There was nothing festive about the welcome extended to Guernsey on their first visit to Taunton last Saturday afternoon. Aside from the dreary weather with the rain coming in sideways and the wind having a nasty Arctic feel about it the quality of the rugby served up by the Titans just blew away the tentative Channel Island side with the home side running out the victors 60-14.
The Guernsey team have struggled to make their mark at the higher level having won promotion to National League 2(South) just this season and whereas the Taunton team have on occasion been slow to take advantage of lower sides’ deficiencies on this occasion they were devastating in their demolition of weaker opponents. They could not have begun more briskly and within two minutes they were on the scoreboard with a try by Nick Mason bursting through a wobbly defence which was converted by Sam Brown and this set the tone for what proved to be a relentless torrent of Titans’ pressure against which the visitors struggled to compete all afternoon.
With a further try from Mason and others by Nash, Struminski, Toots and Teague the Islanders could only counter with a converted try to turn around at half time down by 34-7. To further compound their difficulties they had to face the bitter wind and driving rain throughout the second session with the Titans in no mood to slow down and four more tries were added through Nash, Struminski and two by Sam Brown who converted five overall and who looked comfortable at full back replacing the familiar face of Gary Kingdom who was on the Bench.
There was a determination evident in this ruthless performance by the Titans – apart from brushing aside lesser opponents the forwards were a rampaging unit who coped well in all facets of their game being strong in the scrummage, comfortingly capable in the line-out, a driving force in the rolling maul and impressively supportive of each other from start to finish. The locks, Corey Teague and man of the match Dan Ogden, were everywhere and the engine room was the back row of Toots, as rampaging and as strong as ever, with Haylar and Salvi displaying a massive presence to drive it all on. It was mouth-wateringly effective.
This coming Saturday the Titans are once more at Hyde Park and this time they are entertaining their long-term west country rivals, Redruth, in what is an exciting prospect for the dedicated Taunton faithful. After their narrow defeat to the Cornishmen down at Hell Fire Corner at the start of the season the Titans will be looking to turn that result around, especially if they can bring their impressive recent form to the party. It is probably the most exciting game in the league this Saturday and undoubtedly one for rugby afficionados to savour (kick off 3.0pm)