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Totnes vs Salcombe (24-28)

Friday 22 October, 2021, by John Sprague

After a heavy defeat last week Salcombe roared back at Totnes with a well deserved victory over a side they haven’t beaten for many a year. Without exception everyone played well and Coach Eoghan Grace’s hard work on organisation, particularly in defence, shone through.

However man of the match must go to veteran Jonathon Squire playing out of his usual place at no 10 who controlled the game superbly, knowing instinctively when to hold, when to pass long and when to pass short. He was very well served by his no 9 Dave Evans who had a stormer again knowing when to let the ball out and when to recycle to his forwards. With a pair of half backs like this Salcombe always looked comfortable on the ball, not always the case hitherto this season.

Salcombe kicked off up the slope and immediately caused Totnes problems in defence with their speed in the follow up. Re-gaining the ball the forwards with Dan Sinott, John Hawtin and Ben Goodman prominent forced a series of errors from the home side and enabled the Crabs to press on towards the line. Eventually a rolling maul gave Salcombe the try they deserved with Toby Woods making the touchdown. Kieron Clarke then contributed the extras with an excellent kick from wide out.

From the re-start the Crabs once again moved smoothly up field. They were aided in this as Totnes conceded a whole succession of penalties as they were either offside or competing illegally at the ruck while trying to stem the Salcombe tide. From one of these Squire saw a gap and cruised through under the posts for Clarke to convert. 14-0 up in 20 minutes. Inevitably the home side rallied to some extent although they were still hampered by an adverse penalty count. But taking advantage of a yellow card for a Salcombe player, they eventually squeezed over for a try in the bottom corner to make the halftime score 14-5.

Totnes continued to pressure Salcombe at the start of the second half and they got their reward when their hard running no 8 went over for a converted try which was converted to make the score 14-12. This spurred Salcombe into creating some intense pressure in the home side’s half and when the ever lively Dafydd Bonar charged down an attempted clearance kick, the ball bounced loose for Squire to gather at pace and score under the posts to move the score onto 21-12.

This was quickly followed by another converted Salcombe try as the Crabs secured possession and moved the ball to Squire who artfully held the ball a second longer than usual before passing, thus creating a gap for Jordan Tebb to race through for the bonus point 4th converted try and a scoreline of 28-12. A just reward for Tebb who had sparkled all afternoon with a series of crunching tackles on the lively Totnes centres.

Totnes responded with a couple of late tries to get a bonus point to add to their losing bonus point but Salcombe emerged as well deserved winners in a thrilling contest.