Tuesday 5 November, 2019, by Ollie MastersThose spectators that braved the wind and rain on Saturday afternoon were treated to a typically full blooded and physical local derby with both local bragging rights but more importantly Merit Table points offer.
Salcombe were able to get the best of the initial exchanges with sustained possession leading to a penalty kick inside the Kingsbridge half which was dispatched by scrum half Lee Clarke. This led to Kingsbridge coming back into the game especially on the ground where their larger pack began to dominate the Crab forwards at ruck time. Despite this the visitors were still able to extend their lead when probing kick from versatile number ten Drew was not dealt with by the covering defenders under heavy pressure from chasing winger Sam Wilkins, this led to the loose ball being pounced on at speed by Archie Trevarthen who in turn fed Tony Woods to evade cover tackles and run in from 20 yards.
Kingsbridge dealt with this set back by turning the screw on the visiting Crabs and were it not for some last ditch and resolute defending (some legal, some not) they would have surely reduce and possibly overturned the deficit that they found themselves with. As it was the home team were able to capitalise on a man advantage after one of many penalties produced a yellow card for the away team and a converted try for the hosts. With the half time score 7 – 10, the home team in the ascendency and the storm seemingly abated the game was well poised for a good second half.
Salcombe with some fresh legs started the game as they started the first half and Clarke was unlucky to see another penalty rebound off of the posts after a good spell of pressure. A subsequent scrum deep into the Kingsbridge half saw perhaps the moment of the match when the Salcombe forwards secured the ball off of a scrum, kept hold for another phase generating quick ball for Clarke to draw a defender and feed centres Williamson and Wills who each drew their man before giving perfectly timed passes in order to create a narrow space for winger Masters to dive into the corner for an unconverted try.
The last 20 minutes was an arm wrestle largely contested in the middle third of the pitch with neither team able to convert any meaningful territory into points aside from a penalty apiece to make the final score 10-18. Whilst they will obviously be pleased with the deserved and hard fought win Salcombe will feel that there is much to work on with far too many penalties conceded (especially in the first half) and decision making coming into question once Kingsbridge started using their superior size in the contact areas. There were notable performances from Drew, second row Troup, prop Hannaford and Keiron Clarke who was welcomed back from injury after a long lay off but Man of the Match went hooker Woods who earned his Paella with an accurate showing in the line out and an industrious display in the loose capped with a try.