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South Molton v Salcombe (43-7)

Monday 14 February, 2022, by Oli Masters

It was a tough day at the office for Salcombe this weekend, out muscled at times and outsmarted at others it was largely a sobering experience for the playing squad in a game a few people thought might provide an upset.

Those thoughts were dispelled in the first 10 minutes with Molton scoring a couple of good tries and generally having the running of the game using the sloping pitch well to their advantage. The Crabs did manage to fix the scrum problems they found in the early exchanges which is to their credit and did start to exert some influence on the proceedings. However it was largely a case of one step forward two steps back as with every Crab incursion (of which there were several) eventually being snuffed out and the ball returned in the opposite direction with interest. Molton wrapped up the bonus point before half time aided in part by a numerical advantage thanks to a yellow card to a Salcombe winger for a deliberate knock on, there was a strong claim that the ball went backwards with video footage to be reviewed this week.

Half time saw a regroup and with the slope the Crabs did well to lay some foundations for a much stronger showing. Powerful running by the forwards and much better tactical kicking meant that the second half was one that the travelling Crabs could take far more positives from and even though the home team were able to add another couple of scores to their total they would have undoubtedly been targeting a cricket score. Salcombe even managed to get on the board themselves, a big carry from a 5 meter penalty was helded up short of the line but quick thinking saw the play switched to the blind side and after a deft pass from the first receiver the earlier yellow carded winger was able to cut a neat line and power over, hopefully going some way to atoning for the earlier indiscretion.   

Man of the match went to Rhys Cattell, his powerful and allusive running style, particularly in the second half laid the groundwork for much of the positive play that Salcombe were able to put together. Credit too the crab pack who after fixing the early scrum issue were able to go toe to toe in the set piece from there on in. Big thankyou also to the travelling supporters, the playing squad really do appreciate the encouragement both home and away.

All of the travelling squad will come away from this fixture with a sense of frustration, frustration that they were never really in the game, that they allowed the score board to flatter an extremely capable South Molton team but ultimately because Salcombe have aspirations to be better than they were on the day. Perhaps this shows the mentality and ambition now but after the highs of 3 victories on the spin in January, February is now proving a steep learning curve and one that Salcombe will have to adapt to as it doesn’t get any easier next week when they take on an equally ambitious Tamar team.