Monday 21 October, 2019, by Ollie MastersSalcombe were looking to return to winning ways on Saturday after two defeats and two cancelled fixtures and as far as the result goes that’s exactly what they did. Salcombe scored 4 tries to OPM’s 1 but the game was a lot closer than that statistic makes out with the visitors enjoying more first half territory and possession and tellingly punishing every Salcombe infringement with 3 points from their very able goal kicker.
In fact Salcombe were 6 nil down before registering a meaningful attack, when they did however it was clinical with an efficient scrum and consequent breakdown giving quick ball to Liam Wills via Marcus Bromwich to score the first try of the game. Again however another Salcombe indiscretion from the restart gave OPM’s a penalty near the half way which the visiting fly half duly slotted. The reply this time was decisive, good territorial kicking from the Crabs set up a ruck on the visitors 5 meter line, Dafffyddd Bonar moved the contact closer to the posts generating very quick ball which was cleverly worked to Charlie Rawlinson backing his pace to power over the line, which is fortunate given the overlap.
Salcombe making a raft of changes at half time, including full debuts to Centre Jordan Tebb and fly half Adam Fisher and a home debut to Elliot Myatt, dominated the third quarter but were not able to effect the scoreboard despite what looked like a perfectly good try from second row Martyn Troupe being ruled out. During this period OPMs grew in frustration having two players sent to the bin for loosing their temper, the second resulting penalty gave Salcombe a line out close to the try line, the forwards pooled around each other set up a powerful driving maul only for stand in captain and hooker Toby “Flood” Woods to scamper the last 10 meters down the blind side himself to set up a difficult conversion.
As the match went into the last 20 minutes the Plymouth team hit back as Salcombe seemed to fall off the pace and critically some tackles as well, this allowed the OPM’s full back to score out wide, which the in form 10 fortuitously missed the conversion from. This made the score 15 – 14 and was to set up a tense last period. Nerves were calmed briefly when Man of the Match, Number 8 Marco Alfano – Rogers picked up an errant opposition lineout and raced home from half way and guarantee at least the 4 try bonus point. The last 10 minutes were a nervy affair especially with the Crabs being reduced to 14 from a particularly harsh looking yellow card but ultimately their defence held out and the victory and the full 5 points were secured.
Salcombe will look to build on this hard fought victory and OPMs will pose questions for other teams in the merit table with performances like this one, although it would be interesting to assess their squad when their first team has a fixture. Work in the meantime will look towards the local derby next week against Kingsbridge but the Crabs will be buoyed by this win along with the quality that the new players who have already fitted in well have added.