Monday 9 January, 2017, by Oli Masters
Salcombe returned to winning ways on Saturday with a convincing and entertaining display against an out of sorts St Columba team whose league form appeared to be showing a tough season. Having not won in the league since November the Crabs were desperate to fulfil some of the potential that recent narrow defeats had promised but equally alive to the fact that on paper at least their opponents had out ranked them in the league for a number of years before going into this season. With that in mind it was essential to lay down an early marker and take the game to the visitors, this came to bare after 5 minutes of early pressure when the referee awarded Salcombe a penalty 10 meters out from the St Columba try line, a quick penalty was taken by winger Masters who laid off to evergreen hooker Elliott who burrowed over the line for the first score of the day – conversion missed. A second try came in quick succession from returning flanker Hopkins who collected the ball from a disrupted scrum then used his pace to slice through the defence and cross to double the lead, again the conversion going wide. The following restart was then gathered by centre Davey who beat a number of defenders before offloading to Skipper Parnowski who in turn passed to number 8 Lowry on the 22 who shook off a would be tackler before diving over the line. Salcombe secured the try scoring bonus point before 30 minutes were played in a similar fashion to the last but this time the forwards providing the handling skills through Sinnott and Troup before once again supplying Lowry for another marauding run down the touch line for his second.
Salcombe seemingly with the points In the bag took their foot of the pedal for ten minutes, this included a yellow card for prop J. Troup who was clearly not paying close enough attention to the referee during his pre match briefing on the new tackling laws! The Crabs did well to galvanise at that point, seemingly rallying to make up for the loss of a player and scored another 2 tries through winger Clarke coming off of his wing to score near the posts (conversion Drew) and a second for Elliott who showed every one of his years of experience to pop up on the left wing to make the score 32 – nil at half time.
The second half saw the visitors get more into the game with a period of sustained pressure. This was only kept out by some resolute and disciplined defence by Salcombe in particular, forwards Cooper and Hannaford in the tight and centre Wills who repeatedly snuffed out any Torpoint attack before it began. Nevertheless it was another 15 minutes before the home team were able to wrestle the ball from the visitors and re-establish their control of the game. Eventually the home team increased their lead thanks to some good territory from a penalty and a driving maul from the resulting line out meant that the ageless Elliott was able to bring up his hat-trick controlling the ball at the back then pouncing over the line. This was quickly followed by a charge down from Masters on the opposing full back which conveniently rolled over the try line for him to drop on making the score 42-0 with 10 minutes to play. A second hat-trick of the day came when Lowry took a crash ball in the centre to the dismay of the unenthusiastic defenders to score with a few minutes left of the game, there was time enough remaining however to pass the 50 point mark when a sweeping move sent Masters over in the corner for his second of the day which was converted by L. Clarke on what was apparently a tricky day for the goal kickers.
Man of the match awards went to Hat-trick scorers Elliott & Lowry and to second row Cooper for work rate at the breakdown and impressive tackle count which was instrumental in stopping St Columba scoring.
That Salcombe needed a win was an understatement, performances have been improving since the disheartening home defeat to Dartmouth in November but attention should now quickly turn to this weekend’s home fixture against a Buckfastleigh team whom they should have beaten earlier in the season but for poor discipline and decision making. Despite the encouraging win on Saturday this will be the real test of Salcombe’s improvement and form and the Crabs would welcome any and all support from the crowd come kick off.