National One Rugby: Taunton Titans 40-18 Rosslyn Park

TAUNTON Titans have recorded their first win of the 2023/24 National One Rugby season after defeating Rosslyn Park at the weekend.

In the match played at Veritas Park, in front of a 711 strong crowd, the Titans came out on top 40 points to 18.

The Taunton side looked much improved from their opening six defeats in the campaign and showed levels of passion and determination throughout that helped them to the win.

The visitors kicked the game off at 3pm and in the early exchanges there was a few shaky moments for Taunton. They made an unforced error and lost the opening two lineouts.

However, spurred on by some strong runs through the middle from Sam Prior and George Gosling, the Titans gained momentum.

In the 13th minute that turned into the opening try as Ratu Vakalutukali found space in the line to score next to the posts. Luis Sinclair converted to make it 7-0.

It was clear that the home side meant business as they were celebrating big tackles leading to errors and motivating one another constantly.

The doubled the lead in the 22nd minute when young fly-half Sinclair picked out Charlie Wright with a great pass to score. Sinclair added the extras for 14-0.

With a solid lead now, Taunton worked on the rugby basics to control the game out until halftime.

In doing so, they were awarded two penalties and chose to kick for goal on both occasions. Sinclair scored both penalty goals to take the lead to 20-0 after 35 minutes.

However, soon after the second penalty goal, Rosslyn Park picked up a try, really against the run of play. It went unconverted and the score was 35-5.

There was a final say in the first half as Sinclair scored a third penalty goal which saw the half end 23-5. Sinclair's kicking ability was clear to see and it definitely has given the Titans an extra edge for scoring points.

In the second half Taunton started as they meant to go on. Fed the ball off the back of a scrum, Sinclair ran at the line before playing a cut out pass to Noah Fenton who side stepped the defender before sprinting to the line for a try. Sinclair converted, 30-5.

For about 15 minutes following that score Taunton ran the ball consistently hard and straight and it tired the Rosslyn Park defence. At one point, the Titans ran through 19 phases of possession.

Sinclair scored yet another penalty to take the score to 33-5 and shortly after, Fenton capitalised on a loose ball to run in uncontested for his second try of the afternoon. Sinclair scored the conversion to make it 40-5.

There was two men shown yellow cards for the final ten minutes, both number nines, meaning Jordan Petherbridge was off for the remainder.

In those final ten minutes Park ran in two tries, one converted, to pull the score back to 40-18 but they were merely consolation points.

The Titans earned maximum points in the win, deservedly so. They now have two weeks off from league fixtures, next up is Chinnor at home on November 4.