Taunton United 43 Imperial RFC 5
A real tough old introduction to the season against Imperial RFC of Bristol.
Who if league structures worked would of been relegated last season.
The talents and determination of last season that took Taunton United out of the relegation zone and into a great position at the end of the season with a run in of 9 wins out of the last 11 games would mean nothing as the new season started and with the class of the Royal Marines (Toots, Sevvy & Spencer) who gave the side something special on the occasions they were available last year missing it wouldn't be easy, however it would be a new and exciting challenge.
The United were under no illusions as to what the plan was against this gritty hard side.
However the coaching staff needed to see how these very young former colts mixed with some new faces would react and gel. The challenge was there for all!
The early signs were good, ball was retained well and United were competitive at breakdowns. When the ball was won and moved quickly the signs were ominous for Imperial as Ashley Harney
, Tim Thompson caused Imperial all sorts of problems with their instinctive running lines and pace and thriving off of the halfbacks, Massingham and Ford's good intelligent quick distribution.
Early score's for Harney who ran through a broken Imperial defence and around the fullback, Thompson who just cut through with a superb running line off a super pass from 12 Josh Newman
and two well taken cons from Massingham settled the nerves. Imperial Mauled and ran one out, but Taunton defended well. The game developed really into Taunton's passing game and Imperials contact game. An opportunity came to Cleal and he unfortunately took the wrong decision cutting inside and not backing his pace, however he was not going to make the same mistake again and finished off another good passing movement with a ry in the corner.
United continued to play with width and were moving the ball from one side of the paddock to the other. The forwards led by John Mills and Wilf Rees
worked very hard and with Rob Carter
who played his first game in the second row making a huge contribution with his tackling and work at ruck time. Further tries came from good passing movements and on what was a very hot day and hard ground it should be expected that Taunton ran out of steam in the last 20 minutes. The back row of Richmond, Roberts and Cooper worked tirelessly throughout collectively their tackle & turnover rate was outstanding.
So there is some work on's and now some expectation as to what this united side can do and with the players from the wanderers side making one or two look over their shoulder we will see what happens. Coach Mark Hawkes
was really pleased with the way the team played and the absolute commitment shown by the players. He made special mention of Billy Massingham first senior game at 10 "absolutely outstanding" We look forward to what the season holds.
Tries:- 2 x Gauntlet, Roberts,Cleal,Thompson, Newman, Harney.A
Cons:- 4 x Massingham
1. Liam Cullen
2. John mills
3. Grant Gibson
4. Rob Carter
5. Wilf Rees
6. John Roberts
7. Josh Cooper
8. Dave Richmond
9. Andy Ford
10. Billy Massingham
11. George Gauntlet
12. Joshua Newman
13. Tim Thompson
14. Stuart Cleal
15. Ashley Harney
16. Billy Harney
17. Josh Hill
18. Josh Brown