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RUGBY: Taunton Titans overcome Exmouth
1:55pm Monday 24th February 2014 in Sport
TITANS recorded their their third away win of the season with a 36-20 success at Exmouth in National league 2 on Saturday.
Exmouth were beaten by 61 points at Hyde Park earlier in the campaign and were determined to put make a closer fight of it.
Extra spice was added with the presence of former Titans second row Chris Bentley in the Exmouth pack while Titans forwards coach Chris Brown was up against work colleague Jon Hill, the and Exmouth’s head coach.
The Titans took to the pitch with a much- changed side from previous weeks due to a spate of injuries and unavailabilities.
Titans handed League debuts to 19-year-old scum half Adam Conybeare and the not so young Altan Ozdemir at prop.
The back line saw a new formation with Nick Mason, who had another excellent game, moving to centre and Ratu ‘Toots’ Vakalutukali switching to the wing.
The game kicked off in sunshine but after the recent weather the pitch was unsurprisingly heavy in places.
Exmouth thundered into the Titans from the off. The normal opening jostling took place with the break down a fiercely contested area as was any contact area including scums and lineouts.
After some pressure in the Exmouth half Taunton opened the scoring with a penalty by full back Gary Kingdom after ten minutes.
The next period was all Exmouth as they camped in the Titans 22. With Exmouth pounding the Titans try line and several penalties being conceded, Exmouth could sense a try coming and kept going for scrums and line-outs instead of kicking for goal.
The penalty count grew too much for the referee and Will Webster took a ten minute rest.
Titans did hold out for a while but the opening try came in the 30th minute when Exmouth winger Richard Caldywould scored under the posts. Fly-half Rob Avery-Wright kicked the conversion.
Titans started to get some possession in the Exmouth half and after some good work from both the backs and forwards linking well Taunton scored at the ideal time just on the stroke of half time.
Winger Jack Claydon cutting back inside and outpaced the covering defence to score. Kingdom added the extras to leave it 10-7 to Titans at the break.
Exmouth started the brighter in the second period using the wind at their backs to push Taunton back to their 22 whenever the visitors gave up possession.
From a line-out Exmouth set up a driving maul and as they marched towards the line flanker Dave Bargent burst off the side and scored. Avery-Wright added the conversion, giving Exmouth a 14-10 lead with 30 minutes to go.
Taunton kicked into gear and the backs and forwards started to combine once again with some great carries by captain Dan Lee, centre Tom Popham, Nick Mason and Ratu Vakalutukali.
It was after one of these phases as Taunton moved up the field that second row Ben Turner burst through the middle and scored a try with Kingdom again adding the extras.
The score made it 17-14 to Titans and marked the start of ten minutes of tit-for-tat scoring.
Two minutes later Avery-Wright added a penalty to tie the scores 17 -17.
This was followed by a fine try by centre Tom Popham, converted by Kingdom which took the score to 24-17 and gave the Titans the lead for the fourth time – an advantage they wouldn’t concede for the rest of the game.
Avery-Wright added another penalty and Dan Lee scored a try, his ten of the season taking the score to 29-20 with ten minutes to go.
This still left time for Claydon’s second try of the game.
As Exmouth tired, Taunton used the space well and fly-half Jamie Forrester threw out a long pass which Kingdom passed on to Claydon just inside the Exmouth half.
With a couple of steps past the defenders and a turn of speed Claydon cut back in and beat the covering defence once again to dive Chris Ashton- like under the posts. Kingdom added the simple conversion.
Titans: 15 G Kingdom, 14 Ratu Vakalutukali, 13 Nick Mason, 12 Tom Popham, 11 Jack Claydon, 10 Jamie Forrester, 9 Adam Conybeare, 8 Sam Richardson, 7 Will Webster (Ash Harney 65), 6 Dan Lee (captain), 5 Ben Turner, 4 Brett Harvey, 3 Jake Woolmore, 2 Jon Gatford (Alex Spurdle 69), 1 Altan Ozdemir (George Cooper 40). Replacements not used: Harry Collins and Jacob Childs.