National 2 South

Taunton Titans 43, Westcliff 10

Having become used to somewhat timorous game starts in the recent past it is refreshing to now see the Titans bursting out of the blocks from the opening whistle to put their opponents on an immediate back foot, writes Dick Macey.

This was most marked in Saturday’s game when the Taunton side welcomed Westcliff to the Towergate Stadium and had achieved their four-try bonus point within the first 25 minutes.

This power play took the stuffing out of the visitor’s resistance with the result thatdespite their gutsy, dogged determination to show they were made of stronger stuff, Westcliff were left with a mountain to climb and were not ever allowed to fight their way back into the game.

The Titans made excellent use of the strong wind at their backs in the first half, with a forward drive over the line touched down by Alex Spurdle getting the scoring underway.

Then came two quick scores brought about by winger Oscar Kolowski’s elusive, swift running and the early onslaught was rounded off by debutant Jermaine Jones, who made an impressive show at centre.

All four tries were converted by Gary Kingdom, whose astute use of the wind when making those kicks, particularly from the touch line, showed what a master he is of his craft.

The Titans went in at half-time 33-5 up with Ratu 'Toots' Vatalutulaki nabbing another for Taunton and Westcliff managing to claim an unconverted try in response.

The increasingly difficult headwind was the problem for the Titans to face throughout the second session and this time they showed how improved they have become by displaying their ability to change strategy to meet the circumstances, clinging on tightly to the ball when in hand and impressive support play ensuring error-free exchanges.

Their skills were further rewarded with tries by centre Tom Popham and flanker Julian Salvi, stretching the Titans’ lead which was dented only slightly by a well-worked Westcliff unconverted try leaving the final score 43-10.

This was a fully deserved Taunton victory but in conclusion the home side were full of admiration for their hard-working opponents.

Titans: Connor Baker, Alex Spurdle, Gary Carpenter, Cory Teague, Charlie Williams, Ratu Vatalutukali, Julian Salvi, Dan Lee, James Tait, Lewis Webb, Jermaine Jones, Tom Popham, Oscar Kolowski, Gary Kingdom. Replacements: Chris Francis, Sonny Haines, Barry Chapman, Sam Prior, Nick Mason.

This coming Friday evening, the Titans travel just up the road for the local derby game with Clifton (kick off 7pm).

The hosts have enjoyed an encouraging run of results and they now stand fifth in the league so the Titans have it all to do if they are to remain in the top three (or is it four?) team dog fight for the promotion seeking places.

The following week (Feb 15) the Titans will be playing at home against Esher, an attractive fixture which will accompany the Former Players lunch for which over 100 have already registered their intention to attend.

Week on week the excitement of this season is building and is the better for the growing support the Titans are experiencing.