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Torrington v Salcombe (20-31)

Monday 7 March, 2022, by Oli Masters

The Crabs made the long trip to North Devon in search of delivering the type of performance that has alluded them in recent weeks.
A low scoring first half wasn’t exactly the plan especially when Salcombe had the sizeable slope in their favor but failed to properly take advantage of it. Frustration began to set in leading to yellow card for flanker DDAffid B©nnarrr who picked the biggest opposition player to have a disagreement with leaving the referee little option but to send them both off for 10 minutes. The home side then took the lead with a penalty but this was instantly countered through a try by Jon Squire who stripped the ball from the restart and sprinted home to score. Again frustration set in when Torrington scored a try for themselves on the stroke of half time to make the score 10 – 7.

Salcombe had some work to do in the second half with the aim of righting some wrongs and sorting out what was becoming a crippling discipline problem. The Crabs began well with a great flowing move seeing new signing Will Oram scoring on debut, finishing by beating half a dozen defenders then casually stepping the final tackler to score under the sticks. Torrington then scored an unconverted try to make the score 15-14 with fifteen minutes to go. Another Lee Clarke penalty took the lead back for Salcombe then a score from number 8 Keiron Clarke appeared to settle some nerves. Once again however the determined home side bit back with another try (conversion unsuccessful) to make it 20 – 24 with a few minutes left to play. Salcombe needed to control the play in these few remaining minutes and began well but coughed up possession whereby Torrington began to attack out of their half, only for suspected head injury to a Salcombe player forcing a halt to their play. The resulting scrum was then pounced on by the much re-arranged crab pack with the referee giving a penalty, good territory was made before a further scrum was given to Salcombe just outside the Torrington 22. The scrum was again dominant despite new players in unfamiliar positions and gave a solid base for Keiron Clarke to pick the ball, spot a gap and stretch his legs for the line wrong footing the full back along the way (conversion successful). This bonus point try was to be the last of the game which at times looked like either team could win.

Salcombe played the much better rugby but time and time again were let down by ill- discipline and at times questionable individual decision making. Oddly it was only when the game descended through injuries to a more unstructured and chaotic game did Salcombe make good on what they had at times threatened but never properly executed. In this sense, the hunt for a real complete performance goes into another week but for now, with the momentum of a draw and two wins on the spin, should build confidence going into next week against Barry Cup rivals Buckfastleigh.

Notable performances were from new full back Oram who looked threatening every time he got on the ball, John Hawtin who stepped up to play Scrum Half for the final 10 minutes when options were thin on the ground and likewise Dan Sinnott, putting himself into the front row when called upon and proving his versatility and effectiveness. Man of the match however went to Keiron Clarke who had easily his best game of the season despite only having 9 toes.

The playing squad would like to thank the vocal and exuberant travelling support, Nigel Favis for the sponsorship of the coach for the players and said support. Salcombe would also like to thank Torrington RFC for being exceptional hosts and proving that if you look in the right places grass roots rugby and the spirit of the clubhouse is still alive and well.