If you were a Tauntonian down in Redruth last Saturday afternoon to support the Titans in their game against The Reds you would have endured the stuff of nightmares. A full house of around a thousand baying one-eyed Cornish man, torrential rain, a pitch that bore more resemblance to the Okavango Delta than a rugby pitch and some very odd interpretations of the controversial high tackle regulations from the referee (writes Dick Macey).
Add to all of those hurdles a Reds side who were fired up and who ripped into their visitors from the very first whistle. The Titans played downhill towards Hell Fire Corner in the first session but failed throughout to gain any advantage. Handling was always going to be difficult so both teams reverted to the use of the boot and a process of kicking tennis unfolded but it seemed all Titans’ attempts were swallowed up by the rampant home side who proceeded to brush the Titans aside as the half unfolded to the point that by half-time the Titans found themselves 19-0 down and the Taunton faithful fearing the worst.
Soon after the second session began Titans’ coach, Tony Yapp, began to ring the changes from the Bench and with those changes came a different tempo from the visitors. They were much more purposeful, their kicking deeper and more effective and they climbed right back into the game. A turning point came when the referee sent the |Titans’ skipper, Dan Lee, to the bin with a yellow card for an alleged high tackle which to every other observer was upon his opposite number’s upper arm. From the subsequent penalty The Reds kicked to the Titans’ line and from the lineout rumbled the ball over for a try, converted by the admirable Reds full back, Shepperd, which proved to be the only Reds’ sortie to the Taunton line in the second half.
The Titans fought back hard grabbing tries through a cracker by Toby East, a driving maul touched down by Gary Carpenter and Jack Arnott snaffling one from close in with extras added by Gary Kingdom with one conversion and one penalty goal. On reflection the difference between the two sides lay in the Reds early and sustained first half tempo and the Titans taking too long to build up their own head of steam.
With their top of the league rivals, Tonbridge Juddians andHenley Hawks both gaining bonus point victories and the Titans only able to glean a one-point bonus from their game it is imperative that the Taunton boys refresh themselves over the holiday break in readiness for the January fixtures against those other two high-flyers. Happy New Year!