You will not be in the least surprised when this correspondent displays a huge chunk of bias as the events of the past few days are unravelled. Prior to last Saturday’s game at Towergate Stadium there was a big question mark over whether any rugby would be permitted by the governing body in the light of the gathering corona virus storm. Then the seemingly ever-present possibility of the constant downpours causing fixtures to be postponed presenting a further dilemma so the fact that both the Rugby Football Union and the weather relented to allow play was a huge relief (writesDick Macey).
As they went into last Saturday’s game against visitors, Esher, the Taunton Titans knew that should they emerge victors from that encounter they would rise to the very top of National League 2(South) and would be a great stride closer to their declared ambition of gaining promotion to National Division 1. The Taunton side have never been better placed in their near-150 year history to move up into the seriously high-profile national rugby spotlight so you might have expected a little nervous tension in the air, not so much from the players but from the dedicated Taunton faithful.
The Towergate Stadium pitch, although a little on the“heavy” side, has a great covering of grass and, when the weather has permitted, has presented a truly excellent surface and last Saturday’s was no exception, suiting the Titan’s style of running rugby just perfectly. They displayed their intent from the very first whistle, taking the game to their opponents, and were soon rewarded when some smooth inter-passing put scrum half Pierre Thomson over for a try,converted by Gary Kingdom, and they were off and running with scores coming at regular intervals as the Titan’s pack asserted themselves. Before half time they had added two more tries through ”Sniffer” Isaac Dalton and hooker, Alex Spurdle, one converted by Kingdom, and with Esher only able to claim an unconverted score, the half closed out with the home side 19-5 ahead.
The second session became an altogether one-sided affair with the Titans pack dominating the set-piece, driving Esher back time and again, the backs cutting huge swathes through the visitor’s defence and the wind at their backs forever pushing them forward onto a scrambling Esher side fast running out of puff despite having claimed an early second-half try. Tries for the Titans were scored by Nick Mason, squeezing one over in the corner, two more by Spurdle, demonstrating the forwards dominance, a second by Thomson after some slick inter-passing through the backs, and Sam Prior touching down to round off a mighty Titans shove to get the pack over the line. Kingdom was able to convert two of those successes leaving the Titans the comfortable victors by 48-10 and the boys had reached their Everest.
There is now a great cloud of uncertainty surrounding the outcome of the league programme with many forecasting an end to the season’s competitions so all eyes will be focused on the game’s administrators and their deliberations. What is certain is that whatever their conclusions the Taunton Titans find themselves in the best possible place with promotion beckoning and that will be a huge boost for the town, for the community of West Country rugby and, of course, a mighty boost for Taunton Rugby Football Club.
This correspondent raises his cap to Tony Yapp, the Titan’s head coach, to Chris Brown, the forwards’ coach, to the backroom team for their unfailing support through the long playing season and perhaps, most significantly, to skipper, Dan Lee, and the team for some great rugby and lifting each other over the line. One more shout out goes to the supporters of the Club who have been unfailing in their contribution on match day.
With any luck and a fair wind the Titans will promoted as Champions!