National 2 South
Taunton Titans 29, Clifton 27

STUART Persey's late try earned victory for Taunton Titans after an intense encounter with local rivals Clifton at the Commsplus Stadium on Saturday.

The result keeps the Titans third in the National 2 South table, but they were certainly tested by the visitors, who have struggled this season and sit third from bottom in the standings.

The home side broke the deadlock through captain Nick Mason, who went over after Aron Struminski broke through to set up the chance, but Clifton full-back Bradley Barnes reduced the deficit with a penalty.

Yet winger Struminski and Mason again crossed the try-line for the hosts, and with Gary Kingdom converting the first of those the Titans looked comfortable at 17-3.

But the visitors dominated the last 10 minutes of the half, scoring two tries through Sam Harrison and Callum Roberts – Barnes converting both to make it 17-17 at the interval.

Again the home side edged ahead, as Kingdom went over for the Titans' bonus-point try and kicked the extras, just five minutes after the restart.

But Clifton came storming back once more, as Alex Giltrow's converted try levelled things up again at 24-24.

Barnes' penalty gave the away side the lead for the first time in the match, but Persey crashed over the line for the hosts' fifth try.

Kingdom could not convert, though, and the Titans had to endure a nervy last few minutes, but this time they did hold on to their lead, as Freddie Fraser made the turnover and the ball was kicked into touch.

There are no matches in National 2 South next weekend, but on March 3 the Titans travel to seventh-placed Henley Hawks (ko 3pm), looking for revenge after Henley won 42-31 at Hyde Park in November.

Taunton Titans: Gary Kingdom, Aron Struminski, Nick Mason, Ollie Carter (Freddie Fraser), Ollie Rice, Toby East, Lewis Webb, James Kenny (Connor Baker), Chris Francis (Ben Oliphant-Thompson), Isaac Dalton, Stuart Persey (Brett Harvey), Andy England (Stu Persey), Jamie Fleming, Dan Frost, Ben Oliphant-Thompson (Sam Prior) (Tom Hooper).