Taunton Titans first game of the season started with former player Mike Pope launching a high kick for the opposition team Bournemouth, which was met by the majestic Cory Teague soaring above both his own players and the opposition to secure a clean ball. This was a regular occurrence for Cory at most of the Bournemouth re-starts. The ball was fed back to Gary Kingdom who was playing at fly-half who launched a high ball into the Bournemouth half. The Taunton centres chased and the crowd of just over 400 expected Nick Mason to do one of his trade mark leaps and secure the ball for some reason he seemed to completely miss time his approach and the elusive Mike Pope secured the ball for Bournemouth he made a break and passed on to Bournemouth centre Fred Gleadowe who race over unopposed to score Bournemouth’s first try after only 1 minute 30seconds. The Bournemouth full-back Grant Hancox obliged with the conversion.
Taunton replied almost from the re-start when Charlie Williams the Taunton No6 secured the ball broke through several tackles from 40 yards out and showed immense pace to score. The conversion was unsuccessful which left Taunton trailing 5 points to 7. More pressure from Taunton from the re-start gained a penalty after 13 minutes which Gary Kingdom converted to put Taunton in front for the first time a lead which they never lost. However the incident leading to the penalty saw both Nick Mason and second row Chris Courtier leave the field with injury. This brought on Aron Struminski to the wing with Freddie Fraser going into the centre and Charlie Williams moving from the back row into the second row and Julian Salvi coming into the back row.
Again from the kick off Taunton continued with a series of drives which seemed to be extremely well defended by Bournemouth but the ferocity of these drives both by the forwards and the backs saw Bournemouth relent by an infringement for which the referee Adam Wookey issued a yellow card to the Bournemouth No6. The resultant penalty was converted by Gary Kingdom taking the score to 11-7 in favour of Taunton. The next phase of play culminated with what can only be called vision and dexterity. Gary Kingdom’s vision saw a space out to the left and put in a most delicate and deft kick which was taken above his head, showing his dexterity , at pace by No7 Brett Harvey who shrugged off tackles to feed Taunton full-back Ollie Down for his first try. This gave Taunton a 16-11 point lead.
A series of waves of Taunton attacks and some outstanding stalwart defence from Bournemouth who still only had 14 men kept Taunton at bay. However on 24 minutes only the second scrum of the game saw Taunton launch another attack by the backs taking them close to the Bournemouth line the forwards took over with several drives before Brett Harvey went over for the try which was converted by Gary Kingdom to take the score to 23 points to7.
From the kick off Bournemouth really challenged the Taunton defence and for a long period were camped within the Taunton 22 however Taunton gradually asserted themselves to break out and feed the ball to Jack Arnott who faced with a one on one with his opposite winger chipped over the top. Desperate measures by the opposition winger to slow down Jack were to no avail as like all good open side wing forwards there was Julian Salvi to support and win the touchdown. Gary once again converted to take the half-time score to Taunton 30 Bournemouth 7.
The second half started again at a very fast pace and in a similar way to which the first half finished with Jack Arnott receiving the ball and again chipping his winger but this time there was another line of defence for Bournemouth who gathered the ball to be enveloped by the Taunton attack which saw Brett Harvey overturn the ball and score his second of the afternoon. The try was not converted and so Taunton led 35-7.
From the kick off Bournemouth secured the ball and pressed the Taunton line where the defence was immense. After 23 phases of play for Bournemouth they were eventually awarded a penalty and rather than kick the penalty they opted for the corner. They won the resulting lineout and Ben Roberts the Bournemouth No8 went over for the try. This left the score35-12. Play then seemed to ebb and flow one way and another until a Taunton break took them close to line. The ball then came to Gary Kingdom who went for the gap and as it closed he flipped the ball inside to the oncoming man of the match Tom Popham who went in for a well-deserved try which Gary converted to take the score to 42-12.
The captain Dan Lee went off for Barrie John to come and Charlie Williams to go back into the wing forward spot. Bournemouth from the kick off really pressed again but Taunton secured the ball which went to Barrie John who only seems to have one thing in his mind, drive forward which he did made the ball available which went to the backs who took it to the halfway line. Barrie John again pick and drive this time he did not go down and lay the ball back but put in a clever short pass to Arran Wilmann who broke several tackles to pass to scrum half James Tait who was ever present throughout the game to score a well-deserved try which Gary converted to make the score 49-12. There was almost another try from some superb inter play down the left wing which would have been culminated by Gary Kingdom had the referee Adam Wookey, who had a very good game, not have adjudged the pass forward. The final whistle left Taunton, bonus point winners, 49 points to 12 having scored 7 tries to Bournemouth’s 2 of which 4 of those tries were scored by the support play to an outstanding display by the backs, of the back row.