Whilst Taunton Titans enjoyed a weekend off and hopefully recharged the batteries ready for a crucial block of fixtures which will determine their National League One future, most of the division caught up on matches which had previously fallen foul of the weather. At the top of the table Chinnor moved back ahead of Thames Valley neighbours Rams by winning 38-34 at home against Sedgley Park. The Mancunians ran them close and will be comforted by claiming two points against the leaders, meaning that they arrive in town this Saturday to face the Titans in sixth place in the table.
Titans, without playing, slipped to the very foot of the ladder as both Sale and Leicester Lions gained wins and move out of the relegation zone. Lions enjoyed a 19-12 win over third-placed Plymouth Albion whilst Sale triumphed at Heywood Road by 21 points to visiting Cinderford’s 15, meaning that the Gloucestershire side dip into the bottom three. They are joined there by Bishop’s Stortford who succumbed 14-38 at home to Richmond. In the final tie of the weekend Darlington Mowden Park had a handsome win at home against Blackheath by 42-37, a result which makes the North-Easterners look relatively safe from the drop in 8thplace, having opened up an 11 point cushion over Blackheath in 9th.Realistically, all six teams from Blackheath on 37 points to Taunton on 27, are competing to finish above the dreaded drop zone.
Freshly promoted to National League One this season from the North section of National Two, the Sedgley Park Tigers came out of the blocks fast with an opening day win but have since had mixed fortunes with nine wins and seven defeats overall. The club was formed in 1932 in the heart of rugby league territory but has forged ahead as a union club and spent five seasons in the second tier of English rugby between 2004 and 2009.
Amongst the alumni of Tigers are a clutch of rugby internationals. Erik Lund played for Norway, Phil Elloway for Germany and Cristian Raducanu for Romania. In the current squad is halfback Jacob Tansey who featured in the Bath Premiership Cup side whilst studying at the University of Bath. Sedgley Park is coached by Scott Barrow, the former St Helens rugby league scrum-half and Glasgow Warriors centre.
When the Titans travelled to Bury to meet Sedgley Park for the first time in October, the home side won but a late Charlie Wright try earned both a fourth try and a losing bonus point with the scoreboard reading 32-28 at full-time. Titans will need to finish on the opposite side of the ledger when they renew acquaintances at Veritas Park on Saturday. The Somerset side will have to fight their relegation battle without the services of Noah Fenton. The leading try-scorer in the whole National League One division having crossed the whitewash 19 times this season, Noah has begun his GAP year travels.
Warriors racked up another impressive victory at the weekend, this time beating Oldfield Old Boys 40-7 to go back above Chew Valley 2nd XV into the lead in Counties 2 Tribute Somerset division. Warriors have a four-point lead in the table and a game in hand over second-placed Chew Valley who lost their match at Wells.
The match this weekend is kindly sponsored by one of the clubs longest time sponsors Somerset County Cars. We look forward to welcoming them and there guests back to Veritas Park and hope they have a great day. The Match Ball sponsor is RDA Insulation who are also player sponsors to a number of the Titans.
Kick-off for Titans vs Sedgley Park Tigers at Veritas Park is at 3pm. Entry is £15 for adults and free for Under-16s. Parking at Veritas Park on Hyde Lane costs £5with free parking in the overflow car park across the road. This Saturday TRFC welcomes back a large number of former players for the occasion and the superb pre-match carvery which is now Sold out for this game and the only availability remaining is for the final home game of the season V Cinderford. There will also be delicious hot pasties and coffees available before and during the game from the Proper Cornish pasty van and three bars will be open.
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.