Peter Gavin previews Raiders’ last match v Taunton Titans


Worthing Raiders v Taunton Titans

27th April 2019

Kick off 3pm

For the last match of the season Taunton Titans travel up from Somerset to make their eighth visit to Roundstone Lane for a National 2S fixture. Raiders made the trip to the Titans’ extensive facility, Hyde Park (now known as Commsplus Ltd Stadium.) way back in September for the first fixture of the season. It was a tough day out, but Raiders grabbed an all-important bonus point with the last play in the match.

Background stuff

Taunton RFC was founded in 1875 so it is up there with the oldest clubs, having been formed before the likes of London Scottish, Cardiff, Rosslyn Park and Saracens.

The club moved to their extensive facility, now re-named as Commsplus Ltd Stadium, in 2001 having played at Priory Park for the previous 66 years. The Bridgwater and Avon canal and the river Tone are nearby as is the M5 motorway. The surroundings are an area of outstanding natural beauty.

Historic Taunton (records go back to before 700 AD) is the County town of Somerset and home to Somerset County Cricket Club. Taunton is also home to 40 Commando Royal Marines. The area and the town is well known for Cider.

The club emerged through the South West leagues, going unbeaten in 2008-9. Back-to-back promotions elevated the club to National 2 South in 2010.

Titans have links with Exeter Chiefs. In earlier seasons they may have called upon players from Exeter University, although this connection, by design, is not now so prevalent. The University ‘Saturday’ team play in South West Premier (Level 5), having gained promotion last season.

 Worthing v Taunton

The results of the matches between the clubs and the relative league positions by season are:

2010/11  T 17 – W 26 W 62 – T 7 W 8th   T 7th in league
2011/12  T 18 – W 22 W 73 – T 5 W 3rd   T 11th
2012/13  T 40 – W 57 W 68 – T 0 W 2nd   T 9th  W 2nd (promoted)
2014/15  T 30 – W 17 W 27 – T 29 W 5th    T 3rd
2015/16  T 30 – W 12 W 27 – T 23 W 11th  T 4th
2016/17  T 59 – W 19 W 36 – T 33 W 12th  T 4th
2017/18  T 81 – W 14 W 19 – T 25 W 7th    T 4th
2018/19  T 62 – W 24    


1st September 2018 Taunton Titans 62 Worthing Raiders 24

A tough fixture for the first match of the season with the hosts running in 5 tries in each half. Raiders kept plugging away and to their credit salvaged a 4T bonus point, bagging two tries in the 78th and 80th minute. Nick Mason scored 4 tries for Titans.

Titans: Kingdom, Kolowski, Mason, Fraser, Rice, Brown S, Webb, Baker C, Spurdle, Dalton, Reynolds, Chapman, Vakalutukali, Hayler, Prior.

Bench: Francis, Haines, England, Oliphant-Thompson, BanksC.

Scorers: T:Hayler (6m), Mason (23,35,50,62m), Brown (37m), Rice (41m), Kolowski (71m), Valalutukli (74m):

C: Kingdom x5.

Raiders: Brown, Maslen, Sims, ForrestJ, Barnes, McLean, Boyland, Cook, Birch, Gatford, Spurgeon, Dingle, Whittall, Harris, Luke.

Bench: Grief, Adams, Wilkie, Walsh, Lee.

Scorers: T: Brown (16m), Lee (70m), Walsh (78m), Barnes (80m) C: McLean x2.

Titans last season…. W20/ L10…. 4th (again)….. 101 points

Another impressive season finishing 4th, behind Cinderford, Chinnor (both promoted) and Rams (112 points).

Titans set off at pace, unbeaten in their first 9 fixtures! Match 10 was at Hyde Park against Henley Hawks, most pundits had it as a home win banker….(31-42)!!! This result seemed to rock the boat and by match 16 they had lost another 4…..LIWG (45-38), Chinnor (13-7), Cinderford (14-33) and TJs (26-20). Promotion prospects by this stage had more or less evaporated. Further defeats were at Redruth (38-22), Rams (31-15), Chinnor (43-56), Cinderford (41-24). The size of defeat in the last home match of the season (26-66) to Tonbridge Juddians was a surprise to many followers.

Lewis Webb and Freddie Fraser were both involved in 28 of the fixtures. Aron Struminski was top try scorer with 21 from 21 appearances. Ollie Rice was player of the season after 24 appearances and 18 tries. Gary Kingdom was once again top points scorer with 232 from his 22 appearances (he usually plays in every game but missed 8 injured.).

This season….so far P29/ W19/ L10 5th   99 points         (Raiders 10th 63 points)

Titans have been in the upper reaches of the table all season, but 7 of their 10 defeats have been against the sides above them: Rams (Champions), TJs & Henley beating them home and away. Honours were even with play-off contenders Canterbury, the spoils going with the home team in tight encounters (23-22 & 26-24). Their other 3 defeats have all been on the road: Redruth (29-27), Barnes (51-38) & recently at Old Reds (22-17). In their last 2 fixtures they have beaten Dings (32-30) and Guernsey (19-50). They will retain 5th place in the league irrespective of the Raiders result as Bury St Edmunds are presently in 6th spot with 68 points. Henley and TJs both have 115 points.


As usual a list of the players used in the last fixture against Guernsey is provided together with further detail as to their credentials. Many of the players listed have lined up against Raiders in previous encounters, but wingers Matt Jess and James Keay, lock forward Cory Teague and prop Alfie Petch are new to the ranks since the match in September. Half back Lewis Webb has been involved in all the fixtures so far and Gary Kingdom is once again leading the points scorers with 178.

This fixture has all the hallmarks for an entertaining encounter with both teams renowned for open, end to end, try scoring rugby. It should make for an unmissable match to see out another exciting season at Roundstone Lane. Please try to get along to add your touch line support for the boys and to hopefully enjoy plenty of tries and a win for Raiders!!!


…..C’Mon Raiders!!!!

Name/Age *played 1st Sept Apps 2018-9 Total Join Points Honours Position / Prev Club/s Apps *Played v Raiders
Gary Kingdom* (36) 23/2R 246 2010 1T/58C/ 19P  Devon Full Back: Exeter 128, Launceston 17, Plymouth 31, Bath, Kingsbridge.
Matthew Jess (35) 4 4 2019 4T Cornwall Eng Count Wing: Pirates 78, Gwent D, Launceston 33, Exeter Chiefs 187.
Freddie Fraser* (24) 22 136 2013 3T   Centre: Withycombe
Tom Popham (27) 1 117 2010 Somerset Centre: Exeter ‘A’
James Keay (23) 3 3 2018   Wing: Bath Academy
Sam Baker (24) 1/3R 4   1C   Fly Half: Cinderford*20
Lewis Webb* (30) 28/1R 142 2014 3T Cornwall Scrum Half: Launceston*133, Penryn 15
Connor Baker* (23) 20/1R 42 2017 4T   LH Prop: Hornets RFC
Chris Francis* (26) 18/7R 46 2017 10T Somerset Hooker: Filton College, Hornets, Swansea University, Bridgend 19, Scarlets.
Isaac Dalton* (26) 18/7R 48 2017 2T Devon TH Prop: Honiton, Exmouth* 29
Cory Teague (19) 10/4R 14 2018 3T Cornwall U20 Lock: Wadebridge Camels, Chiefs Academy
Barrie-John Chapman* (34) 13/1R 37 2015 2017 1T   Lock: Launceston*91, Canterbury 9, Redruth*17
Daniel Ogden (23) 15/4R 31 2014 Somerset OS Wing Forward: Hornets
Ratu Vakalutukali
* (29)
14/1R 85 2013 8T Somerset BS Wing Forward: Royal Navy
Ben Oliphant- Thompson*(21) 18/5R 48 2016 1T ISRFC No 8: Blundells
Alexander Rodd (22) 1/3R 4 2019   Prop: Crediton
Alfie Petch (19) 6/8R 15 2018 2T England U20 Prop: Bude, Ivybridge College, Chiefs Academy
Sam Prior * (30) 13/7R 133 2011 2T   No 8: Dorchester, UWIC.
Brett Harvey (31) 3/4R 115 2012 Eng Colls Somerset c Lock: Sherbourne, Old Patesians 38
Connor Banks* (21) 0/2R 21 2017 Devon U20 Scrum Half: Ivybridge
Played Recently Last Played  
Nick Mason* (25) Capt 22/1R 130 2013 16T Somerset 6th April C: Taunton Youth
Toby East (26) 16/1R 99 2014 3T/5C/ 2P 6Th April Fly Half: Northumbria University
Ollie Massey-Birch (26) 6/2R 58 2014 2T 6th April Devon U20 Scrum Half: UWIC
Max Woodward (24) 7/3R 10 2019 4T 6th April OS Wing Forward: Cardiff Blues, Clifton*84
Andy Hamilton (23) 0/10R 28 2017 6th April Hooker:
Aron Struminski (26) 20 102 2012 6T 30th March Wing: Launceston*25, Exeter ‘A’, Exeter University
Julian Salvi (33) 6 6 2018 1T Australia ‘A’ 30th March Wing Forward: Brumbies 64, Bath 29, Leicester Tigers 113, Exeter Chiefs 52
Ollie Rice* (26) 20 44 2017 10T Devon    23rd March Wing: Honiton, Exmouth*23
Jarrard Hayler* (24) 17/3R 20 2018 12T Royal Navy 24th Feb Back Row: Plymouth Albion 11, Barnstaple 16, Saracens