National 2 (South)

Old Redcliffians 5, Taunton Titans 33

After spluttering along for three or four weeks having to accommodate changes forced upon him by enforced changes brought about by a crop of injuries, particularly in the backs, Titans head coach Tony Yapp took a bull by the horns at Old Redcliffians and completely re-jigged his side to enthrallingly good effect, writes Dick Macey.

The Old Reds, whilst not enjoying the most successful of seasons, are always difficult opponents, particularly on their own sloping pitch which had taken a pounding from the recent rain.

On this occasion the pitch, whilst gluey and very heavy in parts, benefitted from some assiduous forking attention and some late morning sun and wind, and the Titans made the very best use of going down the slope in the first half.

Within 25 minutes they were 21-0 up and flying, scoring their fourth try and taking the bonus point to go 26-0 to the good by half time.

Tries were scored by Ben Oliphant-Thompson, Toby East, “Toots” Vatalutukali and Jack Arnott with Gary Kingdom showing his kicking qualities with three conversions.

The second session brought Old Reds more into the game with the slope in their favour, their knowledge of how to play it through some astute kicking and a raising of the intensity of their game they put the Titans to the test.

The Taunton defence proved solid and reliable, however, and the home side’s increased effort only yielded one unconverted try.

At the other end, the Titans found a way through for East to score his second, converted by Kingdom, to take the game way beyond Old Reds’ grasp.

This was a thoroughly deserved victory for the Titans with a totally committed team effort sustained throughout.

The satisfaction heard and seen in the team huddle at the final whistle gave evidence of the coach’s urgings being heeded and a game plan adhered to.

The re-jigged three-quarter line had the admiring support purring and trusting to luck that the mood continued into next week’s encounter with the old enemy, Redruth, when the Titans travel down to down at Hell Fire Corner.

1. Alex Rodd; 2. George Gosling; 3. Isaac Dalton; 4. Barry Chapman; 5. Cory Teague; 6.Ben Oliphant-Thompson; 7. Ratu Vatalutukali; 8. Dan Lee(c); 9. James Tait; 10. Sam Baker; 11. Jack Arnott; 12. Lewis Webb; 13. Toby East; 14. Greg Kitson; 15. Gary Kingdom.

This game brought the curtain down on the half way mark for the season and shows the Titans now in a dog fight with two other sides, Tonbridge Juddians and Henley Hawks.

Two points separate the top three sides and a gap of 10 points has opened up ahead of the chasing pack.

If the Titans can notch up the points against Redruth then January is going to prove pivotal to the Taunton boys’ promotion ambitions as they take on those other two top sides.