Monday 3 October, 2022, by Oli Masters
Salcombe ended a barren try scoring run against Newton Abbot 2s on Saturday but despite a valiant second half effort were unable to take the victory against the strong home side.
The Crabs who were slightly depleted in number were still able to field a powerful team and hopes were high to return to winning ways at a venue that had not been visited for some time. Salcombe even took the lead after a few minutes when Flanker Gibbens received the ball out wide inside his own half, weaved inside and out of the covering defence to race clear and score the first try.
Unfortunately despite some nice passages with the wind against them the Crabs were unable to assert much authority on the rest of the half. The opportunistic Newton team poached off of some Salcombe mistakes and scored 4 unanswered tries including one on the closing whistle to make it 22 – 5 at the break.
Salcombe changed up the mindset and doubled the intensity in the second 40 bringing themselves back into the contest with 15 minutes to go via a try from Prop Jay Hannaford bursting over for 5 points following great ball retention from the pack close to the Newton line. Frustratingly the home side got a score back of their own immediately following the restart which is an area Salcombe will look to work on in the coming weeks. Not to be put off however and seeking to make amends Salcombe piled forward and in similar circumstances to the second try number 8 Rhys Cattell was able to finish strongly through the try line defence. The Crabs were unable to get the 4th try for a bonus point and the match finished 29 – 15 leaving the travelling reds thinking what could have been but for a couple of moments at the end of either half. Despite the score-line this was a closer match that it may appear on paper and the Crabs will lick their wounds and come back stronger at Two Meads against what was today a slightly more streetwise team that clearly enjoyed the benefit of a couple of the club’s more established players.
As always notable performances were across the team, John Hawtin playing at hooker for the day stepped up in an unfamiliar position to lead from the front, Number 8 Cattell once again was a constant thorn in the side of the home team with an without the ball, centre Liam Wills was a defensive rock and chipped in with several turnovers but the Man of the Match goes to Matt Gibbens, not least for a fine individual try but also leading the stats in tackles and meters made ball in hand.
Salcombe travel to Plymouth Argaum next week for the second time this season for a cup game and will hope build on what they learned in their previous meeting last month before a well timed week off mid month.