Last Saturday the Titans travelled to Leicester for their first ever encounter with the Lions (not the Tigers!), new boys to National League 2(South) having been moved sideways into the South from the beginning of this season. Club-wise they proved to be the jovial, hospitable and welcoming outfit you might expect in rugby football circles but in rugby terms the Taunton boys came up against the most determined, meanest and obdurate defence they are ever likely to encounter.
The Lions pitch resembled a ploughed field with a glue-pot surface that made swift movement a near impossibility. Added to the Titans’ difficulties was the fact that the pitch was narrower than they are used to and therefore they struggled throughout the game to make any headway or find a way to penetrate the Lions very effective and determined defence. The Taunton team are used to spreading the ball wide and using pace outside to provide the openings but finding themselves so hemmed in they were never able to crack open the Lion’s den.
It must also be said the Titans’ failed to adapt to the difficult conditions and provided the home side with the two early opportunities to score tries by dropping passes and mis-directing kicks which proved their undoing. The Lions were 12-0 ahead within 18 minutes due solely to our boys not being in gear and ready to face the determination the home side were to display throughout the afternoon. An analysis of their playing record will reveal they have conceded the least number points of any side in the League this season and whilst they don’t seem to score too freely, by freezing out the oppositions you are always in with a shout and so it proved on Saturday.
The Titans might feel aggrieved at the outcome of a game they would have felt they could have made more of but despite their herculean tackling throughout, particularly by the forwards, their midlands opponents were too wily on the day to leave the door open and despite the Titans dominating the second half play it was the Lions who deserved the medals for their splendid resolute defensive effort. The Titans could take a crumb of comfort from the losing bonus point earned through the boot of Gary Kingdom’s penalty goal in the last play of the game.
For the second of their four consecutive away games before Christmas the Titans travel to league newcomers Sutton and Epsom this coming Saturday. The Taunton boys will hope to return to the winning path against one of the League’s bottom sides to continue the scrap now fully engaged between themselves,Henley Hawks and Tonbridge/Juddians for what is proving to be a gripping tale of rugby football endeavour to gain supremacy.