Friday 26 August, 2016, by John Sprague
This friendly fixture was due to be played on Bank Holiday Saturday but both teams felt they could more easily get a side out on Thursday evening playing under lights. This was a first evening kick off for Salcombe for many years and despite steady rain it was well attended and something of a party atmosphere built up with both young and old enjoying the event. No doubt this was helped by seeing an all Salcombe team with no outside assistance pulling off a comfortable win.
Unlike the previous Saturday at Plympton where defences dominated and the game remained scoreless until late on, the Crabs set off at a pace and quickly showed their ambition. Searching diagonal kicks from Lee Clarke and Craig Julian gave Salcombe territory forcing PlymVic to give up the penalty. A quick tap and go followed by a swiftly won ruck saw Mark Parnowski show a blast of speed to go in close to the posts. Clarke converted to give Salcombe a 7-0 lead. This was quickly followed by further Salcombe pressure resulting in Martyn Troupe turning over a visitors’ ball to give Chris Drew playing in the 2nd row a good run towards the posts. When stopped he passed to Steve Moran who showed his strength to burst through several tackles and touch down wide out. Clarke put over a difficult kick and Salcombe were 14-0 ahead after 20 minutes.
Salcombe then took their foot off the gas somewhat and allowed over ambition to get the better of sound play so that when under pressure they flung the ball wildly instead of gathering it in and trundling through a few phases to gain territory. One such incident left Mark Lidstone, on for a spell at full back, the recipient of a hospital pass and in trying to kick for touch to relieve the situation with the opposition on top of him the kick landed with the PlymVic winger who scored wide out to bring the score to 14-5 at half time.
The rain was by now relentless and made for difficult handling but the Crabs took the game to the visitors testing them with some fine runs. Whenever PlymVic did get the ball the ferocious Salcombe tackling with Parnowski very prominent shook the ball loose usually giving Salcombe posession. A smart move down the left wing allowed Schalk Herselman to weave his way at speed almost to the line before passing to Nick Trant who barrelled his way through a clutch of defenders for the try to put Salcombe 19-5 in the lead. Salcombe then dominated entirely scoring 3 more tries, none converted, all from Scott Lowry playing at no8. The first came from good posession but relied on Lowry stretching his legs to power through the defence and the second came from some very good work by Trant who was able to slip the ball to the no8 for the final few yards. Lowry’s hat trick came from a lineout drive by the whole pack for some 20 yards and as they sauntered across the line Lowry had the ball to touch down for the final score of the match, 34-5.
Once again the whole team played well as did the replacements but outstanding and for me man of the match was Jay Hannaford at hooker. Not only did he strike the ball well winning several against the head, but his throwing in at the line out was spot on. More significantly he was all over the park tackling, clearing up rubbish ball and carrying well in attack. Clearly pre season training has done him good and with his low centre of gravity he is a difficult player to stop with the ball in hand. One or two less pasties per week and he will be deadly! Lastly our thanks to Chris”Jaffa” Winzer for emerging from premature retirement to re- familiarise himself with the joys of loose head prop. Jaffa we need you.