Monday 14 November, 2022, by John Sprague
As predicted this was a much tougher test for Salcombe than their 3 previous matches. Old Techs just 3 points behind the Crabs in the table came with a strong squad including some of Plymouth’s well known Fijian community, famous for throwing the ball around and for the strength of their tackling.
So the game started at a fast pace with both sides looking impressive both in attack and defence and for a while it was difficult to see who might come out on top. Both almost scored and for Salcombe a great run by Rhys Cattell got Salcombe into the Old Techs 22. His pass to Jon Squire was inch perfect but the centre was stopped by firm defence and the Old Tech’s cover took care of the Crabs’ wing to whom he had passed.
But that had set up field position for Salcombe who battered away at the Old Tech’s defence without reward. However in defending the Plymouth side conceded penalty after penalty until eventually a Salcombe drive for the line saw the impressive Dom Loomes at second row go over for the try which Lee Clarke converted for a 7-0 lead. The Crabs, who had been winning the tight play, now started to dominate in the loose with the back row of Rhys Catell, James Lake and Kieron Clarke prominent. However the Old Techs defence held good under increasing Salcombe pressure. Clarke missed a difficult penalty and second row Ben Goodman, a real presence in the line out, had to go off with a nasty looking shoulder injury and at half time the score remained at 7-0.
The second half started with a bang as Old Techs kicked off more or less straight to Jon Squire who ran 60 metres at a pace the defence hadn’t expected evading several tackles on the way to dot down wide out. The conversion failed but Salcombe were 12-0 ahead. Salcombe were now getting a stream of ball and pressed relentlessly allowing Toby Woods to finish off a classic lineout drive move to move the score on to 17-0 with the conversion again failing.
The visitors who had been defending strongly throughout now showed that they too could pull off the well worn take and drive from the lineout touching down wide out and converting with the best kick of the match for 17-7. Looking for the bonus point try Salcombe moved the ball well before it ended up with Catell who shrugged off a couple of tackles to score under the posts and bring the final tally to 24-7.
This was not an easy win for Salcombe who stuck to their game plan and kept their shape throughout. All credit to Eoghan Grace for his coaching of the side. They face even sterner tests in the next few weeks with Topsham and Paignton away and Tamar Saracens, league leaders, at home. But as long as they play as well as this they need fear no team in the league
Next week is a rest week before Topsham and Paignton away on successive weeks and then Tamar Saracens at home on 12 December and Totnes at home on 17 December. Come along and watch the Crabs.