Monday 13 December, 2021, by Oli Masters
For the second time in 8 days Salcombe played an ambitious Exeter team with their sights on the top of the table. This time the Crabs faced Exeter Saracens who until recently were leading the way in number 1 spot and would have their eye on Two Meads as a potential bonus point victory.
Unlike the previous week however Salcombe came out of the starting blocks in a way that has now set the standard for future games. Its fair to say that in attack Salcombe found it tough going, a few incursions aside it was their defensive effort that led the way this week and they proved that even without the ball territory can be gained through sheer ferocity in the tackle.
A marker was laid down early for the standard of tackle when the Exeter full back decided to run straight into David Evans who stopped him in his tracks with a resounding thud. From here the crabs never let up on the level of physicality and taking their cue from the deceptive scrum half each took it upon themselves to put their body where it ought not be and bring the match to a very young and capable Saracens team. It says a lot about the standard of defence when twice in quick succession the visitors opted to kick for goal rather than try and breach the watertight Salcombe line. So attritional was the match that stand out moments are hard to put into writing such was the team effort physically and on a different day in different conditions the score line may have been reversed. As it was however Exeter were good for the win but once again such was the level of respect for Salcombe was demonstrated that they kicked a third and final penalty with the last kick of the game knowing the previous 80 minutes of running into brick walls had been fruitless.
Notable performances are too numerous to mention and some players will have taken away career defining matches from Saturday that even in defeat they can be very proud of. Had Salcombe of managed to get the victory I would provide a whole squad list but will save that for another day.
Man of the match went to Dan Sinnott in the second row who put in a shift that has now become his own personal benchmark of what he is capable of on the pitch. This should now act as a turning point for Salcombe to begin to attack those teams considered bigger than themselves and who may be above them in the league. The yardstick of performance has been raised and the Crabs have now proved that they are able to live amongst these teams and not simply make up the numbers.
Big thankyous go to the vocal crowd who once again turned out to support in weather that was less than kind, LV Catering for the after match meals, Exeter Saracens for a hell of a match and demonstrating the correct way to prepare a crustacean. Thank you to the ladies selling raffle tickets and providing the dinner service, the bar staff and lastly to Mr & Mrs Woods for preparing and arranging the SRFC Christmas meal, it was a belter.