Monday 24 January, 2022, by Oli Masters
The Crabs maintained their unbeaten year with a somewhat scrappy victory over Plymouth Argaum at Twomeads on Saturday. Having been comprehensively beaten in the reverse fixture in October Salcombe were in no position to take their opponents lightly but fresh off of victories over other Plymouth rivals confidence was high.
Perhaps this confidence was to blame for a somewhat uncharacteristically sluggish start that saw the home side slip behind 3 points to 8. Argaum had some big runners and they knew how to use them effectively but Salcombe having weathered an early storm managed to find some gaps in the midfield whilst heavy pressure from the mobile Crab pack forced mistakes from the visitors. These mistakes were punished first by fly half Jon Squire followed shortly by centre Jordan Tebb to take the lead 15 – 8. With their tails up Salcombe bagged a third try by launching an opportunistic attack out of their own 22. Quick hands by centres Tebb and Wills released winger Sam Wilkins who beat his opposite man on the outside and like a bat out of hell flew down the wing outpacing the covering defenders and scoring out wide in order to give the Crab goal kicker some practice from the left hand side.
A second try from Squire to wrap up the bonus point before half time sent Salcombe into the break with a commanding lead. Credit therefore must go to the visitors who began the second half how they began the first, using their big strike runners to good effect and pulling themselves back into the game with 3 unanswered tries. This nearly levelled the game at 29 – 23 with only 3 successful conversions making the difference. However with less than 10 minutes left to run on the clock Squire grabbed his hattrick by kicking ahead a dropped ball and scoring under the posts. This somewhat took the wind out of the Plymouth teams sails and Salcombe negotiated the last few minutes winning the match 36 - 23 thus denying Argaum a losing bonus point.
This is another stand out win for Salcombe again, as in the last few weeks, against a team that traditionally has the Crab’s number. It says a lot about the new standards that have been set that despite the win an air of frustration was evident and the coaching team will have much to review and put right this week when they take on local rivals Totnes at home.
Notable performances from flanker Jon Hawtin who controlled much of the breakdown and was a constant thorn in the sides of the visiting pack, team top try scorer Jon Squire for his second 3 try haul of the season and to Darren Clarke who showed that size is no match for technique and experience. Man of the match however went to the youngster Wilkins not only for opening his account for the year but looking like he was playing with a new found confidence dominating the territory over his opposite man.
Big thanks to Nick LV from LV catering for the after match meal, the ladies who coordinated the raffle and the dinner service, the Little Nippers for their colorful and vocal support before and during the game and to Argaum who deserved their 4 try bonus point and ran Salcombe too close for comfort. Thank you also to the supporters who numbered over 100, their ongoing encouragement is making a huge difference to the boys on the pitch, most of which are not used to such a crowd reaction and are really beginning to get a taste for it.