Tuesday 15 March, 2022, by Oli Masters
Salcombe maintained their unbeaten run with victory over a stubborn Buckfastleigh team in some very trying conditions at Two Meads this Saturday.
They got off to the perfect start with a set piece move seeing number 8 Keiron Clarke pick the ball from the base of the scrum, wrong foot the cover tackle and angle in under the posts (conversion successful). Things got even better when in a similar position Salcombe ran the same move but this time with the defenders wise to the marauding Clarke he wisely passed the ball neatly to returning scrum half Charlie Rawlinson appearing out of nowhere to double the lead.
With the strong wind aiding their progress Salcombe kept the pressure on and spent most of the 1st half camped in the Buckfastleigh half, frustratingly however seemingly without the tools to unpick the resilient travelling defence. With time running out and with it the advantage of the wind Salcombe scored a third on the stroke of half time, this was after some good build up play that saw the ball go from touch line to touch line eventually finding the grateful Clarke on the wing to gallop home for his second of the game.
The second half was far more even with the visitors getting an early try making the most of the wind to gain territory and finishing well after a half break close to the line.
The Crabs did their best to play a more expansive game as the wind made kicking the ball an unattractive and unpredictable option, this made for some attractive rugby but once again a cutting edge was lacking and more than once overlaps and opportunities to score went by the wayside. With ten minutes to go however Man of the Match Clarke completed his hattrick with a powerful surge over the line from line out in the Buck’s 22. The game finished without further score and once again left the home team with some mixed feelings. Undoubtedly the win was deserved but the feeling was that a marker was there to be laid and with a number of tries left out on the pitch the performance and scoreline of a truly dominant display still evades this growing team. That said a number of wrongs in previous weeks were vastly improved upon, the penalty count which has been crippling Salcombe in recent weeks was astonishing and discipline incredible especially in the first half when they didn’t actually concede a penalty. The Scrum which has been a cornerstone of Salcombe’s good work this year was yet again a powerhouse even in the face of some key players being unavailable. There is just one or two questions that when solved will make this Crab side truly dangerous.
Notable performances were numerous in the forwards and in scrum half Rawlinson but Man of the Match could go to no one else but Keiron Clarke who seems to have added a new dimension to his game and is playing with real confidence that will be invaluable in the closing weeks of the season.
Salcombe would like to thank as always Nick LV for the post match meal, the ladies doing the raffle and all of the support on a day that did not lend itself to being outside. A well deserved weekend off is coming up this week before Salcombe take on local rivals Dartmouth in a “friendly”, time to rest up, heal and prepare for the end of season run in that will not get any easier.