National 2 South
Taunton Titans 20, Cinderford

TAUNTON Titans saw their seven-match unbeaten run come to an end after falling to a defeat at the hands of an impressive Cinderford side at a chilly Hyde Park, writes Paul Martin.

The visitors came into the match in good form themselves and began the game on the front foot, opening the scoring after just three minutes when full-back James Moffat slotted a penalty.

The next 20 minutes were played almost exclusively in the visitors' half but, despite winning some good ball against the head in the scrum, Titans found themselves frustrated by their opponents' resolute defending.

The hosts passed up two opportunities to level the scores in the opening stages, instead kicking to the corner in search of tries - a decision perhaps influenced by the man advantage Titans enjoyed after Matthew Lane was sin-binned for Cinderford.

The Titans could not make the most of their temporary extra man, but eventually opened their account for the afternoon late in the half.

An excellent break by Dan Frost - one of several in an impressive first half for the openside - set the hosts on their way, and the ball was then spun out quickly via Elliot Roofe to Nick Mason who crossed for the try, which Gary Kingdom failed to convert.

Having worked so hard to get back in the game, there was frustration for the hosts as they relinquished their lead almost immediately.

Cinderford outside centre Reuben Norville was the man who made the most of a rare visiting attack, breaking through two tackles to score in the corner.

Moffat then dragged the conversion wide, meaning the Titans trailed 8-5 at the interval. 

The home side were slow out of the blocks after the restart and went further behind on 43 minutes when Jack Shields went over from close range, with Moffat adding the extras.

Sammy Prior then saw a try disallowed as the Titans fought to narrow the deficit, and shortly after a Kingdom penalty sailed over they reduced the arrears yet further in spectacular style.

A high kick was expertly claimed by captain Mason, who then shipped the ball to Freddie Fraser just shy of the 10m line.

The inside centre still had a lot to do, but he showed his opposite number a clean pair of heels to bring the score back to 15-13.

Kingdom missed the conversion, however, and the hosts were soon made to pay for their profligacy when Cinderford stretched their advantage with a quarter of an hour to play.

Spurred on by their vocal contingent of travelling supporters, the Forest of Dean side put together a flowing attack which ended with winger Sam Goatley going over in the corner, and though Moffatt missed the resulting kick his side had established a 20-13 lead going into the closing stages.

The Titans' chances of getting back into the match late on received a blow when Prior was sin-binned, and the visitors promptly put the result beyond doubt when fly-half Liam Hemming sprinted clear for an excellent solo score.

The hosts did at least claim a losing bonus point when Kingdom converted Roofe's try in the last minute, but it was Cinderford who left with the victory on a disappointing afternoon for Taunton.