It was 1st v 4th with both teams having won 3 and lost 1 so it was always going to be tight game and go to the wire, and that is exactly what happened with a kick at the end of the game to decide the result.
With both teams evenly matched in across the park it took until the end of the 1st quarter before there was any score with Taunton’s Gary Kingdom kicking a penalty. He added another ten minutes later to make it 6 – 0 before Canterbury showed the hosts how to finish a 2 on 1 which the Titans were guilty of butchering several throughout the game. The City Men’s try scorer was winger Jonathon Murray and with fly half Harvey Young adding the extras from out wide it made the half time score 6 – 7.
It was Taunton who came out the blocks in the second half and scored from a driving maul through Jamie Fleming,despite being a man down after Ratu Vakalutukali was shown a yellow for a high tackle. The Titans then extended the lead when the impressive Jarrard Hayler was bundled over and give the home side an 11 point lead.
There was then a delay while Taunton’s Freddie Fraser received some treatment and it was Canterbury that reacted the best to the delay with Charlie Grimes going over for the try with just over 10 minutes to go. Ratu Vakalutukali made up for his previous misdemeanour when he broke through several tackles to score under the posts.Kingdom slotted the simple conversion, which would prove important later, to open an 11 point lead.
With 5 minutes left to play Canterbury threw everything at the Titans and were rewarded with a try for Oliver Best. With two minutes left on the clock the conversion was rushed with a drop kick and was missed. Taunton kicked long and the City Men kept the ball and worked the ball up the field and gained a penalty which they kicked for the line out. The ball was won and scrum half Daniel Smart spotted a gap and won the foot race to score in the corner to bring the visitors to within 1 point.With the conversion from the touch line to win it was pushed wide and Taunton could breath a large sigh of relief. Canterbury claimed 2 points but deserved a lot more.
Taunton will need to improve and learn to be more clinical if they are to become successful this season. They seemed to create lots of chances but never executed the final pass or chose the wrong options when it looked harder not to score than to actually score. Canterbury had a few chances a took most of them so they the Titans will need to look at their performance and build on this win. Next week is a tough fixture at London Irish Wild Geese where last season the Geese comprehensively beat the Titans.
The County Stores Man of the Match was awarded to Ratu ‘Toots’ Vakalutukali but could have been awarded to a few players that put in some great performances.
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