Monday 5 December, 2016, by Oli Masters
After the success of facing Plymouth Victoria earlier in the summer in a midweek evening kick off, SRFC hosted a Dartmouth club 15 only this time to play under the flood lights. This was to be somewhat of a training match between the two sides with the emphasis on as many people getting as much game time as possible focussing on those who haven’t featured quite as much as they would like during regular season fixtures. To this end it is a testament to the hard work of the coaches and phone/face book skills of captain Mark Parnowski that Salcombe were able to field such a competitive and capable squad, something that would not have been possible in previous seasons and few would have thought possible at the outset of this. The game itself was a little short in quality with a lot of balls hitting the deck but that really wasn’t the point of the exercise with both teams fielding a combination inexperienced/out of position players or those returning from injury and in the end the spirit in which the game was played was to be applauded with little negativity from either side.
The 0-0 deadlock was broken a short way into the second half when replacement second row Kieron Clarke decided to go rogue off of the back of the ruck and fed centre Masters who beat two tacklers for his 4th try of the season (conversion missed). Salcombe then thought they had doubled their lead when prop Sinnott crashed over the line only to have his first senior try erased from the history books for being held up by the covering tackle, the jury is out on whether the ball was grounded depending on who you listen to but regardless of some loud protestations the try was not awarded. From here the game looked like it was to remain a single score match but some slack defending from the home side allowed the Dartmouth prop to take a quick tap penalty and with backs turned until it was too late, touch down close to the corner (conversion missed). Salcombe rallied at this point thanks to the older and more experienced heads of Windsor, the still poorly Wills and crafty veteran Drew (complete with shiny red scrum hat) now playing in the back row and played out the majority of the rest of the match in Dartmouth’s half, eventually doing well to gain a kickable penalty. This was duly kicked by fly half L. Clarke under considerable pressure from the home crowd and vocal travelling support, making the score 8 -5 which was how it remained. Notable performances from marauding number 8 Lowry, captain for the night Elliott and the very welcome return of Ian Smerdon and Steven Gatland whom Salcombe hope to have playing for them again soon. Thanks also Dartmouth and Salcombe supporters who braved the cold and gave the match some welcome atmosphere.