Tuesday 13 September, 2016, by John Sprague
Despite the scoreline this was an encouraging result for the Crabs against a side a league higher who had been challenging for promotion in that league in the previous season. Totnes were better drilled and with their weighty pack they always had an edge; one of their second rows was particularly deadly scoring 5 of their 6 tries demonstrating the effectiveness of combining weight with speed and good body position.
The game started badly for Salcombe with a bad pass from the back of the scrum going over the dead ball line instead of to the no 10. From the resultant 5 yard scrum Totnes then trundled over and with the conversion going over they were 7–0 up. Salcombe came back strongly and following a penalty Lee Clarke went for the long touch which the Totnes wing just managed to flick back into play. But in so doing he knocked the ball behind him and had not allowed for the blistering pace of the Crabs’ winger Jake Winterbottom who scorched past him, gathered the ball and went over in the corner to make the score 5-7 to Totnes.
There then followed a long period of Totnes domination but with the Crabs tackling with gusto and competing strongly. Liam Turvey and James Cooper fought well in the lineout and new signing Nick Bridwell showed up well spearheading the resistance from no 8. Liam Wills and Steve Moran looked threatening in the centre and given more ball might have been more of a concern to the visitors. Nevertheless Totnes piled up the points scoring another 5 tries, two before half time to bring up a 5-21 score to Totnes and 3 after the changeover to arrive at their 40 points. With 10 minutes to go Salcombe entered a purple patch keeping play in the Totnes 22. Close to time Bridwell gained possession wide out and set out on a diagonal run beating a number of defenders with pace and close to the other touch line he slipped the ball to hooker Syd Walters-Symons for the touchdown. Clarke narrowly failed with the conversion and the final score was 10-40 to Totnes.
Salcombe need several more big forwards, props especially, but also ball carrying back rows. The backs look promising and with the return of Darren Hopkins who can also play in the back row as he did to good effect in the second half of this match, there is plenty of cover for the inevitable injuries and availability problems.
The Crabs’ next match is next week away to OPM next Saturday and then on 24 September they are home to Dartmouth, ko 3.0pm.