The team third from the top of the league playing the team third from bottom you would have thought should not provide an upset with form dictating the outcome but students of results this season in National League 2 (South) know what a false premise that can be.
The Titans’ visitors, London Irish Wild Geese, did not, in fact, pose a threat to the eventual outcome but it was truly surprising how strong in defence they proved to be. Over half an hour had elapsed before the Titans were able to breach the Wild Geese line with a try by debutant Max Woodward. This was shortly followed by a penalty goal by Gary Kingdom and then a try by Toby East, converted by Kingdom, took the Titans in at half time 15-3 to the good with the Irishmen only able to offer a penalty goal in reply.
The second half began with driving rain accompanied by a biting wind and this made handling difficult and called for greater concentration and the Titans were rewarded with another try by Toby East who was turning in an impressive shift in the centre. It then took the Taunton boys another 30 minutes before they could once again get past the Geese stubborn and effective defence. This time the score came with a try by the admirable Freddie Fraser who angled in at great pace to touch down behind the posts for an easy conversion by Kingdom bringing the closing score to 27-3 in favour of the Titans. On reflection it was a pleasing result against the determined Exiles’ side in what proved to be really difficult conditions, the Titans deserving praise for their “heads down approach” whilst having to contend with such a greasy ball.
This bonus point win keeps The Titans in third place in the League, one place and one point behind Canterbury who had a bonus point victory away to Worthing. In the meantime fourth placed Henley just squeezed past Dings Crusaders but failed to gain the ever-important bonus to now be two points behind Taunton with the all-important clash between these two sides next Saturday. Henley just nipped the Titans back in October at Hyde Park so this return fixture could not have more riding on it. Coach Tony Yapp is refusing to allow the potential for over-excitement to creep into the dressing room, talking after the victory over the Wild Geese he insisted each game will be dealt as it arises and whilst acknowledging there is much to play for, “feet on the ground” is the order of the day.
The new addition to the Titans’ line-up, flanker Max Woodward, looked very impressive on his first game before the home crowd, earning the “Man of The Match” accolade, and clearly the injury to his ankle in pre-season training which has kept him out until now has settled and is behind him.