TOTNES travelled to Ernesettle Lane in Plymouth last week.The home of Tamar Saracens.
With a wet heavy ground, the game turned into a mud bath. But both teams were prepared to run the ball in slippery conditions.
Tamar had the bigger of the packs, but as seen all season the Totnes 8 matched them with their spirit, heart and tenacity around the field.
In the first 10 minutes it was the home side who dominated play,keeping Totnes pinned in their own half. TOTNES appeared lethargic whilst the home side all wanted a share of the ball. This early pressure resulted in the home side taking the lead with a penalty by Lewis Swatton.
Totnes settled down and came back into the game with the front three of Chris Life, Chunk Readman and Thomas Edmonds forming a strong platform against larger opposition .This enabled quick ball to be released to the three quarters, resulting in some deep in field runs by Jamie Mitchelmore and Jake Orchard.
Totnes should have extended their lead after 25 mins, when after an infringement by the home side, Aaron Buzzy Bartlett at number 9,tapped a quick ball and ran down the touch line before diving over in the corner. The home side complained that the scrum half had been held up and the ball not grounded. As the referee was unsighted, the try was not allowed.
This spurred Totnes on and 5 minutes later, another quick tap by Aaron Bartlett found second row James Razor Ruddock who crashed over the line by the posts. Conversion by Mitchelmore.
This was Totnes's best period of the game with the front row winning good ball and the back row of Steve Chapple and Captain Elliot Browse putting in some superb smothering tackles,starving the opposition of quality ball.
Number 10 Andy Rive kicked a long ball up field which went backwards from a Saracens player, Jamie Mitchelmore was quickly on the loose ball and scooped it up and raced off to score under the posts. Conversion by Andy Rive 14-3 to Totnes.
There were some lovely touches by veteran prop Chris Life,catching high balls in the centre of the field before releasing to Si Parris and Mitchelmore who then made ground with strong runs.
The larger home forwards tried to batter their way through the Totnes pack, but as seen throughout this season, this didn't work as the visitors tackled like demons and pushed them back.
However, Saracens did grab a try before half time, when their large 2nd row punched a hole in Totnes's back division before releasing the ball to winger Jamie Revell who went over wide out.
Conversion by Swatton. 14-10 Totnes.
Totnes were not to be outdone and came straight back at Saracens. Even in the mud,Totnes were prepared to run the ball.
Number 10 Andy Rive passed a quick short ball to centre Alex Akey Percival who shrugged players off and burst through from 30mtrs to score under the posts.
Alex's try was followed a a jig in the centre of the field to celebrate the recent birth of his son Hugo.Alex later said "That try was for My little boy Hugo"
Andy Rive converted the try 21-10 half time score.
Tamar Saracens came out strongly in the second half and were unlucky not to score after some touchline runs by their winger who was bundled into touch by Totnes players.
Tired legs meant that the home side brought on their reserves in an effort to get back into the match.
Totnes kept to their game plan and an infringement by the home side resulted in Andy Rive kicking a penalty. 24-10 Totnes.
The home side threw everything at Totnes in the last 10 minutes with battering runs slowly making ground. With tired legs and in heavy mud Tamara second row Mike Cox battled over in the corner for a late try.
The match finished a couple of minutes early due to a serious clash of heads between two Saracens players. The Totnes club wish them a speedy recovery.
Final score Tamar Saracens 15. Totnes 24.
Totnes man of the match went to winger Si Paris for his aggression, attack and defence tackling throughout the game.
Totnes's backs coach Mark Binnie said after the game,
Updated 11:26 - 27 Nov 2017 by Dick Evans
"We were always in control today.our ruck defence was much improved from our last outing against Topsham.credit must go to our pack for fronting up and putting in a hard shift against larger opposition. The backs looked solid in defence and also cut some lovely lines of attack.
Akey chewbacky Percival scored a fantastic long range try off first phase ball, so some of the team patterns are starting to show.
We were expecting a hard game today and we were not disappointed. Tamar were well drilled and kept possession for long periods of time. As the pitch conditions deteriorated the whole team had to work hard. In the end we fully deserved our 3rd away win of the season in League Division 1.