GIVEN the weather over the preceding week or so, you would have expected a bit of a glue-pot of a pitch at Hyde Park last Saturday when the Titans entertained Clifton, writes Dick Macey.

In the event, a tender breeze, some early spring sunshine the day before and some quality attention from the ground crew presented the large crowd with a stage ideally set for the scrap about to unfold before them.

Clifton have been struggling near the bottom of the league table for some time and the form book would indicate the Titans would have a comfortable afternoon.

The trouble with that complacent viewpoint is that Clifton didn’t read the script and they came within a whisker of turning that wretched form book on its head, such was their determined display.

Historically these local derby games are close encounters, and indeed the Bristol side upset Taunton in the corresponding fixture last year, so their disappointment was palpable when they just failed to do it again this time around.

Head coach Tony Yapp was full of praise for the determination of the Clifton side, but was relieved to take the bonus-point win and retention of third place.

With two reserved weekends in the next four weeks which embraces the Six Nations games, the Titans take a rest this coming Saturday before travelling to Henley Hawks on March 3 and then welcoming London Irish Wild Geese to the Commsplus Stadium on March 10.

Also on Saturday, March 3, Taunton Colts host Penzance in the third round of the National Under-18 Cup, of which they are the holders.

The match will also be played at Hyde Park, kicking off at 2.30pm.