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Buckfastleigh vs Salcombe (17-36)

Monday 22 November, 2021, by Oli Masters

Salcombe were able to put together back to back victories this Saturday having beaten Buckfastleigh on their own patch for the first time in many years. Making this feat more impressive was the fact they were able to do so whilst securing a try scoring bonus point thus ensuring maximum points from their trip and making sure their hosts came away with nothing.

The Crabs got off to a flying start with good territory and some slick interplay between centres Jordan Tebb and Liam Wills, sending Tebb over the line leaving a trail of would be tacklers behind him. This would be a familiar theme for the afternoon and the Ramblers will have breathed a sigh of relief when the powerful 12 was sin binned for what was deemed to be a late tackle. This was not before a second Salcombe try curtesy of wing Charlie Rawlinson who was able to beat a host of defenders to a long kick that had settled in goal.

Buoyed by Salcombe being reduced to 14 men Buckfastleigh were able to score their first points of the day when they caught the visitors napping with a quick penalty that no one seemed to recognise until it was too late. Luckily Salcombe were able to negate this score with one of their own, a second from Rawlinson.

Half time saw a resurgence from Buckfastleigh who were able to further take advantage of the discrepancy in numbers with two quick fire tries to make the score 17 – 19 and send a few shock waves through the Salcombe ranks. Thankfully that was as bad as the comeback got. Tebb, now reinstated after his rest, once again forcing his way over the line with another destructive line break eased some worries, as did the addition of back rowers Matt Gibbens and James Lake who made a telling difference from the bench, upping the speed and physicality at the breakdown along with some notable and damaging incursions into opposition territory. Buckfastleigh then began to let poor discipline get the better of them and seemed unable to be able to cope with the renewed vigor the Crabs were playing with. Two yellow cards from the home team preceded a hattrick score from Tebb, again leaving bodies in his wake, and a score by number 8 Keiron Clarke with the last play of the game showing good pace to beat two tackles to score out wide.

This was by no means a perfect performance by Salcombe, there are still plenty of things to work on in training and the Crabs will be dismayed that they let Buckfastleigh claw themselves back into a game that could have been out of sight by half time. Any win however, especially on the road, is to be savored and the structure that has been worked on so hard in training was, for the first time, clearly evident and more importantly directly resulting in tries and points.

Notable performances included centre Wills, the front row combination of Clarke (Snr), Woods and Hannaford and scrum half Evans but the Men of the Match were Jordan Tebb for giving Buckfastleigh a torrid time all afternoon and Dan Hepburn, making his first appearance in the second row who are now unlikely to let him rejoin the backs.