|29th Sep 2018||3:00 pm||National League 2 South||2018/19|
TAUNTON TITANS 23 CANTERBURY 22
By Andy Rogers
With the last kick of this pulsating west Country battle a conversion attempt from Canterbury’s Ollie Best sailed just wide to give Taunton the slenderest of winning margins. This despite Canterbury outscoring this season’s early league leaders by four tries to three.
In bright sunshine and with perfect conditions for running rugby the early stages saw both sides threaten with ball in hand.
However, it was the ever reliable Gary Kingdom who slotted two penalty goals to see Titans into a six-point lead. Both sides probed for openings but neither could establish any real mastery with Canterbury working overtime to contain Taunton’s powerful No 8 Sam Prior while the pace and guile of his opposite number, the city club’s Seb Roche, always carried a threat from the base of the scrum.
Then, on 36 minutes Canterbury struck. A solid scrum, a flowing move and an injection of pace from the elusive Aiden Moss released JJ Murray to beat the cover. Harvey Young landed a tricky conversion to push his side into the lead. That advantage could have been extended by half time had crucial decisions gone Canterbury’s way. Roche looked to have been denied a clear try scoring opportunity when taken out by a high tackle. The resultant yellow card for Taunton’s impressive Fijian back row Ratu Vakalutukali being scant consolation. Then from the second half restart it was that man Roche who again broke but with the line at his mercy he was pulled back by the referee for a crossing offence.
Taunton rubbed salt into the wound by creating a catch and drive try for Jamie Fleming before Moss, feeding of a Sam Goatley line break, was controversially judged to be on the end of a forward pass.
Crucial as this period was, Taunton were always a danger and as defensive gaps began to appear they produced another catch drive score through Jarrard Hayler.
Canterbury were now looking down the barrel but to their credit they responded. Another break by Goatley, a clever offload and some smart interplay gave Charlie Grimes the space to reduce the deficit to four points.
Taunton seemed to have wrapped up the game when Vakalutukali crossed fo
r his side’s third try, converted by Kingdom, but the city side responded magnificently, running the ball from deep at every opportunity. Goatley sent Ollie Best over between the posts, the rushed conversion failed, but Canterbury were not finished. Keeping the ball alive they won a penalty and a catch and drive and a darting run saw scrum half Dan Smart touch down out wide. That last kick drifted agonisingly wide and the city club had to settle for two bonus points.
Supporters Man of the match: Jamie Stephens
3 1 2 0
Aaron Cooper Prop 0 0 0 0 Aiden Moss Full-back 0 0 0 0 Charlie Grimes Substitute 1 0 0 0 Daniel Smart Scrum-half 1 0 0 0 Harvey Young Fly-half 0 1 0 0 James Green Substitute 0 0 0 0 Jamie Stephens Flanker 0 0 0 0 Jarvis Otto Substitute 0 0 0 0 Jonathan Murray Wing 1 0 0 0 Louis Whetton Substitute 0 0 0 0 Matt Corker Second Row 0 0 0 0 Oliver Best Substitute 1 0 0 0 Ricky Mackintosh Wing 0 0 0 0 Royce Cadman Second Row 0 0 0 0 Sam Goatley Centre 0 0 0 0 Sam Sterling Centre 0 0 0 0 Samuel Kenny Prop 0 0 0 0 Seb Clark Flanker 0 0 0 0 Seb Roche Number Eight 0 0 0 0
Tristan King Hooker 0 0 0 0
Total 4 1 0 0
|Matt Corker||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Royce Cadman||Second Row||0||0||0||0|
|Seb Roche||Number Eight||0||0||0||0|