Wednesday 24 October, 2018, by John Sprague
With the gale at their backs for the start of this match Salcombe kicked off and almost immediately were in trouble. Old Techs gathered the swirling ball safely and then proceeded to throw it around as if it were a balmy autumn day using pace and strength to score wide out. With the almost impossible conversion failing in the gale, still the home side were 5-0 ahead within 2 minutes of the start.
The Crabs rallied and using wind and slope to good effect they pinned the home side down to their own half. Highly competitive at the breakdown Salcombe won a good share of ball and were never seriously threatened again by the Old Techs’ attack. Lee Clarke kicked 2 good penalties, both from some distance and Salcombe had what appeared to be a good try disallowed for an offence that wasn’t obvious to the visiting supporters. The penalty count rose steadily against the Crabs while the home side who were defending desperately did not seem to cause the referee’s whistle much action. At half time then it was 6-5 to Salcombe whose touch line support expected that the next 40 minutes would prove torrid for the Crabs as Old Techs, already dominant in the tight and the line out, took full advantage of the wind.
But it proved not to be as Salcombe’s defense held good. However the ever increasing penalty count against Salcombe took its toll and the score moved on to 6-11 as Old Techs slotted 2 penalties in fairly quick order. Then came the Crabs’ best passage of play as they forced play into the Old Techs 22 and won a scrum. A smart pick up by no8 Max Rawlinson saw him move to the blind side before feeding his brother Charlie on the wing. Making good progress Charlie came inside to avoid being tackled into touch and from the resultant ruck Salcombe won swift posession for Max to get the try wide out. Clarke’s kick narrowly failed but the scores were now level going into the last 20 minutes.
Gradually Old Techs established themselves in Salcombe’s half and went over for a try close to the posts which was converted to give them the lead at 18-11. Salcombe had a number of promising moves snuffed out either by mistakes in handling or by the stream of penalties against them. In the dying minutes of the game Old Techs elected to kick yet another penalty to make the game safe rather than go for the riskier option of going for touch and getting a try.Something of a tribute to the Crabs whom they clearly saw as having the potential to grab another try and force extra time.
Final score then 21-11 to the home side but a very good performance by a lively Salcombe side. Everyone played well but Matt Hurst stood out for the 50 minutes he was on before injury took him off. Toby Woods made his mark when he came on to replace Hurst and Liam Wills was like a brick wall in defense.