National One Rugby: Taunton Titans 59-28 Leeds Tykes

IN front of a bumper 1,142 strong crowd, the Taunton Titans confirmed their place in the National One Rugby competition with a convincing win over Leeds Tykes.

Results had to go their way elsewhere and indeed Rams defeated Esher to confirm their relegation and Taunton’s safety.

Safety is a big deal for Taunton Rugby Club and deservedly so, this club will now begin preparations for their third consecutive season in the National League.

This was indeed a must win match for Taunton though and from start to finish they were in control.

After a strong start, the Titans scored in the sixth minute when Ratu Vakalutukali crossed near the posts to open the scoring. It was converted for 7-0.

The pressure continued and in the 10th minute Jordan Venter crossed on the wing rather easily and Iwan Jenkins converted again to make it 14-0.

Noah Fenton got amongst the points when he scored on the opposite wing in the 13th minute, it too was converted by Jenkins again.

Titans were well in control and Leeds looked already beaten, however the visitors pulled a try back almost out of nothing in the 21st minute.

They ran the ball from inside their own half and bundled through the Titans’ defence to score under the posts. Converted for 21-7.

Almost instantly in reply Taunton snapped back into action as a line break from Immanuel Feyi-Waboso set up Ewan Richards to score. The conversion was good to take it to 28-7.

In the 30th minute Taunton were in again on the back of a maul that saw Alex Spurdle cross over, again Jenkins converted to make it 35-7.

Leeds stuck in playing decent in the attack and they scored a second try in the 39th minute, similar to the first really, they threw the ball around to find gaps in the defence.

Taunton we’re held up over the line right on half time, stopped by some strong Leeds defence but at the break it was 35-14.

Elsewhere, Esher were beating Rams 19-12 at half time in their must win match, meaning at the break Taunton were going down.

Taunton started the second half as they finished the first as Harry strong crossed with ease in the 44th minute, converted by Jordan Petherbridge this time to make it 40-14.

Iwan Jenkins picked up an injury and was subbed off for Taunton in that attack.

The game relaxed a little for the next ten minutes but good news came in for Taunton in that time as Rams equalised against Esher. Taunton were now safe as the scores stood.

Leeds pulled a third try back in the 60th minute and it was converted for 42-21.

However, Taunton went further in front through a Ben Olliphant-Thompson try just to the right of the posts and the score was 47-21.

A penalty try given was awarded to Leeds in the 69th minute to take the score to 47-28, however that would be their last score.

George Gosling picked up a try for Taunton in the 75th minute right under the posts after some great solo work and Petherbridge converted for 54-28.

After persistence on the line and a yellow card for Leeds, Isaac Dalton snuck over the line to score the final points of the match and the score was 59-28.

Elsewhere, Rams went on to beat Esher 33-19 away from home to make certain Taunton’s safety.

A great finish for Taunton after a shaky season in parts, however as mentioned already, the Titans have shown they deserve a place in this league. On to 2023/24!