It is an old cliche to talk of a game of two halves but that is precisely what we were treated to last Saturday when the Taunton boys travelled to The Fens to take on high-flying Cambridge in their latest National League One foray, writes Dick Macey. Cambridge are now third in the League having enjoyed the best campaign in the club's history and are a free-scoring side who like to play a similar attacking style of rugby to the Titans and were no doubt seeking some revenge for having been held to a 27-27 draw when the "Blood and Sand", as they are called, visited Taunton in the Autumn so there was no doubting the fact that a heap of tries could be anticipated and so it proved.
The home side began the game at a blistering pace and the Titans seemed to have lead in their legs after their long journey and, using their powerful rolling maul as a battering ram, Cambridge quickly put a couple of scores on the board with converted tries leaving our lads gasping. The Titans clawed back a score through a strong run in from Shai Bonnick but by half time Cambridge had built up a lead of 31-12 with Taunton chasing shadows despite a further score through "Sniffer" Dalton worming his way over following a ruck, the try being converted by Connor Banks, but it all seemed too little too late to make any great impact upon the outcome. How little we knew of what was coming in the second session.
I don't know what was injected into the half time team talk but it was potent beyond belief as the second session began. The Titans set about their resurrection with a relish and hammered away at Cambridge for the majority of the half and denied the home side possession and territory throughout, outplaying and outscoring their hosts with a constant barrage of swift-moving three-quarter movements which was proving very effective. Cambridge could only squeeze a late score in the half such was their starvation of territory whilst The Titans scored further tries through Sam Mercer and then by Dan Swain, converted by Banks, leaving the Taunton boys feeling vindicated having rescued a chunk of pride following theirlack-lustre first half showing but the curtain nonetheless came down on the Cambridge victory 38-24.
This was a hugely entertaining game with the result hinging on the success of the Cambridge side's rolling maul, which proved to be a very polished weapon, and once again an error-strewn first half from The Titans before they showed their self-belief in the second half. They have the talent but they have yet to find the mettle and the early confidence to grab hold of a game and shake it instead of more often than not having to play"catch-up"
but, boy, are they learning fast!