0pm, in the semi final of the Devon Junior Vase. The 2s should be playing Paignton 3s at home and at the time of writing it is uncertain whether this will be played before or after the first team match or even switched away. Watch the website for final details.
As expected Salcombe won their last home league match of the season against the bottom side in the league. However it was far from being a one sided affair and the large Salcombe crowd were disappointed that the Crabs scored only two tries and did not get the four try bonus point that they had hoped to see.
Indeed for the bulk of the match the Crabs were behind and it was only in the last 10 minutes that they scored two converted tries to take the game. While Salcombe played most of the game in their opponents territory and always looked threatening, their almost total inability to retain the ball in contact gave North Tawton a lifeline throughout. The Crabs were slow to the breakdown and usually arrived in too few numbers so that, for instance, in the first 10 minutes they were turned over six times after which we lost count.
Whether this was due to over confidence or players carrying injuries,colds etc is uncertain. But this display was well short of last weeks and the pace will need to be greatly increased for Salcombe's last three matches, all of which are against in form teams with a chance of promotion.
The game started with a flurry of Crab's possession and pressure ruined by turnovers from one of which the visitors forced play up to the Salcombe 10 yard line.A scrum to Salcombe went badly wrong and the well drilled visitors pack seized on the ball and rolled towards the try line before their hooker blazed off the back of the maul for the converted try.
Chris Drew,on fine kicking form,kept Salcombe in contention with two well struck penalties and the home side were lucky that North Tawton missed two easy penalties with the wind to turn round at half time only 6-7 down.
In the second half and with the steady breeze behind them Salcombe kept the game in the visitors half and managed to retain the ball a little better. This and the excellent lineout work of Sean Baker and James Cooper helped put pressure on the North Tawton line and Salcombe were unlucky not to score on several occasions, especially when Cooper was held up over the line. Eventually the dam broke and Darren Hopkins coming in from full back in a typical darting move made the most of a disorganised Tawton defence to jink over for the try which Drew converted.
Salcombe fielded the visitor's kick off well and brought play up to the visitors 22 before the ball came to Oli Masters at centre who neatly cut through the defence to score the second Salcombe try in two minutes. Drew converted to make to 20-7 to Salcombe and hopes were raised that in the last eight minutes Salcombe could get the two extra tries needed for the bonus point. But North Tawton rallied and their defence held out for the remainder of the game.
This week the 1s are away at OPM in another must win game for Salcombe. The 2s will be home,also to OPM, and both matches kick off at 3.0 pm. The following week, 17 March, Salcombe will be at home to Ilfracombe in the semi final of the Devon Junior Vase, ko3.0pm, and the Club will also be showing all 3 Internationals on the big screen.
Outscoring the league leaders two tries to one and with Chris Drew hitting the upright with two very difficult kicks, Salcombe were unlucky not to have collected the four points for a win.
Without exception the Crabs played well and that included the subs when they came on but particularly two young players stood out. Lee Clarke on the wing played with an unaccustomed maturity doing what was asked of him well and taking his try with confidence. Jim Winzer coming on at tight head at half time was a revelation in the loose adding speed and fire to the ruck winning ball sometimes and slowing down Wessex ball regularly.
And this gives Salcombe an interesting selection problem. Jez Foster is a rock at tight head and by half time the Wessex loose head was showing signs of wear and tear. But Jez is less mobile in the loose while Jim is less of a threat in the tight. Maybe the solution is as yesterday to give each a half with Jez on first to wear them down and Jim on second to exploit their tiredness.
The game started pretty evenly but after five minutes Wessex got a penalty for a Salcombe player entering a ruck from the side to make it 3-0 to the visitors. Salcombe remained toe to toe with Wessex and worked their way into good positions only for the Wessex defence to thwart them eventually. Salcombe were very unlucky that following a typically meaty charge by “Morris” Palmer the backs were squeezed out close to the line.
Then Salcombe's most frequent failing manifested itself when an attempted offload went wrong and Wessex scooped up the ball and via a great rolling maul and some swift passing they gained 60 yards for the touchdown under the posts which they converted to make it 10-0 to the visitors. And there it stayed until half time.
Salcombe playing towards their favourite clubhouse end started the half playing the best rugby they have played all season. With the forwards winning good ball the backs showed what simple quick passing can do by creating an overlap for Rupert Bevan on the wing to go over wide out. The conversion hit the upright and then almost immediately after the same thing happened with a difficult penalty attempt.
This seemed to motivate Salcombe to even greater efforts and again the backs showed what they can do. Bevan gathered a loose ball and made a lot of ground infield before linking up with Darren Hopkins who ran well before passing to Lee Clarke for the unconverted try by the touchline.10 all and everything to play for but Wessex came back strongly and soon put over a penalty to go ahead 13-10. Drew then replied with a good penalty and at 13 all the two sides settled into a nervous last 15 minutes. Both sides had opportunities but the defences were up to the mark and that was the final score.
For Salcombe this was a vital two league points but more importantly it gives the team self belief that they can play well and avoid relegation. All that is needed is to play like this for the remaining four league matches. This Saturday the 1s play North Tawton at home in the league ko 3.0pm while the 2s are away at Ivybridge 3s also at 3.0pm.
Salcombe's seven match unbeaten run continued with an impressive second half performance to seal the win. With both sides showing good attack and defensive skills the first half was tit-for-tat with Salcombe trailing 6-5 at half time after tries from Daisy (a pair), Jack , Hallie and Jess.
Salcombe uped their game in the second half and strong defending against a Sharks attack, who always looked dangerous, meant they gained several turn overs.
With the ball being passed quickly through the whole team, Salcombe were able to score 7 tries to Sharks 3. Daisy lead the way scoring another pair as did Jack and Tilly with Chloe also crossing the line to secure a great win.
Salcombe faced a much improved Sharks side from when they last meet and both sides were evenly matched. Some good passing and link-up play saw Angus and Tom both score a hat-trick of tries with Freya adding another. Unfortunatly Salcombe made more unforced errors and the sharks profitted in a game that could have gone either way.
Very little to say of interest to local readers with a scoreline like this. Salcombe did not play particularly badly but were comprehensively beaten in most aspects of the game by a better side who started the season in some danger of folding for lack of players but who have recruited strongly ever since and now look favourites to go up along with Wessex.
The match started in a monsoon with a strong cross wind and with Salcombe competing well. But after10 minutes New Cross had a lineout 15 yards out and opted for the short throw to the prop who charged over the line for an unconverted try wide out. And there the score remained until half time. In the meantime Salcombe had missed a couple of very difficult penalties and Darren Hopkins was unlucky to be brought down just short of the line when he followed up his own kick ahead, caught the New Cross catcher who spilled the ball allowing Hopkins to regather and only be stopped by a great covering tackle. Salcombe were then turned over and the moment was lost.
In the second half it was all New Cross and after 15 minutes they had a penalty, opted for the lineout and drove over for another unconverted try to make it 10-0 to the home side. They then had one of those bits of luck that often come to a side in the ascendant when a bad pass from the New Cross no10 missed its mark but bounced along the ground where it bobbled up nicely for their outside centre. With the Salcombe defence caught on the wrong foot he had an unopposed run in to the posts and it was 17-0.
New Cross then earned their bonus point when they had taken play over the Salcombe line but Salcombe had possession. Instead of dropping to the ground and conceding the 5 yard scrum, the defender opted to try to kick with one leg held by a New Cross player. The inevitable happened and as the ball dribbled sideways a New Cross player fell on it for the converted try before any one from Salcombe could stop it and bring the score to 24-0.Salcombe then survived the final 10 minutes without further mishap.
This defeat now puts Salcombe one above the relegation zone with Plymstock and St Columba, two of their relegation contenders, still to have their disputed match decided by Twickenham. If they are forced to replay and St. Columba win, then they as well as Plymstock will go above Salcombe and Devon 2 rugby could arrive at Twomeads unless Salcombe can string some victories together in their last few matches. This week its a rearranged league game with league leaders Wessex at Twomeads, ko 2.00. The Crabs need to play like they did in the Kingsbridge game to get the points but they are capable of it so good luck.
While the final score flattered St. Just because of a converted try scored as the last move of the match, the home side nevertheless deserved their win as the better side on the day. Home advantage plus the inclusion of a couple of Truro Academy players in their backs, and especially their very influential fly half, gave them an edge in speed and inventiveness which Salcombe were hard put to match.
The Crabs came to this match well prepared but found their plans thrown into some confusion by the late withdrawal in the morning of one of their backs. This on top of the non availability of Rupert Bevan due to work commitments left the back line a little thin and everyone's thanks must go to T'Rob Park for turning out when he only came along to watch!
Salcombe started well using their heavier pack to advantage to keep the home side in their own half. Chris Drew and Mark Lidstone kicked intelligently and gave the forwards something to work with and after 10 minutes they got their reward when St. Just defending desperately infringed and Drew kicked the penalty. But St Just gradually got a bit more of the ball and invariably kicked for position rather than try to run out of defence on the heavy field. When they had possession in the Salcombe half they looked dangerous and on 20 minutes they opened Salcombe up with clinical precision to get a converted try. Shortly afterwards they got a penalty and suddenly the score was 10-3 to St. Just.
The Crabs responded with an awesome exhibition of power rugby using their heavy pack to rumble steadily down the pitch. When St Just managed to win ball they were usually too close to their own line to do other than kick. Salcombe won most lineouts with Sean Baker, James Cooper and Ian Smerdon providing the ball to Lewis Winzer who either box kicked or gave it to Drew for a long range kick deep into St Just territory. The tactics paid off when the Salcombe pack marshalled well by Lewis Winzer put in some 10 phases advancing around 30 yards before the excellent Jez Foster went over for the try which Drew converted to bring up a half time score of 10 all.
Straight after half time the Crab's backs showed their hand and in an elegant move which very nearly had Liam Wills over the line but for a covering tackle. Straight after Lidstone fielded a St Just kick and raced up the touch line before passing to Drew who made the vital break before passing to Lewis Winzer for the try wide out. The conversion missed but Salcombe were ahead 15-10. And there the score remained until deep into the last quarter of the match. However full back Simon Keen had to go off with a dislocated shoulder and lacking an authentic backs replacement James Palmer, normally a back row, was pressed into service returning after a 10 week lay off due to injury.
Inevitably some of Salcombe's cohesion in defence suffered and the home side took full advantage to score two quick converted tries and bring the score to 24-15 in their favour. But the Salcombe challenge was still sufficiently worrying to St. Just that they opted to slot another penalty rather than go for touch and the drive. This took the score to 27-15 before in the dying moments of the match St Just got their last converted try.
This was an epic performance by the Crabs and one in which everyone played a part. Scott Lowry was voted Salcombe man of the match but in truth there were a number of candidates for the title.
Salcombe now face two difficult league matches away to 2nd placed New Cross this Saturday,ko 2.30, and the following week at home to top of the table Wessex on the 25th. The Crabs need a similar performance to that against St Just in both because with last Saturday's league results going the wrong way for Salcombe, relegation still remains an uncomfortable possibility.
Salcombe knew they were in for a tough game when Oaks arrived with a large organised squad. With Oaks having the ball to start, Salcombe's defence worked hard to win the turn over and pass the ball wide for Hallie to sprint over to score first. A period of fast attacking play from both sides followed, keeping the score even. Jack had a great game cutting Oaks defence open with some super footwork to score six tries. Daisy and Tilly were both rewarded for there hard work with a try each and Hallie got a second try before being denied a third when ruled to be short of the line. Credit to Salcombe's defence who had to dig deep in the final third when Oaks brought on fresh legs.
Salcombe struggled to get started against a strong Oaks side whose defence forced Salcombe to make mistakes and gain an early lead.
However salcombe re-grouped well and with quicker passing and direct running, kept them in the game. Angus lead the way scoring five tries with Matthew, Freya, Henry and Tom all showing great pace to score a pair of tries each. An improved defensive effort late on was pleasing to see but it was to late to close the gap.
This was a much better performance by Salcombe building considerably on the improvement they showed last week. Playing away against genuine promotion contenders was always going to be a tough call and despite an early set back Salcombe showed true character to gain the maximum 5 points.
Topsham rely heavily on their speedy wings who have plenty of room to move at home on their very wide pitch. The home side demonstrated this within 2 minutes of the start when shoving the Salcombe set scrum back ten yards they whipped the ball out to their right wing who cantered over wide out. Although the kick failed it looked as if it might be a long afternoon for Salcombe.
However the Crabs had other ideas and took firm control of the match and were unlucky when a couple of difficult penalty kicks were missed. A promising move in the backs was just squeezed out into touch and the ever present Ian Smerdon charged down a Topsham clearance, gathered the ball but with 40 yards to go and no support he was pulled down just short of the line. All this hard work was then wasted when a poor kick out of defence by Salcombe went straight to the home sides backs who moved the ball quickly to score a converted try bringing the score to 12-0 to Topsham.
But Salcombe made amends when Sean Baker won a Topsham throw in and Chris Drew put in a great diagonal kick. Darren Hopkins chasing the ball prevented the Topsham winger from offloading and Lewis Winzer was on hand to rip the ball out and go over for a try which Scott Lowry then converted. Right on the dot of half time Topsham got a penalty to bring the score to 15-7 to the home side.
At the break it was obvious that Topsham were suffering from the Crabs very physical defence.They had used all three substitutes by half timeand resumed the second half with several walking wounded. Both Rupert Bevan and Liam Wills had crunched their opposite numbers who seemed as a result to be less keen on going onto contact. Additionally several of the Topsham forward were showing signs of the wear and tear they had suffered in the loose at the hands of James Cooper, Smerdon and Stuart Winzer.
The second half started with Salcombe pressing hard and being held up across the line. In particular Symon Cater called up at the last moment for this game and enjoying himself immensely in the physical contact, appeared hard done by when the ref denied his apparent touch down. In a change of tactics the forwards secured a loose ball and instead of battering away themselves they gave the backs the ball who functioned smoothly to allow Darren Hopkins to score wide out. Lowrys difficult conversion failed.
Now at 15-12 down Salcombe sensed that the match could be theirs and following a line out from a penalty Simon Keen kicked deep into home territory. With Bevan looming menacingly their backs then fumbled the ball allowing the winger to gratefully scoop up the ball for the try which Drew converted. This put Salcombe 19-15 ahead and there soon followed the best move of the game which allowed Stuart Winzer to go over for the try which was unconverted. The forwards had put together a number of phases before releasing the ball to the backs who then got close to the try line. With the ball coming back to the forwards there was some very smart interpassing which ripped the Topsham defence apart and allowed Winzer to go over thus rewarding a great performance by him throughout the match.
Very late in the game some sloppy Salcombe defence gave Topsham a soft try under the posts to bring up the final score and give Salcombe their first 4 try bonus point of the season.
This week the 1s and 2s both entertain Wessex at home with the 1s ko at 2.30 and the 2s at 4.15. Wessex are runaway league leaders but with Salcombe playing much better there could be an upset.
A whole team effort in defence made sure Salcombe had plenty of turn over ball to play with and launch some super attacking play with Hallie getting a hat-trick of tries, Daisy and Jack a pair and Tilly one. Totnes broke through late on but an exellent chase back from Hallie and Daisy denied Totnes from scoring. The scond match (6,3) saw a stronger performance from Totnes and at half time both sides were even at 2 all. In the second half Salcombe changed up a gear, linking well in attack and saw them score 4 tries to 1 to round off a great day. Try scorers Daisy 4, Hallie 1 and Chloe 1.
Salcombe knew Totnes would be tough but got off to a good start. Some good passing saw Tom racing down the wing to score first, Totnes replied then Angus broke through to score, unfortunatly Salcombe went off the boil and the Totnes defence forced mistakes from Salcombe and Totnes scored several unanswerd tries. A determind effort late on saw Tom score two more with Angus and George also scoring to close the gap.
In a match dominated by a strong wind going diagonally across this exposed pitch the Crabs played with much greater urgency than last week and dominated this game for long periods. Indeed it was only occasionally that the home side broke out of their own half but their defence was superb and their ability to win the ball in a turnover kept Salcombe out. With Buckfastleigh's Steve Chappell always a danger if Salcombe conceded a penalty in their own half, the visitors discipline was good and he wasn't offered the chance to slot a three pointer until late into extra time.
Salcombe started off playing up the hill and against the wind and fairly easily contained the Buckfastleigh attacks,sufficiently so that there were hopes of Salcombe notching up a good few points in the second half. The home sides backs did not trouble the Crabs outsides where Chris Drew and Liam Wills at centre made their presence felt with some hard tackling. The main Buckfastleigh threat came from their large pack who liked nothing better than to rumble the ball but with the Crabs generally securing possession when they needed it nothing much was going to come from that. In the loose James Cooper and Ian Smerdon had great games and both secured a lot of lineout ball together with Sean Baker. Chris Winzer and Scott Lowry put in some punishing runs and Jez Foster made his mark by deciding to take on his opposite number of a similar size to Jez and picking him up bodily and dumping him back in the tackle.
The first half ended without score and likewise the second despite some excellent running from both the Salcombe wings Rupert Bevan and Darren Hopkins. Drew missed a couple of penalties in the difficult wind and normal time ended with Salcombe camped on the home side's line but kept out by a magnificent defence. The first period of extra time saw the Crabs playing up the hill again and a rare moment of indiscipline gave Chappell the chance Buckfastleigh had been waiting for to go three points up. Mark Lidstone combining coaching duties and playing well at no.10 urged Salcombe to be calm as they started the second period of extra time and with three minutes remaining the home defence eventually crumbled to allow Wills to go over for the try. Lowry stepped up for the difficult touchline conversion and banged it over with all the insouciance of a seasoned pro.
Salcombe deserved their win and while they made heavy weather of it the two sides know each other well and that combined with the wind made life difficult. Next week the 1s are away at promotion chasing Topsham in the league while the 2s entertain Topsham 2s at home. Both matches kick off at 2.30.
After beating Devon sides in the preceding three rounds of the National Cup, Salcombe will be visiting St. Just in Cornwall for their 4th round fixture.
Recon operative, John Sprague, has recently returned from his mission to St. Just (see below) and reports that we have a very real chance of success especially as all our players are committing to give their best over the coming weeks in preperation.
Torquay away was always going to be a tough match and so it was. The first half was a close encounter with both sides defending hard, with Lucas, Tilly and Jess guarding the middle. Any wide runners were soon chased down by Jack and Daisy. Fast running and quick link up play saw Jack cross the line twice and Daisy once for a 3-3 half time score. Torquay had the restart but Salcombe's blitz defence forced them back and rewarded with the turn-over which Hallie raced in to score. Hallie's great turn of pace saw her score two more, with Jack breaking the defence to get his third try. Chloe's persistent running paid off when she went over to score a well earned try and helped secure a great win.
Some fast running and quik passing ment this was a game with plenty of try scoring opportunity for both teams. Tom's fast pace saw him score five tries and Henry's side-steps caused problems for Torquay as he scored a hat-trick. Captain George and Dundas both scored a pair with Freya and Fin getting one each. Great tagging in defence gave Salcombe the edge and the win in what was an entertaining match.
Now Salcombe are in trouble. Losing to St Columba who up to now had not won a league match all season and were firmly rooted to the bottom spot leaves the Crabs staring at relegation. With 7 league matches remaining, only two at home, and all the top teams still to play Salcombe will need to up their game to the levels of Boxing Day every match if they are to avoid the drop. And the annoying thing is that they are capable of some very good play but seem to lack the ability to focus continuously for 80 minutes.
Yesterday there was a lack of urgency about all they did typified by the second of the visitors' tries when a fly hack ahead was chased only by Darren Hopkins with most of Salcombe looking on. Indeed Hopkins and Ian Smerdon, both of whom scored the Crabs' tries, were the standout players and although others had their moments, particularly Mike Thurlow at centre who made some great runs, the general tempo was far too slow. Individually the backs have a lot of talent but with the ball being simply shovelled along the line and no variation of play attempted their threat is easily contained as the opposition can rely on nothing unexpected happening.
The first 5 minutes went well for Salcombe as they piled on the pressure but a dropped ball in the forwards was enterprisingly hacked on by St Columba ending with their winger getting the touchdown. Unlucky we thought but 5-0 down is easily recoverable except that it wasn't as the visitors now had their tails up and Salcombe started to make mistakes and were unlucky to be penalised in front of their posts to make it 8-0 down.
However Salcombe rallied and good possession allowed the backs to stretch their legs and with the ball safely delivered to Hopkins the skipper burst through several tackles to score in the corner. Chris Drew having an off day with the boot missed the difficult conversion into the wind and at 5-8 down and 2 minutes to go to half time when Salcombe would have the advantage of the wind things looked at least hopeful. But a stupid decision to run the ball out of their own 22 following the kick off instead of booting it safely to touch resulted in a dropped ball and yet another hack on by St. Columba and with only Hopkins bothering to try to get to the ball first, the visitors got another soft try which they converted to take the half time score to 15-5 to St Columba.
Immediately after half time Salcombe allowed the visitor's scrum half to run through for an unconverted try leaving the Crabs with a 15 point deficit. A penalty to Salcombe on the half way line was put over magnificently by Scott Lowry to bring the score to 8-20 and Salcombe now battled hard to get the two tries they needed to win. But the predictability of the Salcombe attack was easily defended by St. Columba until right at the final whistle Ian Smerdon rounded off a period of pressure by the forwards with a try close to the posts which Drew converted to at least give the Crabs the losing bonus point.
Next week the 1s in a change to the advertised fixture with DHSOB at home will be away at Buckfastleigh in a Devon Plate match and the 2s will be away at Teignmouth. Both matches kick off at 2.30.
This was a great start to 2012 for the young Crabs who put on a fine display. A great team effort in defence with everyone committed to tagging their attacker and not getting drawn out of position forced OPMs back and allowed Salcombe plenty of turn-overs. Direct running and quick off-loads created plenty of scoring opportunity, with Jack and Hallie scroring four tries each, Daisy a pair and Tilly one.
First half tries from Douglas, Henry, Tom and Freya with a pair saw Salcombe to a comfortable 5-3 lead at half time. OPMs caught Salcombe napping at the re-start and two quick tries saw them pull level. From here on in it was even with both sides attacking well and creating plenty off chances. Henry and Tom scored their second with Freya quike to follow with another pair and captain Fin getting his first of the season to finish the match a fair draw.