The Titans made the short journey up the motorway last Friday evening knowing that a solid performance and a victory against opponents Clifton would elevate them to top of the league with the chasing pack all hovering to take a tilt at the Taunton windmill the following day.
In the event the Titans grabbed the opportunity to push on with both hands, playing in a style which almost brushes opponents aside such is the intensity and quality of their current capability. We first became fully aware of it in the home game against Tonbridge/Juddians at the turn of the year and there has been increasing deployment of it since, sometimes patchy, but very effective and now something which has the team utilising with increasing confidence.
So it was in the game against Clifton, no mean opponents themselves lying fifth in the league and always a physically capable side. The Titans came out of the blocks like tigers and within 4 minutes they were a goal to the good through a try by“Toots” Vatalutukali, converted by Gary Kingdom, who added a penalty goal a couple of minutes later and the foundation for Titans dominance had been laid. Clifton landed a penalty goal to give a semblance of staying in touch but having ground down their opponents the Titans were in no mood to concede and they added two further tries towards the end of the half. The first by Julian Salvi who suddenly sprung out of a maul to cross the line out wide before Clifton could blink and the second by Salvi again, this time converted by Kingdom. This closed the first half proceedings with Taunton 22-3 in front and looking great value in the overall scheme of things.
Predictably Clifton came out very determined for the second session yet despite their attempts to gain some dominance they slipped further behind through a try by Titans skipper, Dan Lee, converted by Kingdom. The home side are a resilient bunch nonetheless and they then went through their best spell of the game, seeking to drive the Titans down the slope and kicking with some good effect deep into the corners. Their efforts led to a try and goal through a driving maul which gave them some heart but the Titans realised that to spike that gun it was necessary to keep Clifton’s hands off the ball and in so doing they hemmed the home side back and this eventually led to the Titans’ fifth try through Salvi, converted by Kingdom, and their game was won. A victory of 36-10 over doughty opponents such as Clifton was hugely satisfying to the Titans’ players who were understandably elated by their success. It’s always great when a plan comes together!