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Saltash vs Salcombe (36-33)

Tuesday 8 October, 2019, by John Sprague

After a week off last week because of Devonport High School’s inability to raise a team to come to Salcombe, the Crabs were looking forward to their first ever visit to Saltash who have now joined the Devon Merit Table. It promised to be a tough match and so it proved in an entertaining end to end encounter.

Things started well when after 5 minutes the home side knocked on close to their own 22. Salcombe dominant in the scrum through their front row of Sean HH, Toby Woods and Finn Nicholas allowed Jay Hannaford at 8 a comfortable pick up and run before handing on to Charlie Rawlinson  for the run in wide out and the first of his hat trick. Lee Clarke converted a very difficult kick from virtually the touch line for 7-0.

Saltash then pulled themselves together, combining well and helped by poor Crabs tackling they started to put Salcombe to the sword with 3 unanswered tries to move the score on to 19-7 to the home side. Salcombe weren’t helped when Anselm Lally who had been outstanding in defence went off with a damaged shoulder forcing them to bring on their one sub, Max Rawlinson. Max immediately made his presence felt with a great solo effort from 50 metres out shrugging off tackles to score under the posts for 14-19. Just before half time a well won scrum allowed the ball to move quickly through the backs before coming back in to Max Rawlinson for the try, 21-19.

The referee who was consistently  30 metres behind play missed a high tackle on a Crab who thus lost possession. Missed tackles by Salcombe then allowed the home side to regain the lead with an unconverted try, 21-24. Next Lee Clarke, having a good game at 10, made a sharp break and run before slipping a well timed pass to Charlie Rawlinson for the converted try, 28-24 and the 4 try bonus point.     

Saltash then scored a converted try to make the score 28-31 before Woods secured a turnover close to the Saltash line allowing the ball to come to the lurking Charlie Rawlinson for his 3rd try to leave the Crabs 33-31 ahead with 10 minutes remaining. Saltash replied with an unconverted try to bring up the final score and Salcombe then camped on the home side’s line but couldn’t get over, to a great extent their own fault for missing several options to bring in their strike runners at pace.