Thursday 26 January, 2017, by John Sprague
This game away to the clear table toppers in the league was always going to be tough and injuries and some dodgy non availability calls only made it tougher. Thus the Crabs turned up with only 2 substitutes against Dartmouth who have recruited widely and well from the discontented second teamers from the big teams in the Torbay area. They have therefore managed to put together a fine team with a big athletic pack and some hard running backs to combine in a style where back up and offloading are key.
Faced with this Salcombe dug deep in terms of commitment and were as far removed from the team which lost a winnable game the previous week as it is possible to imagine. Big hits were made and very few tackles were missed and as ever leading from the front was captain Mark Parnowski playing out of position at centre. In one short passage of play alone he made six tackles and his total count must have been huge. With the ball in hand he looked dangerous and in view of the long term injury to Oli Masters he showed that he can cover the centre position comfortably for the rest of the season.
In the pack the stand out players were Matt Hurst and the brothers Troupe. Hurst playing at no 8 coped excellently in the set scrum with a scrambled ball arriving as his pack was being driven back. He judged well when to let Marcus Bromwich at scrum half have it and when to protect him by taking the ball himself and ploughing forward into contact. Martyn Troupe was his usual belligerent self making good ground with the ball in hand and tackling hard while brother John battled hard all game against his large opponent and made an impact around the field.
Dartmouth rattled up 4 unanswered tries inside 31 minutes to post a 24-0 scoreline. But at this point the Crabs had their best period and a run from Lee Clarke at 10 and Parnowski took play up to the Dartmouth 22 where the home side infringed at the break down. Good work by Neil Elliott, Troupe and Jay Hannaford took play to within 5 metres of the try line when the home side infringed again. A quick tap to the forwards saw Richard Culley storm over the line for the try. Lee Clarke then converted with a magnificent kick from the touch line. This was followed by pretty constant Crabs pressure but no further points in the half.
The second half was rather a repeat of the first but without another try for Salcombe while Dartmouth added another three. In this period Salcombe lost Mark Valance at full back to a hamstring injury and Liam Turvey to a bang on the neck. This brought Craig Julian into full back and Chris Drew to 2nd row, both of whom promptly made their presence felt. Julian caught everything kicked at him returning with interest and Drew gave the Crabs another option in the lineout. However no matter how many tackles Salcombe put in, Dartmouth usually had men over to take the ball on and the full time score ended up at 45-7 to Dartmouth.
This week Salcombe welcome Devonport High School Old Boys to Twomeads, ko 2.30 pm which will be preceded by an ex players lunch at 1.30, metting up beforehand at 12.00