Monday 6 March, 2017, by Oli Masters
Salcombe were let down at the weekend by a St Columba and Torpoint side who could not raise a team, fortuitously however wise old head and fixture secretary James Cooper had foreseen that this may be the case by picking up a replacement fixture against an enthusiastic Plymouth Argaum second team.
With conditions that were best described as wintery and on a pitch that would surely benefit the home team, few of the assembled supporters would have envisaged a free flowing game of rugby, Salcombe on the other hand playing with the wind and slope in the first half had other ideas. Almost from the first play the Crabs gained good field position thanks to some direct running by the Salcombe forwards and set up camp in the opposition 22, from here quick ball across the backline sent winger Oli Masters into the corner from close range, Parnowski with the assist and conversion kicked by fly half Lee Clarke. A second try for Masters quickly followed when a scrum on the halfway line was secured and a quick pass from scrum half Prawnwich to Clarke caught the opposition backs asleep by running to the blindside and floating a delightful pass to the grateful Masters who beat his winger to run in from distance, conversion good from Clarke. Try number 3 was scored in the opposite corner when good handling again put the ball along the back line and Argaum ran out of defenders allowing right wing Winterbottom to show great pace to score in the corner, again conversion successful from Clarke.
Salcombe then hit a fallow period when Arguam threatened to capitalise on poor Salcombe discipline and wayward passing to generate some momentum, this was concerning as it was imperative for the away side to build as bigger lead whilst playing down the slope and with the wind as possible. After a bit of arm wrestle in the middle of the park, Salcombe re-grouped, turned the ball over and launched a counter attack then kicking and chasing deep into the Argaum half. The attacking crabs lined up ready for the next phase only to see the versatile Bidwell this week playing at number 8 pick up the ball, scamper over the top of the ruck and proceed to do a little hop and skip on his way to the try line for Salcombe’s 4th try and Clarke’s 4th successful conversion from out wide suggesting whatever he had for breakfast that morning went straight to his kicking boot. The last play of the half saw sustained pressure from the crab forwards saw the lithe and agile figure of Secretary Cooper slide through a small gap to dot down and give Clarke a chance for an easy 5th conversion which he duly missed. The half time score was 0-33 but would it be enough?
The second half was full of attrition but the crabs stuck to the game plan in increasingly worse conditions and it is to their credit that they managed to stop all but a questionable penalty try at around the hour mark for which flanker Roberts was given a 10 minute rest not long after coming on as a substitute. By not kicking away ball which would have been futile under the circumstances Salcombe even managed to grab a 6th try when dynamic running from centres turned flankers Davey and Moran and hooker Neil Hannaford eventually gained sufficient territory and secured a penalty which went to the corner. The ensuing line out was secured and Cooper was shoved over by a pair of Troupes, conversion missed. The final score was 38 – 7 with the rest of the playing squad comprising of Julian, Sinnott, Juknys, debutant Turvey and Man of the Match Liam Wills. Thanks and to Plymouth Argaum for accepting the fixture at late notice and credit to them for fielding such a competitive second team when their firsts were engaged elsewhere.
Next week sees the conclusion of Salcombe’s league season at home to a Plymouth Victoria on Crabs’ Vice-Presidents day, with league position consolidated and no chance of bettering it the home side will be looking to sign of the league in style and prove that the recent trend of heroic defeats can be turned into rousing victories.