By dint of good fortune last Saturday’s game at Barnes RFC was rescued from having to be played on the swamps on the banks of the River Thames where the London side normally play and was transferred to the all-weather pitch at Rosslyn Park RFC just two miles away after Storm Jorge every nearly wiped out the entire day (writes Dick Macey).
An overnight and early morning deluge in West London had all but drowned the Barnes pitches but this news only reached the Titans team when they were well on their way to the capital but Barnes were quickly able to offer the Rosslyn Park alternative which was snapped up by Titans’ coach, Tony Yapp. Due to the relentless nature of the weather the Titans had not played since 7th February so were desperate to get some momentum going to continue their promotion quest and the all-weather nature of the Park pitch turned out to be heaven-sent.
The game still began in heavy rain and hail with a fierce wind blowing down the pitch and into the Titans’ faces but the Taunton boys took the game to their hosts from the first whistle showing their determination to stamp some authority on proceedings. They were frustrated by the determination of the Barnes defence to hold back the Titans’ tide but a turning point came when the Barnes full-back became over-enthusiastic and recklessly applied a tip-tackle followed up by a number of injudicious punches, resulting in a red card being shown by the referee. Even though the odds then swung in the Titans’ favour, handling proved difficult in the conditions and it was not until the half was almost closed out before they put their first points on the board through a try wide out by flanker Ben Oliphant-Thompson, ably converted by Gary Kingdom, and the Taunton side had something to show for their first half dominance.
The tide literally turned in the second half as the weather relented, and with the sun and wind at their backs the Titans proceeded to put the flagging Barnes side to the sword. Using their forwards as their battering ram the Titans strode all over the game Barnes defenders and scored tries almost at will through Pierre Thompson,Connor Baker, Thomas Wyatt, Isaac Dalton, Dan Martin and Alex Spurdle with four of the tries being converted by Kingdom. Barnes managed to throw everything at it for the last ten minutes and were rewarded with two unconverted tries but by then the game was well and truly up and the Taunton boys emerged as worthy victors 10-45.
The Titans fielded two debutants in their line up, scrumhalf, Pierre Thompson, and hooker, Dan Martin, both of whom put their names on the score sheet and who impressed generally, adding strength to the squad as the final run-in begins towards the finishing post. The other results had the effect of moving the Titans up to second place in the league with a game in hand over the leaders, Tonbridge/Juddians, but with each win requiring the added bonus point to move them away from the chasing pack the focus will remain to address one game at a time. That brings attention to this coming Saturday’s game when the Titans return to Towergate Stadium to take on near-neighbours Dings Crusaders (kick off 2.30pm)
in what could prove to be yet another thriller. Don’t blink or you will miss it!