Pre-season matches are not always about the result but more an opportunity for the individual players to test their respective levels of fitness in a match situation and also for our coaching team to try out different combinations. This is the same for the opposition and so to make any criticism of any players would be inappropriate.
There were some outstanding performances and when asked to name the man of the match the team management chose Charlie Wright who during his spell on the field showed tremendous awareness in both attack and defence and was a worthy winner of the ‘man of the match’ award.
There were new faces and many of the stalwarts of the club in the team. We saw a different approach in both attack and defence although in the second half some obvious mistakes gave Clifton the edge. For the whole of the first half the difference was the speed to the breakdown, the speed at which the ball was recycled and then the speed at which the ball was moved. With the change of player things in the second half were not as slick and this allowed the opposition more time at the breakdown to spoil and to win and retain ball. However it took until later in the second half to see the power of our front five when Clifton went back at a rate of nots in the scrummage. This may have been a planned move whereas they were using different tactics in the first half. Clifton stuck to their task and was rewarded with some opportunist tries from the Taunton mistakes. In the first half Taunton gave away 11 penalties to Clifton’s three and had they have kicked at goal the halftime score would have looked very different. However Taunton’s speed and expansive game saw them score some scintillating tries especially from returning winger Aaron Struminski.
There was a lot of good came out the game and we were able to see that many of the players will be competing very strongly for their places as with the new players and those returning there seems to be some strength in depth. Huge thanks must go to all players from both teams who gave us a glimpse in to what we have ready for the beginning of the new season in Division 1 of the National league.