National 2 South
Taunton Titans 35, Clifton 27

JACK Arnott scored a second-half hat-trick as Taunton Titans breezed past Clifton under Friday night lights at the Towergate Stadium.

The visitors had led 8-7 at half-time, only for the wind-assisted Titans to break free after the interval and go five points clear at the top of the National 2 South table – for 24 hours at least.

Clifton came into the game in good form, and they edged a scrappy first half with the wind behind them.

It was the home side who went ahead, Isaac Dalton setting up Chris Courtier to go over for a try which Gary Kingdom converted.

But the visitors hit back, with one disallowed try followed by a successful penalty goal, and then a score in the corner which went unconverted.

One point down at the break, Taunton came out for the second half with a significant wind advantage, and they soon made that pay as a good move ended with Arnott sprinting over for his first try of the evening.

Kingdom converted from wide out, and then saw his clearing kick hacked on by Arnott for another try, and with the extra points it was 21-8.

Arnott’s third try, and the Titans’ bonus point score, came when Clifton were caught trying to play from deep and Thomas Wyatt’s offload set up the winger to go over once more.

Prop Dalton then continued his fine try scoring form this season, his eighth score of the campaign putting the hosts 35-8 up.

Having seen his side sprint into a commanding lead, the disappointing thing for Titans head coach Tony Yapp would have been that they allowed the visitors back into the game.

With Andy England, Barrie-John Chapman and Courtier all seeing yellow for the home side, Clifton went over for three tries – two of them converted – to secure a bonus point, and make the Titans’ winning margin far less comfortable.

Taunton Titans: Alex Rodd, Alex Spurdle, Isaac Dalton, Barrie-John Chapman, Chris Courtier, Ben Oliphant-Thompson, Brett Harvey, Dan Lee; James Tait, Lewis Webb, Oscar Kolowski, Nick Mason, Thomas Wyatt, Jack Arnott, Gary Kingdom. Replacements: George Gosling, Connor Baker, Andy England, Stuart Persey, Greg Kitson.

Next Saturday sees Taunton travel to Esher, who sit fifth in the table going into this weekend’s games.