On a weekend of freezing temperatures across the country, only two out of the scheduled seven National League One fixtures went ahead. So it is a massive credit to Julian Holloway and the ground staff at Veritas Park that Taunton’s match with Birmingham Moseley took place. In his pre-match speech to the diners enjoying the carvery lunch, Titans forwards coach Chris Brown reminded everyone that Moseley was the premier club from England’s second city and, indeed, at times it seemed that the former premiership side had several times the population of their hosts on the pitch. Failing to pick up a single league point has not ameliorated Titans’ situation. Following the 15-34 defeat, Tony Yapp’s team find themselves mired in the relegation battle but with their rivals now holding a game in hand.
There’s not even any consolation for Taunton in the thought that their next opponents had lost momentum due to the postponements because the other game that took place on Saturday was at Rosslyn Park where promotion-chasing Rams took the honours with a narrow 17-21 victory that seems them climb back above neighbours Chinnor to the top of the table. It’s going to be a tough assignment for Titans to go to Old Bath Road this coming Saturday and bring back the chocolates.
From Sonning, close to Reading, Rams were promoted into National League One for the first ever time just a year before Taunton’s own elevation to that level. The club was formed in 1924 by former pupils of Reading School and was initially called Old Redingenians RFC. In time the playing numbers no longer reflected the school’s alumni and the name changed simply to Redingensians. The nickname Rams, derived from the animal featuring on the coat of arms of Reading, became the formal name of the club in 2018 and, with London Irish no longer around, Rams is proudly the leading rugby club in town.
When the teams last met in Berkshire last March Titans scored 21 points but Rams were out of sight with 59 points of their own. Things were a lot closer when Rams visited Veritas Park in October. On that occasion the Titans were seeking a first home win of the season and Rams were table-toppers but the final score of 35-41 demonstrates what threat Taunton carry in attack. Noah Fenton scored a hat-trick that day and Somerset’s rugby fans must be hoping that the flier can repeat the feat.
Director of Rugby Seb Reynolds has assembled quite a unit at the Old Bath Road club. Fly-half Drew Humberstone and his brother Tom have both played for Oxford University in the Varsity Match. Rams captain Robbie Stapley is on red-hot format Number 8. Hooker Max Hayman scored the last-gasp try required to beat Rosslyn Park and cap a fine come-from-behind victory.
Warriors travelled to Wells only to learn their fixture had fallen foul of the weather. This Saturday they go to St Bernadette’s Old Boys.
Entrance at Rams to The Old Bath Road Ground at Sonning is £15.00 per adult for ground entry and includes a match programme whilst Under 18s enjoy free entry. Parking is limited at Old Bath Road and must be pre-booked via the club’s booking site. Click here to be taken to that site. A two-course meal (for which the menu is already posted on the Rams website) is available on a ticket which includes ground admission for £35. To book email Rams’ Events and Hospitality Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kick-off is at 3.00pm.