Taunton Titans took on Bournemouth RFC at Hyde Park for the last game of the 2013 – 2014 season trying to maintain their unbeaten home record. With a packed out pre-match lunch the expectant crowd were hoping to end the season in style however already relegated visitors Bournemouth had other ideas and scored a converted try in the first minute when an unfamiliar defensive lapse in midfield let them stroll over.
The crowd went silent for a while but the Titans of this season weren’t going to be put off by a small mistake. Working their way up the field playing against a strong wind the Titans got a lineout on the Bournemouth 22 meter line and the forwards decided to flex their muscles. A clean lineout catch and the drive set up the forwards started to move forward. It moved slowly at first but it soon became a maul with purpose and started to charge towards the line. Bournemouth couldn’t stop the tidal wave and number 8 and Captain Dan Lee dropped over the line for the Titans opening try.
Talking of tidal waves the next on the score sheet for the Titans, after a Bournemouth penalty, was prop Jake Woolmore who was the lucky recipient of some great approach work from the backs and forwards as it has been all season. It was fitting for the first two trys to be scored by the only two players who have started in all 30 league games in this campaign. This was converted by fly half Gary Kingdom.
The forwards then started to turn the screw and dominated the visitors in the lineout, the breakdown and most of all the scrum. With a scrum on the Bournemouth 5 meter line, a dip and a shove and the Titans pack drove Bournemouth off their own ball and kept on driving and when the pack was over the line 2nd row Brett Harvey pounced on the ball for the Titans 3rd try.
The 4th and bonus point try went to centre Ratu ‘Toots’ Vakalutukali after only 25 minutes. From the kick off Ben Turner collected it and set up a ruck, quick ball was fed to Paul Davis on the charge who broke the first tackle and took the ball into the opposition half. An off load to Jamie Fleming and another quick ruck ball was fed along the line to ‘Toots’ who brushed off his tackler and raced away to the try line from the Bournemouth 10 meter line. This was converted by Kingdom which took the score to 24 -7. This is how the score stayed until half time.
After their last half time team talk for the season the Titans came out and started where they left off and scored a try through centre Freddie Fraser after only 3 minutes. Once again there was some great interplay between the backs and forwards and Fraser collected the ball around the half way line and had the pace to out sprint the covering defence to claim the score. This was converted by Kingdom to take the score to 31 – 10.
10 minutes later with Bournemouth reduced to 13 men after two yellow cards within a minute of each other the Titans pack camped in the Bournemouth 22. As they moved forward a scrum was awarded to them on the Bournemouth 5 meter line. The packed dipped and went for the push over but as the scrum wheeled up on the left hand side and scrum half Jack Conway picked the ball up and skipped over untouched to score on his last appearance for the Titans as he moves away in the summer. This took the score to 36 – 10.
Only 5 minutes later starting deep in their own half and after several phases Paul Davis who carried 4 times during the build up scored another try. The score now stood at 41 – 10 and the Titans defence decided to start the off season early and the defence switched off and allowed Bournemouth in for 2 trys.
With Bournemouth now enjoying their best spell of the game and back to their full 15, with the sin bins returning to the pitch, they threw everything at the Titans before the Titans 8th try was scored when Nick Mason intercepted deep in his own half and showed a clean pair of heels to score under the posts. Head Coach Tony Yapp who came on as a replacement fittingly kicked the last points of the season. With that conversion it took Tony’s personal career points total in League rugby which covers all the leagues from the Premiership down to National League 2 to over 3000 points which is a remarkable achievement.
Bournemouth scored the last try of the day and took the final score to 48 – 27. The Titans maintained their unbeaten home record and also recorded a win against every team in the league which was a great way to sign off for the summer.