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Plymton Victoria vs Salcombe (10-39)

Sunday 9 December, 2018, by John Sprague

Despite the result and scoring 7 tries Salcombe were not a patch on their normal selves against a lively home side who always looked in the game and competed fiercely.

Playing against the strong wind and up the slope the Crabs started by making a mess of receiving the kick off and found themselves having to have a scrum on their own 5 metre line with Plym Vic having the put in. Somehow the defence held and gradually Salcombe moved up to their own 22. Quick ball worked its way out to George Parnowski who then made over 50 metres to set up a series of rucks to take the ball up to the line. Eventually the pressure counted and prop Nick Trant burst over for the try for 5-0. With the wind making kicking difficult Lee Clarke converted only 2 of the 7 tries though all attempts were commendably close.

Salcombe once again found themselves defending deep in their own half and having to resist constant pressure form Plym Vic. But once again Salcombe worked their way up the pitch, won a scrum on half way to enable Clarke to feed full back Charlie Rawlinson who showed just how dangerous he is by outpacing the defence to touch down wide out. This was swiftly followed by a classic Salcombe backs move allowing Kieron Clarke to muscle his way over for the first converted try of the match. Liam Wills at centre, always highly competitive in the tackle, then won a great turnover and with the ball coming to Marco Alfano- Rogers the flanker shrugged off opposition tackles for a try which was quickly followed by another from Rawlinson. In between Plym Vic had put over a penalty to make the half time score 27-3 to the Crabs.

What happened then to Salcombe is a mystery. Turning round with the 4 try bonus point already in the bag and the wind and slope in their favour they lost all urgency. The half started brilliantly with Kieron Clarke gaining possession of his brothers re-start, feeding Wills who carved his way through the opposition to bring the score up to 34-3. An avalanche of scores was expected but instead the home side came at the Crabs with renewed vigour and generally had the best of the half. Salcombe dropped passes, missed tackles and with the ball in hand often couldn’t decide whether to offload  or take the contact. The result was often a floppy attempt at a pass which either went forward or was picked up by the opposition. Plym Vic put together a series of pick and goes and got a well deserved try under the sticks to make the score 34-10. In the dying move of the game a ruck on the home sides line saw the formidable partnership of Trant and Matt Hurst collectively put the ball down for the final try to bring up the final score.

While a win is a win and Salcombe were without a couple of key players, the drop in intensity against a weak side is a fault that must be overcome. Against a better side it could be disastrous.