Your first sight of the score-line of the Titans’ game last Saturday against near-neighbours, Clifton, would probably cause you to think that it was a really close, nail-biting game with Titans emerging 42-48 winners of a really close scrap. In fact, had it not been for some refereeing largesse towards the end of the game, the Titans were always looking good for their victory and although Clifton threw everything at the Taunton boys down the slope in the second half they never quite had the wherewithal to wrest the spoils and the Titans came away with a gratifying five-point bonus point win.
A slightly shuffled team was named by coach, Tony Yapp, due to late illness but the Titans began with real purpose and within 20 minutes had established a 21-0 lead with tries by Jarrad Hayler and Nick Mason(2), all converted by full back replacement, Sam Brown. Although Clifton made their mark with two converted tries towards the end of the half, the Titans responded with two of their own through Sam Brown and Ollie Rice and with one of those being converted by Brown the Titans went in at the break 33-14 in front and looking good value for their lead. Their support play had been excellent and their forwards had outplayed the heavier Clifton pack.
Clifton emerged for the second session, playing down the deceptive slope, with much more purpose, particularly from their pack, who set up a familiar Clifton resurgence, and scored three converted tries before the Titans managed to cross the home sides’ line with a try by that man of steel, Freddie Fraser. Although Clifton had closed the gap to three points (35-38) following a blip from the referee failing to spot an obvious home side knock on, Taunton lifted their skirts, grabbed a seventh try through the admirable Jarrad Hayler, who was named Titans’ Man of the Match sponsored by The County Stores, which was converted by Brown, who then rounded off a real team contribution with a penalty goal which brought his own tally to 18 points. Clifton grabbed another converted try at the death but in truth it was a deserved victory for the Taunton boys which has brought them into real contention for a top two spot in the League with just one point separating 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
This coming Saturday sees the Titans’ returning to their own patch to take on League newcomers, Birmingham/Solihull, who are struggling near the bottom of the table but had a gratifying win themselves last Saturday over Dings Crusaders. This game will be preceded by a carvery lunch hosted by The Friends and sponsored by the club’s main sponsor, Commsplus. The following week(19th) the Titans travel to Canterbury (currently 2nd in the League) in what will be a real humdinger before welcoming over 80 former players to lunch on 26th prior to another important game against London Irish Wild Geese. These really are heady days for the Titans who are intent on pressing onwards with their current impressive form having scored maximum points (25) in the last 5 games and will welcome all the vocal support they can muster.