National 2 South
Barnstaple 12, Taunton Titans 53

TAUNTON Titans won their second straight match, and first of 2018, on Barnstaple to keep hold of fourth place in the National 2 South standings, while also extending their advantage over fifth-placed Redruth.

The Titans returned to action after the Christmas break away to Devon rivals Barnstaple, who they had beaten 52-3 in September's reverse fixture.

Barnstaple, though, had won last season's home meeting with the Titans 22-19, and they took the lead in this encounter inside the first 10 minutes, with an unconverted try from Luke Berry.

It only took five minutes for the visitors to respond, as Brett Harvey claimed the try under a pile of bodies to make it 5-5.

That is how it remained until the half hour, when first Paul Davis and then Jack Claydon crossed for the away side, although both tries went unconverted.

That opened the floodgates, and Connor Baker claimed the Titans' bonus-point try, before Davis again and Ollie Rice also joined the party.

Toby East converted those three tries to make the score 36-5 at half time.

The visitors carried on where they'd left off in the second period, as Ratu Vakalutukali went over for their seventh try, and East added the extras.

An interception try from Ryan Lee (converted by Gwyn Parks) nudged the hosts' score upwards, but flying winger Aron Struminski moved the Titans onto a 48-12 lead.

Some indiscipline close to their try-line saw the away side reduced to 13 men, but even so Nick Mason was able to claim their ninth try of the day, for a final score of 53-12.

Next Saturday sees the Titans at home to the division's bottom side Wimbledon (ko 3pm).

Taunton Titans: Connor Baker, Paul Davis, Isaac Dalton, Brett Harvey, Stu Persey, Ratu Vakalutukali, Jamie Fleming, Sam Prior, Lewis Webb, Toby East, Jack Claydon, Freddie Fraser, Nick Mason, Aron Struminski, Ollie Rice. Replacements: Andy Hamilton, James Kenny, Blake Lugg, Dan Frost, Connor Banks.