Watching the Titans struggle to overcome the conundrum of horrendous weather and an enthusiastic Esher side was equally if not more painful than having watched the English side struggle against a rampant Springboks earlier in the day (writes Dick Macey).
Torrential rain and a strong “down the pitch” wind which persisted throughout the majority of the afternoon made handling the ball a constant lottery and conditions underfoot meant that kick and rush almost became a refined art as both sides wrestled to find some supremacy. Esher took a lead in the third minute with a penalty kick from halfway line with the wind behind them and that was the only score in the first session. Error after error marking the efforts of both teams, not helped by some quirky decisions from the officials, meant that the experience of watching became almost painful in the extreme.
Those hardy members of the Taunton faithful who had fought the weather for the fixture might have hoped that with the elements now behind them the Titans might have been able to make some capital but Esher’s relentless determination made any constructive play impossible. To emphasise that determination they seized a moment in broken play to kick the ball long and low and to win the foot race for the touchdown under the posts to go 10-0 ahead. From that moment on it was all Titans as much as the conditions would allow, the problem was that old Titan’s mind-set of spurning goal licking opportunities and kicking for the corner meant two golden chances went begging before one was claimed by Gary Kingdom. So they marauded up and down the Esher line with endless penalties being awarded but not a disciplinary card in sight.
Eventually “Sniffer”(leading try scorer, prop Isaac Dalton) squeezed over and this observer thought that with Kingdom’s simple kick to come at least the Titans would come away with a draw. Not so! The Esher players were allowed to rush at the kicker screaming like a hoard of banshees and the kick went wide. We waited for the kick to be ordered to betaken again but instead the final whistle was blown that rounded off a thoroughly frustrating afternoon for the Taunton boys.
This coming Saturday the Titans return to Towergate Stadium to face Barnes (kick off 3.00pm) who travel down from South West London. You can be assured the Titans will be utterly committed to restoring some sensibility to their score-line with a hatful of tries. There will be a carvery lunch available prior to the game, hosted by The Friends, and immediately before the game there will be a short service of remembrance to mark Taunton RFC’s acknowledgement to the fallen.