National 2 South
Taunton Titans 38, Old Albanian 36

TAUNTON Titans bounced back from the previous week's defeat... but only just, as visitors Old Albanian pushed them all the way to the finish line.

It was the visitors who dominated the opening quarter at the Towergate Stadium, with phase after phase of pressure and the Titans unable to get out of their own half.

Home centre Nick Mason then mistimed an attempted interception and was sent to the sin bin, with Old Albanian kicking to the corner and picking up the first converted try of the day with a rolling maul.

But soon the 14-man hosts were level, as Brett Harvey collected a lineout and offloaded to Charlie Williams, who beat two defenders to score.

Gary Kingdom - on his 251st Taunton appearance - converted to make it 7-7.

Prop Isaac Dalton then continued his rich vein of tryscoring form for the home side, but a converted try at the other end meant the score was 14-14 going into half-time.

The Titans made a bright start to the second half, securing the bonus point as winger Jack Arnott collected a crossfield kick to score, and then full-back Tom Wyatt crashing through for the fourth try, which was converted to make the score 26-14.

That lead was stretched further, to 33-14, when Wyatt's quick feet and offload set up Oli Down to go over, with Kingdom adding the extras.

Old Albanian finally got on the board in the second half with a converted try, but then Williams scored his second try, as hesitation from the visitors in clearing their lines allowed the Taunton flanker to stretch over and score.

Heading into the closing stages, the home side held a 38-21 lead, but they so nearly blew it, as the visitors scored another converted try to cut the deficit to 10 points.

With three minutes to go, Andy England was shown yellow, and the penalty was kicked successfully to leave the score at 38-31.

From a lineout on the Taunton 5m line, Old Albanian got in again, but needing the two points to tie the game, the conversion was pulled wide and the Titans had survived.

Taunton Titans: Alex Rodd, George Gosling, Isaac Dalton, Brett Harvey, Barrie-John Chapman, Charlie Williams, Ratu Vakalutukali, Dan Lee; Lewis Webb, Gary Kingdom, Oli Down, Tom Popham, Nick Mason, Jack Arnott, Tom Wyatt. Replacements: Alex Spurdle, Connor Baker, Andy England, Ben Oliphant-Thompson, James Tait.

Sitting second in the National 2 South standings, the Titans' next match is away to bottom side Westcliff, who have lost all six games played so far, next Saturday (ko 3pm).