Monday 20 February, 2023, by Oli Masters
Salcombe enjoyed the taste of winners beer for their final away match of the 22/23 season to Old Technicians on Saturday. With a team patched together – literally in some cases, of players playing for some personal pride, team unity and stubbornness they were able to see off an equally determined Plymouth side who played in familiar style that has sometimes been a step too far for the Crabs.
Playing with a strong wind in the first half Salcombe raced into a 14 nil lead, both scored in a similar neat fashion by Full Back Schalk Herselman both in the same corner and both after some hard running by the Crab Pack. Salcombe had opportunities to further this lead but for some penalty decisions not going their way and allowing the tech’s to escape and relieve the pressure.
Unfortunately Salcombe could not keep this unrelenting pace going and allowed the home team into the match with a converted try following an odd looking yellow card to flanker Jon Hawtin.
Against the wind in the second half The Crabs tried to play the same intense speed they began the match with but with no subs to bring on the work rate and levels of attrition began to show. One moment of indecision defending a rolling maul allowed the home team to score a second try whose conversion then missed. The reds doubled down and with smart defending, clever exit kicks and general doggedness managed to ensure that a victory that seemed a long a long way off on Thursday morning was assured. As in previous weeks there were certainly tries left unscored but this mattered little on the day as this was a victory based on tenacity and a refusal to stay down even in the face of injuries, fatigue and a partisan home support that offered little encouragement.
Notable performances came from the entire playing squad but particular reference must be made to Sean Harding-Hodder, starting in the back row who pulled out his best game in a Crab short to date. Also in need of special mention is prop Dan Sinnott, made available at late notice (thank you Emma) who put in some thunderous tackles and who along with his front row colleagues had the scrum on the march particularly in the second half. Lastly scrum half Lee Clarke, who on Saturday controlled the pace and direction of the game in a way that frustrated his opposite number all afternoon also weighing in with a vital conversion that ultimately won the match for Salcombe. Man of the Match however went to Herselman an unsung hero of this side who now has as many tries this season as black eyes this week.
The squad would like to thank the supporters that made the unforgiving trip to Weston Mill, Old Techs for their hospitality on their VPs day and also to GHM Salcombe Ltd for the sponsorship of the coach travel that was enjoyed immensely by the squad.
Salcombe play Totnes next week in a re-arranged home match that couldn’t come at a better time for the Crabs who should have a renewed confidence after a tricky run of fixtures and with players returning to fitness ready to fight for their shirt.