National 2 South

Leicester Lions 12, Taunton Titans 6

THE Titans travelled to Leicester for their first ever encounter with the Lions (not the Tigers!), new boys to National League 2 South having been moved sideways from the beginning of this season, writes Dick Macey.

Club-wise they proved to be the jovial, hospitable and welcoming outfit you might expect in rugby circles but, in rugby terms, the Taunton boys came up against the most determined, mean and obdurate defence they are ever likely to encounter.

The pitch resembled a ploughed field with a glue-pot surface that made swift movement a near impossibility.

Added to the Titans’ difficulties was the fact that the pitch was narrower than they are used to and therefore they struggled throughout the game to make any headway or find a way to penetrate the Lions very effective and determined defence.

The Taunton team are used to spreading the ball wide and using pace outside to provide the openings but finding themselves so hemmed in they were never able to crack open the Lions’ den.

It must also be said the Titans failed to adapt to the difficult conditions and provided the home side with the two early opportunities to score tries by dropping passes and mis-directing kicks, which proved their undoing.

The Lions were 12-0 ahead within 18 minutes due solely to the Titans not being in gear.

An analysis of Leicester’s playing record will reveal they have conceded the least number points of any side in the league this season and, while they don’t seem to score too freely, by freezing out the oppositions you are always in with a shout and so it proved on Saturday.

The Titans might feel aggrieved at the outcome of a game they would have felt they could have made more of but despite their herculean tackling throughout, particularly by the forwards, their midlands opponents were too wily on the day to leave the door open.

Despite the Titans dominating the second half play, it was the Lions who deserved the medals for their splendid resolute defensive effort.

The Titans could take a crumb of comfort from the losing bonus point earned through the boot of Gary Kingdom’s penalty in the last play of the game.

Wins for Tonbridge Juddians and Henley Hawks have seen Taunton slip from top to third ahead of next week’s trip to Sutton & Epsom.

Taunton Titans: Connor Baker, George Gosling, Isaac Dalton; Barry Chapman, Charlie Williams; Ben Oliphant-Thompson, Stuart Persey, Dan Lee; Lewis Webb, Gary Kingdom; Tom Popham, Tom Wyatt; Ollie Down, Jack Arnott, Greg Kitson. Replacements: Alex Spurdle, Gary Carpenter, Dan Ogden, Brett Harvey, James Tait