Monday 5 September, 2022, by Oli Masters
Salcombe were due to play this match at home but due to the unforgiving nature of the pitch the decision was made to reverse the fixture as Plymouth Argaum had benefited from significantly more rainfall than Two Meads. With this in mind and last week’s disappointment still fresh in the memory, the Crabs were keen to make amends for that lackluster display which was not representative of the effort exerted during pre season.
Salcombe began fiercely finding a defensive rhythm early on and coping admirably with Argaum runners using the steep hill to good effect. Eventually the damn broke and the Plymouth side scored a push over try after several minutes trying. Not to be deterred Salcombe regrouped and made the most of the renewed field position chasing down the restart and setting up camp in the opposition half. Strong running by a returning Matt Hurst and a new look back row of Lake, Clarke and Skipper Cattell they cemented the territorial advantage much to the annoyance of the home team. Despite this strong period of possession Salcombe were unable to trouble the scoreboard with a pattern emerging of the Crabs making an incursion towards the try line, the ball being lost and kicked away only for the Reds to attack again. Eventually however the pressure told, firstly a yellow card for Argaum with Lake’s face being the target of a petulant swinging hand, then from the resulting kick to the corner a number of recycled phases saw Number 8 Cattell run in under the posts going through several tackles. Plymouth responded with a kicked penalty to go a point back in front however shortly thereafter and still with the numerical advantage Salcombe were able to steal possession thanks to an Eoghan Grace Interception, clear up-field and attack the ball. Catching the home team napping Salcombe chased down this kick only to punt it teetering towards the try line, approaching out of sight from the opposite touch line winger Sam Wilkins was able to outpace the defence, scoop up the ball and score on the whistle for half time.
The second half playing down the slope Salcombe dominated much of what followed especially at scrum time with the new look front row of Hurst, Hannaford and Sinnott authoritative in the set play. All that was lacking was just a bit of end product to put the game to bed and finish the job, a kicked penalty from Lee Clarke extended the lead but that was all that was able to be added. Argaum never let up and scored a well worked try in the corner to make the last 10 minutes a very nervy affair albeit one the Crabs well held on to and put to bed the previous weeks anguish.
Whilst far from a perfect performance Salcombe should be happy that they have chalked up a maiden league victory at the first time of asking, correcting some of the wrongs from the previous defeat and with a team dealing with the usual early season unavailability. There were many notable performances with those already mentioned coming to the fore along with the second row pairing of Hepburn and Goodman and the safe hands of veteran full back Mark Parnowski. Man of the match however went to Prop Dan Sinnott playing in his less favored position and with the added responsibility of line out throwing, he rose to the challenge like a pro and never took a backward step.
With the wet weather forecast this week and the head grounds man staking his vast reputation on having the surface playable in a weeks time, Salcombe are set to entertain Paignton 2nds in the league, please come and support your team and help build momentum going into the next stage of the clubs development.