Thursday 21 September, 2017
Salcombe RFC vs Old Plymothians & Mannamedians
0 – 17
Firstly a huge amount of credit must also go to the senior players and coaches responsible for creating a competitive match day squad that the day before had looked unlikely, we don’t know what was promised, we don’t want to know but thank you.
Despite the loss on Saturday there are some positives to be taken from the display by the Home Side. Especially as Salcombe were under no illusions about the team that was due to arrive, they would be big, physical and direct, exactly had been on each of the four times the previous season that they faced them.
Unusually for Salcombe the home team started strongly and it was several minutes before OPMs had even a sniff of the ball, with direct running and ball retention being a particular strong point. Unfortunately the crabs were not able to make this solid start show in terms of the scoreboard and the first half played out as somewhat of an arm wrestle in the middle third of the pitch. That is aside from a ten minute purple patch from OPMs where they battered the Salcombe try line. Helped by a first yellow card of the season for second row James Cooper they eventually made the pressure show by spinning the ball wide and using the overlap they had created to split the defence and score near the posts (conversion missed).
What followed was more of the same in the second half but with the away side gaining the edge in terms of territory, a lapse in defence also saw their pacey winger carve an angle through multiple tacklers to score out wide (conversion missed) and another try soon after under the posts curtesy of their strong pack (conversion scored). Salcombe had numerous breaks and noticeably gained the upper hand in last 20 minutes, the pack began to disrupt scrums against the head and dominate the contact area and the backs began to exploit gaps in the midfield. This was ultimately to no avail but given the thrown together nature of the playing side assembled massive recognition should go to the whole team who played with heart throughout and fronted up to the last always looking to play positive rugby.
Notable performances from Nick Bidwell, coming out of retirement to play probably more than he was expecting by filling into the second row after an injury to Keiron Clarke who was having a great game himself in his new position. Back row Jack making his debut in the back row was a thorn in the side of OPMs all day long with his abrasive running style and willingness to take the attack to the opposition. Olly Pound again making his debut for the Crabs tackled strongly throughout and even more so having come back on after being patched up. Also a welcome return to Marco Alfano-Rogers and Darren Clarke Jnr each after a few years out, we hope that all the “new boys” felt as welcome as they certainly were. Man of the Match went to Matt Hurst after a masterclass in decision making and controlling the game from Number 8.
With 3 more matches until the league starts proper, it is hoped that the squad can grow in cohesiveness through playing together and training. If ANYONE of any level of experience wants to dust off the boots and join us you will be well received at Two Meads, 7pm Thursday evenings, fantastic facilities and excellent coaching.