It felt strange travelling to watch a Taunton side other than the Titans on a Saturday afternoon but with the Titans’ league programme taking a break it provided an opportunity to watch the second string, The Warriors, stretch their legs and show their potential in a Somerset County Cup Quarter Final game against Hornets RFC (writes Dick Macey).
The Warriors won this trophy last year and were anxious to extend their tenure as champions but knew they were going to be truly tested by a Hornets side bristling with ability and confidence, sitting as they are as leaders of South West 1 West and trusting their confident season will carry them into National 3 (South West) come the end of this season’s fixtures.
The game was played on Hornets’ all-weather pitch which looked a treat after seeing what the recent deluge has done to most pitches. This quickly showed itself as a real contest with some firm defensive play and strong running made possible by the quality of the surface. The lead changed hands no less than eight times before The Warriors emerged within three minutes of the end of the game the victors by the narrowest of margins, 29-28.
Coach Tony Yapp had expressed his commitment to keeping the faith with those players who sit in the shadows of The Titans and who have fewer opportunities to display their talents so this was a genuine second string with only a couple of players who have made an appearance in the top side. The outcome was a total commitment to the cause of what unfolded as a genuine contest and a relieved Warriors side emerged as victors to battle on but with a glance back at a Hornets outfit that had displayed a level of ability that befitted their league position.
The Warriors’ scores came through a pair of tries for winger Shai Bonnick and one each by fellow winger Ollie Massey-Birch No8 Sam Prior and 1 for Flynn Elworthy with three conversions and a penalty goal coming from the boot of outside half, Sam Baker. Team: Sonny Haines; Dave Edwards; Joey Prior; Fynn Elworthy; Andy England; Ben Clark; Charlie Samways; Sam Prior; Connor Banks; Sam Baker; Shai Bonnick; Tom Popham; James Keay; Ollie Massey-Birch; Richard Baker. Bench; Gary Carpenter; Danny Martin; Sam Leworthy; Ben Oliphant-Thompson; John Roberts.
This coming Saturday the Titans see normal service resumed as they pursue their quest for a top two place come the end of the season with a trip to Barnes who have proved a difficult team to tuck away in the past but who must be brushed aside if the Taunton boys are to fulfil their ambition. These are exciting times for Taunton RFC!