National 2 South
Barnes 51, Taunton Titans 38

TAUNTON Titans continued their Jekyll and Hyde season, putting in an under-par performance at Barnes and paying the price for a horrendous first half where they trailed 25-0 at the break, writes Keith Brooking.

In the first half, poor discipline and some timid defence allowed Barnes easy momentum and to get their offloading game going, keeping the visitors pinned in their own half.

After five minutes the hosts scored their first converted try, through Alexander Hind, but had to wait a further 20 minutes before scoring again - Josh Hammett kicking a penalty and then scoring from the kick-off, as Taunton allowed the home side to make easy yards up the touch-line and full back Tom O’Toole went over to make it a 15-0 lead.

With the away side down to 14, Max Norey yellow carded after a succession of offences by his team, home fly-half Hammett kicked a penalty and then converted his own try on the stroke of half time as he went through some non-existent Titans defence to make it a 25-0 at the interval.

The Taunton changing room would have seen a few home truths spoken about, and they came out a different team, going on the attack straight away, which resulted in pressure on the Barnes line and Chris Francis going over for their opening points.

The game then became a bit of tit-for-tat, as Barnes' Hind went in for a converted try before Noah Sixton crossed for the visitors.

Taunton then scored another, through Jarrard Hayler, who was helped over the line by the Titans forwards, before more poor defence allowed Barnes to score their fifth try, a simple missed tackle allowing Jamie Collins to run one in from outside the 22 without a hand laid on him.

Hayler then scored his second and with Gary Kingdom’s conversion the score was 39-24 with 10 minutes to go.

But the hosts put the game to bed with winger Robbie Martey once again exploiting weak defence.

Still Taunton kept coming, Dan Lee powering his way over for their bonus-point try, and from the kick-off the Titans secured the ball and created space for Sixton to race away and score.

Kingdom converted both with a drop goal to save time, but, as was typical of their day the visitors played out from defence looking for a losing bonus point and threw an intercept for the home side to score through O’Toole.

That secured them maximum points and showed Taunton how to play the game with commitment, intent, hard work and as a team.

The Titans remain second in the table, but just one point ahead of Henley and Canterbury now, and their next match is at home to league leaders Rams on Saturday, November 17 (ko 3pm).

Taunton Titans: Gary Kingdom, Noah Sixton (Jacob Nash 56), Ollie Rice, Nick Mason (c), Oscar Kolowski, Toby East (Jacob Nash 70), Lewis Webb, Connor Baker, Sam Williams (Chris Francis 40), Isaac Dalton (Alfie Petch 53), Stu Persey, Barrie-John Chapman (Daniel Ogden 49), Ratu Vakalutukali (Max Norey 75), Max Norey (Dan Lee 43), Jarrard Hayler.