After the disappointment of losing last Saturday’s match to the weather the Wanderers squad headed over to Somerton expecting a tough encounter….which turned out to be a very accurate description of that followed. Having lost James Tolman and Richard Watts on Saturday morning to illness and a breakdown (vehicular)respectively, the Wanderers welcomed back Jake Foster into the squad after a knee injury that has seen Jake miss the last few weeks.
A new centre partnership saw Josh Duggan and Dan Hinton…both more commonly used to playing rugby with no laws (rugby league)…pair up and it was the latter who went over for Taunton’s first try which was largely against the run of play and was uncoverted. Taunton were rusty having not played for a couple of weeks and it showed, especially as Somerton started the game at 100mph and really asked questions of the Taunton defence.
It was clear Somerton had put a plan in place to stop Taunton’s lineout from functioning as effectively as it has done all season and both line out and scrum were fiercely contested affairs. But all credit to the tenacity of Taunton, the defence was working overtime to repel attack after attack…it was mooted during the second half that Andy Farley made more tackles in this game than Boris has done in his whole career, and plenty of Taunton players were stepping up in a similar fashion.
In a match this physical there are often going to be flash points and Paul “Almost Legal”Ford got the Somerton sideline baying for blood when he entered a ruck not exactly from the back foot and left carnage behind him. The off-side line is in the same category as the Bermuda triangle and the Twilight zone for Fordy…all are often talked about but he doubts the actual existence of any of them.
However it was Taunton who scored the game’s second try, Dan Hinton again on hand to crash over the line and Leigh “Mouth” Cash surprised everyone by kicking the conversion. 0-12 at half time was not a fair reflection of the first half but Taunton were grateful to head into half time having blown away some cobwebs.
Into the second half and the Taunton back three of Gav Farley, Nathan Whetnor and Sam Mounsey were constantly having to field kick returns and bring the ball back with interest. It was Somerton who struck first with a converted try before James Marney claimed Taunton’s third try after some of the best rugby Taunton played all game and showed the kind of open free flowing off-loading game they are well known for. The try was not converted. 7-17.
Then excellent defensive line speed say Gav “chocolate” Farley intercept a pass out wide and race home – albeit slightly gingerly – to claim the bonus point try which Sam Mounsey converted. Somerton by this point were running excellent support lines and the Somerton flanker cut a brilliant line off the fly half to race home and give the home supporters hope. After the try was converted the score was 14-24 and Somerton were really taking the game to Taunton.
Then something miraculous happened. Through-out time there are moments and events so significant you will never forget where you were when they happened. The other 21 players and 2 coaches from Taunton will always remember the 16th February 2019 and Somerton RFC as the date and location where we witnessed Robbie Miller actually make a tackle - stopping the Somerton flanker from what would have been a try that set up a very nervy end to the game.
As it was Taunton had the last word for the scoreboard, a driving maul from a line out in the Somerton 22 eventually saw Fred Parrish pick up and dive over for the final try of the match. 14-29 final score and Taunton were relieved to pick up a bonus point win in what was a bruising and abrasive game.