Tuesday 24 January, 2023, by Oli Masters
Torquay RFC 2nds stepped in at the 11th hour this weekend after Teignmouth couldn’t raise a side offering plenty of experience to the wider SRFC squad and giving a great opportunity for players to build fitness and try out some new combinations.
The Crabs fielded a squad of 25 for the friendly but this could have easily been 30 plus but for a few injuries which says plenty about the growing nature of the club and its direction of travel.
Salcombe started off playing most of the rugby dominating possession and territory and scored two tries through fly half Eoghan Grace and lock Dom Loomes in quick succession. Watching the tape back the Crabs will see quite how many more tries they left unscored particularly in the first half but credit the stoic last ditch defence by Torquay who did well to thwart a number of attacks.
Half time saw plenty of changes in personnel and positional switches including a club debut to wing Myron Jurkiw after a number of years away from the sport. As the light faded and temperature dropped the game broke down a little with both teams finding hard to string phases together. Salcombe did score another through wing Graham McNicholl dotting down out wide after some great handling in the midfield but couldn’t get the hypothetical (had it been a league match) bonus point they were hunting for. The home team conceded a frustrating late try and had a man sent to the bin with Steve Gatland sensing he was about to play 80 minutes and choosing the yellow card option instead.
On balance more work on’s than positives once the squad have had time to reflect. Profligacy in attack, particularly the first half and the late try against being of note but the value of giving proper game time to such a large player base and using the game as a building block to progress into this weekends fixture against Dartmouth is invaluable.
Notable performances from centre combination Jordan Tebb and the returning Liam Wills looked dangerous every time they got the ball. Front row trio Elliott, Woods and Gatland dominated the scrums and were a nuisance in the loose but Man of the Match went to second row Dan Hepburn who was flawless in the line out and offered himself as a willing runner at every breakdown.
Big thank you to the travelling Torquay team for making sure nearly 40 lads got a game this weekend. Thank you to the club staff and volunteers both in front of and behind the scenes who made sure Two Meads was ready to host a game. Thank you to LV Catering for the players meal and all the supporters who made themselves heard from the touchline. Next week the Crabs visit Dartmouth, recently on a great run of form for what is likely to be an intense fixture and all support would be greatly appreciated.