There were a lot of local voices to be heard at “Two Meads” last Saturday, when Dartmouth RFC travelled to play neighbours Salcombe in a league game.
The Riversiders had already filled a 52-seat bus for the trip and many more travelled by car, as the club went for their 16th consecutive league win.
It was also the home side’s Vice Presidents’ and ex players’ day, which boosted the bumper crowd.
This was always going to be a tough game for Dartmouth, as only the week before, Salcombe had inflicted 48 points on Totnes and there is no doubt, the crabs have improved throughout the season.
The game was mostly played in the centre of the pitch with neither team giving an inch.
It appeared that the home sides game plan was to stop Dartmouth playing their running and expansive game, which has seen so many tries this season.
At times Salcombe did succeed with their game plan, however their over eagerness saw them receive two yellow cards for being off side.
Such was the crabs defence, it was some 25 minutes before Dartmouth got on the score board. It was number 4 Myles Churchill, who broke the game line and found himself in open space . He made ground before passing inside to a supporting player, who was certain to score, but the player was high tackled by a Salcombe player resulting in a penalty try being awarded to the visitors. 0-7.
Just before half time, Salcombe’s Lee Clarke kicked a penalty. 3-7.
Straight from the second half kick off Salcombe infringed again and number 10 Sam Churchill added the three points for Dartmouth. 3-10.
On 44 minutes, it was Dartmouth’s turn to give away a penalty and Lee Clarke added another 3 points for the home side.
On 52 minutes, sustained pressure by Dartmouth on the home sides 22 mtrs line, saw a kick go straight to Dartmouth centre Jake Bridgwood, who, using his upper body strength burst through the Salcombe’s defence to score and Sam Churchill added the conversion. 6-17.
Dartmouth were reduced to 13 players in the second half, when Sam Churchill and Lian Hitchcock were sent to the sin bin, but the team held their cool under pressure to win the game.
Final score. Salcombe 6 points. Dartmouth 17 points.
lDartmouth also retained the South Hams 5 handled trophy.
Dartmouth team manager Andrew Tomkinson said after the game: “This was a very, very tough game for us. Salcombe were probably the best team we have faced this season. Hats off to them, they were definitely up for the battle. Despite going down to 13 men at one point through yellow cards, we restricted Salcombe to just two penalties and managed to get a win.
“I thought we had the stronger of the packs today and it was nice to see our whole bench getting a game. We only have six league fixtures left, with some hard games ahead. We will take each game as it comes and must now prepare for the visit of Torquay on February 3.”
Dartmouth Squad who played Salcombe: Ryan Burrows. Tom Clark. Matt Meacock. Myles Churchill. Brogan Taylor.
Lian Hitchcock. Lewis Sharam. Karl Caunter ( C) Billy Colthart.
Sam Churchill. Josh Squires. Jake Bridgwood. Jack Gordon.
Will Bancroft. Richard Lobb. Carl Woodgate. Dec Hammond.
Piers Benjamin, Jaime Kearney.