Taunton Titans climbed one place in the National League One table following Saturday’s fixtures, albeit in losing a sixth consecutive game. Though the Somerset side is the only team in the division yet to record a win, they have been getting close and took both a four try and a losing bonus point from the 32-28 defeat at Sedgley Park.
Nobody will have been surprised that Rams maintained their perfect start to the season with a 26-10 win over Bishop’s Stortford ensuring they have 30 points from their first six games. In hot pursuit are Plymouth Albion, just four points behind after a big 36-10 win over Sale FC at Brickfields. Blackheath, who registered the highest total of the day in seeing off Cinderford 52-12, round out the top three with Chinnor in touching distance too after an impressive away victory by 21-48 at Rosslyn Park. Darlington Mowden Park were also away winners, triumphing 24-34 at the Athletic Ground against Richmond whilst Birmingham Moseley prevailed by one score in their Midlands derby with Leicester Lions, 25-18.
This initial block of seven fixtures draws to a close this coming Saturday as Titans welcome Rosslyn Park to Veritas Park. There will be a short break for the remainder of October before a packed November schedule. This means that breaking the season’s duck takes on even greater significance for the South-West England side against the South-West Londoners.
Once thought to have been something of a bogey opposition for Taunton, when Rosslyn Park last came to the West Country in April they had three convincing wins from three encounters under their belt, but were met with a Titans side desperate to preserve National One status. It proved to be the result that enabled Tony Yapp’s charges to beat the drop, Noah Fenton scoring a couple of scorching tries in a man-of-the-match performance, as Titans racked up a monumental 57-26 win against the side from the capital.
One of club rugby’s grand old names, Rosslyn Park was founded in 1879 by club cricketers who played in the grounds of Rosslyn House in Hampstead. After playing at various London venues, in the 1950s they moved from Richmond’s Old Deer Park to The Rock in Priory Lane, Roehampton.
When professional rugby arrived, Rosslyn Park was in National League 2 but were champions in that first season and promoted to the English Premiership for season 1997-98. Their stay in the top flight lasted four seasons, since when they have played mostly in the second and third tiers of English rugby with their current tenure in National League One lasting twelve seasons. They have finished third or fourth in each of the last three editions and currently sit in seventh place.
Rosslyn Park Director of Sport, Kieran Power, and Lead Coach, Steve Neville, have enviable resources available to them with no fewer than 12 support staff listed on their books. Amongst them is Declan Danaher, who played for and coached London Irish but is now in charge of Rosslyn Park’s defence.
Their playing squad includes former Harlequins winger Charlie Walker who has been on impressive try-scoring form. Spectators may find themselves rubbing their eyes at the notion that his erstwhile Quins team-mate Marcus Smith is running out alongside him at fly half in Taunton rather than for England in a World Cup quarter final in Marseille but it is Luc Smith, younger brother of Marcus.
The Match sponsor for this fixture is main sponsor JR Veterinary and the match ball is sponsored by Cresco Management, A huge thanks to both of the sponsors for their support.
This Saturday the Taunton Warriors, refreshed from a weekend off, are also at home, playing St Bernadette’s Old Boys.
Kick-off for Titans vs Rosslyn Park at Veritas Park is at3pm. Entry is £15 for adults and free for Under-16s. Parking at Veritas Park on Hyde Lane costs £5. Don’t forget to book in for the scrumptious two-course pre-match carvery, the envy of the National League and still an utter bargain at just £20 per head. To book please contact the club office on 01823 336363. There will also be delicious hot pasties and coffees from the Proper Cornish pasty van and there will be three bars open.
There are 2 world cup quarter finals to enjoy on the screens at TRFC: Wales V Argentina 16:00 and Ireland V New Zealand 20:00. In between the games there will be an Oktoberfest themed evening where everyone is encouraged to come and attend. All under 18s must be supervised by an adult. There will be music, games, food and plenty of refreshments available.
Taunton resident and rugby lover, Richard Kitzinger writes content for Taunton RFC’s club website and match-day programmes. His day job is writing Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney - he can be found at www.westcountrywills.co.uk or reached on 07504 991893.