Buoyed by their success at Towergate Stadium over league leaders, Tonbridge Juddians, the previous week, the Titans travelled to St Albans, Hertfordshire, last Saturday to take on Old Albanians in the hope of consolidating their quest to remain in the promotion hunt (writes Dick Macey).
Always tough opponents, the OAs were only beaten by two points on their visit to Taunton in October and so despite their confident performance the week before, the Taunton boys knew they were in for a scrap and so it proved. They began at a blistering pace and within 15 minutes they were 15-0 up through tries by“Toots” Vatalutukali and Oscar Kolowski, one converted by Gary Kingdom who added a penalty goal to his tally.
Just when you might have been wondering how many might the Titans score with this rampant beginning the OAs woke up. It was a dramatic transformation from docility to frantic aggression with their defensive skills being fully and effectively put to work, a rolling maul being exercised with impunity and a realisation that they could compete. The nett result was that by half time they had shut the Titans out of any meaningful possession and had clambered back into the game to go in level at half time 15-15.
The second session began with the same absorbing cut and thrust but with no advance on the scoreboard until a slightly against the run of play penalty goal was landed by Kingdom to give the Titans an edge. As the game wore on it seemed as if this would carry the Titans through but their latter persistence led to a second well-taken “Toots” try and a vital eight point lead – game over? OAs had other thoughts and they hammered through from the re-start to snatch possession which lead to a converted try and the final whistle, the Titans winning by the narrowest of margins.
Other results around the league brought the Titans back to within 5 points of TJs who resumed the league leadership following Henley’s defeat at Redruth. The consensus around the Taunton optimists now is that if they can continue winning their games from here on to the league programme’s conclusion the Titans will be in the bun fight as serious promotion contenders.
This coming Saturday the Titans return to Towergate Stadium to take on Westcliff, newcomers to the league, ( kick off 3.00 pm), who seem to have overcome some early setbacks to secure their place going on to next season’s campaign. This game will be preceded by The President’s Day lunch with an auction and bumper raffle to lift the days proceedings. A exciting day!