Peter Gavin previews Worthing Raiders v Taunton Titans

Worthing Raiders v Taunton Titans

27thJanuary 2018 kick off 2pm

Taunton Titans travel up from Somerset this week to pay their 7th visit to Roundstone Lane for a National League fixture. Raiders were victorious in the equivalent fixture last season grabbing the spoils in a very exciting encounter (36-33). Our visit to Taunton last October was rather a one sided event (81-14).

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 known as Hyde Park (Rugby ground, Conference and Banqueting centre) 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 700AD) 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. King’s College a co-educational, secondary day and boarding school is situated in the town and has a fine sporting and academic reputation.

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 previous seasons they may have called upon players from Exeter University, although this connection, by design, is not so prevalent this season. The University ‘Saturday’ team play in South West 1 (West…L6), unbeaten so far and looking to be on course for promotion to L5.

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

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 (Worthing 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

7th October 2017 Titans 81 Raiders 14

Raiders, ravaged by injuries, travelled to unbeaten, near to table topping Titans and felt the full brunt of a rampant Somerset outfit. Titans had 4 tries in the bag within the first 20 minutes or so and Raiders had conceded 13 tries by the end. Matt McLean scored all the Raiders points converting both of his tries.

Titans: Kingdom, Fraser, Mason, Popham, Rice, East, Webb, Kenny, Hamilton, Dalton, Persey, Lugg, Vakalutukali, Fleming, Prior.

Bench: Francis, Tribble, Chapman, Frost, Banks.

Raiders: Leeming, Maslen, Miller, Forrest, Hampson, McLean, Boyland, Ajaji, Gearing-Grief, Litterick, Lee, Lake, Dawe, Whittall, Redmayne.

Bench: Harris, Adams, Gatford, Cleveland, Coyle.  

Titans last season…. W19/ D3…. 4th…… 105 points

Another impressive season finishing behind Chinnor who accumulated 122 points. A win at promoted Old Elthamians (16-22) stands out, but the defeat and a draw against Barnstaple (22-19 and 31 points apiece) and the home loss to Clifton (30-32) also stand out, but in the other direction! Gary Kingdom featured in all 30 matches gathering another 291points to add to his substantial collection. Stu Persey (lock) featured in 29, with half-back Lewis Webb involved in 28. Back-row forward Dan Frost scored 18 tries from his 27 appearances with Freddie Fraser and Nick Mason getting 12 apiece. Aron Struminski grabbed 11 from 13 appearances.

Titans so far this season………P19/ W13/ L6   4th with 68 points…Raiders 9th with 52 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). In between these defeats they put in a sterling performance to beat in form Redingensians (31-21). Normal service then resumed with 3 wins on the bounce, only for another defeat last week at Redruth (38-22).


As usual a list of the players used in the last few matches is provided along with a little further detail as to their credentials. Lewis Webb (scrum half or fly half) has featured in all 19 matches with tight head prop Isaac Dalton starting in 18. Freddie Fraser and Nick Mason have featured most weeks often as a partnership in the centre. Ratu Vakalutukali and Sam Prior are regulars in the back-row.

Dan Frost has missed a few matches as he has been on loan to Cornish Pirates. Unusually, Gary Kingdom has also been absent from the team sheet through injury, but he played a full 80 minutes at Redruth. He has still managed to rack-up another 143 points from his 11 appearances.

Titans have used 37 different players so far to fulfil the 19 fixtures.


Another tantalising encounter awaits with no doubt both teams looking to run the ball, try and get along to add your support and enjoy another great match at Roundstone Lane.


…..C’Mon Raiders!!!!

Name (Age)  *played 7th Oct Apps 2017-8 Total Join Points Honours Position / Prev Club/s Apps                    

 *Played v Raiders

Gary Kingdom* (35) 11 209 2010 6T/40C/11P  Devon 1714 pts for Titans Full Back: Exeter 121, Launceston 17, Plymouth 28, Bath,

Kingsbridge. (2071 points – career in National Leagues)

Aron Struminski  (25) 13 74 2012 15T Wing: Launceston*25, Exeter ‘A’, Exeter University
Ollie Rice* 14/1R 15 2017 15T Devon Wing: Honiton, Exmouth* 23
Jack Claydon (25) 7 95 2011 6T Somerset Wing: Minehead, Cambridge University RL
Nick Mason*24(c) 16 107 2013 6T Somerset Centre: Taunton Youth
Freddie Fraser* (23) 16/1R 103 2013 3T Centre: Withycombe
Toby East* (25) 15/1R 78 2014 1T/17C/2P Fly Half: Northumbria University
Lewis Webb* (29) 17/2R 104 2014 5T Cornwall Scrum Half: Launceston*133, Penryn 15
Connor Banks* (20) 4/7R 11 2017 3C Devon U20 Scrum Half: Ivybridge
Connor Baker 15/1R 16 2017 1T LH Prop: Hornets RFC
James Kenny* (18) 4/7R 11 2017 2T England U18 LH Prop: Bicton, Chiefs U18, Exeter College
Isaac Dalton* (24) 18 18 2017 Devon TH Prop: Honiton, Exmouth* 29
Charlie Tribble* 1/7R 19 2016 Prop: Sutton & Epsom, Cardiff RL
Aaron Wilman 0/2R 2 2017 Royal Navy Prop:
Chris Francis* (25) 7/6R 13 2017 2T Somerset Hooker: Filton College, Hornets, Swansea University,

Bridgend 19, Scarlets.

Paul Davis (23) 4/2R 83 2012 2T England Colleges Hooker/Wing Forward: Torquay, Brixham, Exeter Chiefs,

Exeter University

Andy Hamilton* 4/7R 11 2017 4T Hooker:
Dan Frost*(20) 10/3R 61 2015 8T England U18 Hooker/Wing Forward: Filton, Bath & Chiefs Academies,

Pirates 3.

Blake Lugg* (25) 9/4R 41 2016 Devon Lock: Tiverton
Brett Harvey (30) 10/4R 99 2012 4T England Colleges Somerset captain Lock: Sherbourne, Old Patesians 38
Stu Persey* 14 61 2015 1T Devon Lock: Cullompton
Andrew England 3/1R 4 2017 Lock:
Ratu Vakalutukali
* (28)
15/2R 67 2013 7T Somerset BS Wing Forward: Royal Navy
Jamie Fleming* (29) 8/5R 100 2010 OS Wing Forward: Exeter Chiefs 3.
Ben Oliphant- Thompson (20) 1/6R 17 2016 1T Ind. Sch. RFC Back Row: Blundells
Sam Prior * (29) 15/2R 104 2011 4T No 8: Dorchester, UWIC.