RUGBY: Pre-season friendly - Taunton Titans 19pts, Weston Hornets 19 (From This is The West Country)
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RUGBY: Pre-season friendly - Taunton Titans 19pts, Weston Hornets 19
10:34am Friday 16th August 2013 in Sport
A MISH-MASH Titans squad comprised of over 40 players were given a strong test by visitors Hornets in an underwhelming encounter at Hyde Park on Friday evening.
There was little to cheer about for the Titans in the opening phases as Hornets came to play some tough-tackling rugby.
However with ten minutes gone some good Titans possession saw Jack Claydon released down the wing. The fast-footed speedster scythed his way downfield; showing impressive strength to fend off would be tacklers he raced under the posts for the first try.
Titans stepped up the pace with Popham and Plummer, both having a fine game overall, showing their class to make incisive breaks up field. Hornets responded with a textbook catch and drive try from a lineout proving a formidable tool for the visitors as they crashed over the line.
With their tails up Hornets pinned the Titans in their twenty-two once more and took a 7pts-12 lead.
The game continued to be an error-strewn affair, with the Titans showing individual flourishes that were undone by poor control in the loose or speculative passes in their eagerness to impress the watching coaches.
Hornets went further ahead in the third quarter when a cross-field kick caused more trouble than it should have, giving the visiting fullback a clear run to the line to move the score to 7pts-19.
The Titans finally got their act together in the final quarter. Picking up the pace noticeably they bombarded the Hornets defence in pursuit of the line. Eventually a quickly tapped penalty was fed right for impressive debutant Toots Vakalutukali to glide over in the corner to see the deficit reduced to seven points.
With the clock ticking perilously close to full time, the home side pushed hard for one more score. Mistakes continued to occur but the Titans pressed deep into Hornets territory, and in the last minute Popham saw a gap in midfield to cruise over near the posts. Plummer’s conversion drew them level as the final whistle blew.
The Titans’ next fixture sees them visit Devon neighbours Newton Abbott on Saturday before returning to Hyde Park on next Tuesday for an evening match against North Petherton (7.30pm).