TAUNTON Titans captain Nick Mason admitted his side "weren't really at it" during yesterday's 42-31 defeat at home to Henley Hawks.

The loss was Taunton's first of the season after nine straight wins and, though disappointed, Mason was keen not to let one off day tarnish what has been an impressive start.

Reflecting on the result, he said: "It's difficult, but if you'd offered us nine wins from our opening 10 games we probably would have taken it.

"We weren't at it throughout the game - we've been working a lot this week on our defence and making our tackles stick, and I don't think they did.

"They won the battle at the breakdown, got quick ball and made good use of it, whereas we weren't completely there, which is always a shame to admit. I hate to say it, but potentially I think they wanted it more."

A sluggish start by the hosts played a big part in the outcome, with Taunton 17-0 down after 15 minutes and left with a mountain to climb.

They also conceded within seconds of the restart in the second half as any hopes of a comeback faded away despite a spirited attacking effort which saw the Titans score five tries themselves.

"Whenever you are two scores behind you are always playing catch up," Mason said.

"Then, whenever we did close the gap, they would get a break and another try, so it felt like we were always chasing the game. We never settled into our plan.

"We were missing Gary [Kingdom] at the back who is a real talisman for us, but we should be able to deal with when he's not playing so I can't quite put my finger on why the match went as it did."

Taunton will now look to pick themselves up for next weekend's trip to London Irish Wild Geese, after which there is a two-week break before the Redingensians Rams visit Hyde Park.

"We were always unlikely to go the whole season unbeaten, so now it's down to how we turn up at training this week, right those wrongs and get back on track," Mason said.

"The beauty of it is we get to go again in seven days' time and try and tick all those boxes up at the Wild Geese."