Peter Gavin previews Worthing Raiders v Taunton Titans

MATCH 3
Worthing Raiders v Taunton Titans
21st September 2019
kick off 3pm

Taunton Titans travel up from Somerset to make their ninth visit to Roundstone Lane for a National 2S fixture. Titans last visited on 27th of April for the 30th match of the 2018-9 season. A good crowd of 600+ were thoroughly entertained by an end of season spectacular, Raiders winning 66-31 (10 tries to 5).

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 Towergate 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 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.

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.
The club run 3 senior sides and a Colts. Youth and mini rugby take over on Sundays.

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 / 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 / W27 – T 23 / W 11th T 4th
2016/17: T 59 – W 19 / W36 – T 33 / W 12th T 4th
2017/18: T 81 – W 14 / W19 – T 25 / W 7th T 4th
2018/19: T 62 – W 24 / W66 – T 31 / W 9th T 5th

(Raiders edge it 9-7, although Titans have had the momentum in the last few seasons.)

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, Webb, Baker, Spurdle, Dalton, Reynolds, Chapman, Vakalutukali, Hayler, Prior.
Bench: Francis, Haines, England, Oliphant-Thompson, Banks.
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.

27th April 2019 Worthing Raiders 66 Taunton Titans 31
On a decent day weather-wise a good-sized crowd (600+) watched a proper game of rugby, but with the emphasis on entertaining with open play. Tries were recorded at regular intervals with Raiders grabbing 5 in each half. Titans were restricted to 1-4 on that count, but they shaded the aggregate 93-90!

Raiders: Barlow H, Maslen, Forrest J, Dawe, Barnes, McLean, Walsh, Birch, Luke, Sassone, Cuffe, Hammond, Maguire, Harris, Richards.
Bench: Gibson, Gatford, Cook, Holt, Lee.
Scorers: T: Dawe x3 (2, 38, 68m), McLean x 3 (9, 51, 77m), Barlow H (22m), Richards (30m), Luke (68m), Holt (72m) C: McLean x 8.

Titans: Baker S, Jess, Fraser, Popham, Johnson, Webb, Nash, Baker C, Hamilton, Dalton, Teague, Chapman, Ogden, Persey, Oliphant-Thompson.
Bench: Brooking, Rodd, Prior, Mallett, Baker R.
Scorers: Johnson (14m), Webb (43m), Chapman (56m), Baker S, (75m), Jess (79m). C: Baker S x3.

Titans last season…. W19 / L11…. 5th ……. 100 points……. Raiders 9th 68 points
Another good season, finishing well clear of 6th placed Clifton, 70 points, but a little behind 4th placed Henley Hawks, 120 points.

They were in the upper reaches of the table all season, but 7 of their 11 defeats were against the other promotion contenders. RAMS (Champions), TJs & Henley beating them home and away. Honours were even with play-off winners, Canterbury, the spoils going with the home team in tight encounters (23-22 & 26-24). The other defeats were on the road: Redruth (29-27), Barnes (51-38), Old Reds (22-17) and Raiders.

Lewis Webb once again topped the appearances league this season featuring in all 30 fixtures. Nick Mason was top try scorer with 16. Gary Kingdom was once again top points scorer with 176 from 25 appearances. Titans used 50 different players in the course of the season.

The season….so far P2/W2….10 points (3rd behind Hawks & TJs on points diff) ….Raiders 5th 9 points
Early days, but Titans have dispatched Bournemouth (49-12) and Redruth (29-12) in 5 pointer wins, although both fixtures have been at their ‘Towergate’ stronghold.

Players
As usual a list of the players used in the last fixture, against Redruth, is provided together with further detail as to their credentials. Many of the players listed have lined up against Raiders in previous encounters. New signings this season include full-back Oli Down from Crediton and James Tait a scrumhalf who was with Chiefs U18s and last season played at Plymouth Albion. They have also signed experienced winger Jack Arnott who has had spells with Plymouth and Pirates. They have also welcomed back experienced No 8 Dan Lee who has spent the last 3 or 4 seasons with Pirates.
In the squad used so far there are 8 players with 100+ appearances.

Once again, all the hallmarks are there for another enthralling encounters between the sides, who this time have unbeaten records to defend. The match against one of our longest standing league opponents always provides fantastic entertainment with great skills and often tries to savour.

Saturday can’t come along quickly enough…………

Please try to get along to add your touch-line support for the boys and to enjoy plenty of action with…… a win for Raiders!!!

….C’Mon Raiders!!!!

Name/Age
*played v Raiders 
Apps 19/20 Total Joined Points Honours Position / Previous Club/s Apps
Oli Down (22) 2 2 2019 1T Full Back: Crediton
Freddie Fraser* (25) 2 141 2013 1T Centre: Withycombe
Nick Mason* (26) Capt 2 137 2013 Somerset Centre: Taunton Youth
Tom Popham* (27) 2 120 2010 1T Somerset Centre: Exeter ‘A’
Jack Arnott (26) 2 2 2019 England U20s (3)- 2013 Wing: Chiefs 8, Plymouth Albion 81, Pirates 30
Gary Kingdom* (36) 2 249 2010 7C/3P Devon Fly Half: Exeter 128, Launceston17, Plymouth 31, Bath, Kingsbridge.
James Tait (19) 2 2 2019 1T Scrum Half: Chiefs U18 Academy, Plymouth Albion 11
Alex Rodd* (22) 2 7 2019 LH Prop: Crediton
Alex Spurdle* (26) 2 106 2013 1T England Colls Hooker: Exeter ‘A’, Exmouth, Axminster
Isaac Dalton* (27) 2 30 2017 1T Devon TH Prop: Honiton, Exmouth* 29
Cory Teague * (19) 2 18 2018 Cornwall U20 Lock: Wadebridge Camels, Chiefs Academy
Charlie Williams (22) 2 8 2018 1T Lock:
Julian Salvi (33) 1/1R 8 2018 1T Australia ‘A’ BS Wing Forward: Brumbies 64, Bath 29, Leicester Tigers 113, Exeter Chiefs 52
Brett Harvey* (31) 2 117 2012 2T England Colls Somerset capt OS Wing Forward: Sherbourne, Old Patesians 38
Dan Lee* 2 77 2013 No 8: Plymouth 3, Launceston 3, Pirates 58
BENCH
Barrie-John Chapman* (34) 0/2R 42 2015

2017

Cornwall Lock: Launceston*91, Canterbury 9, Redruth*17
Lewis Webb* (31) 0/1R 144 2014 1T Cornwall Scrum Half: Launceston*133, Penryn 15
Connor Baker* (23) 0/1R 44 2017 LH Prop: Hornets RFC
Chris Francis* (27) 0/2R 48 2017 Somerset Hooker: Filton College, Hornets, Swansea University, Bridgend 19, Scarlets.
Chris Courtier (25) 1/1R 2 2019 Cornwall Lock: Sidmouth, Launceston* 31, Plymouth
Played Recently Last Played
Aron Struminski* (26) 0/1R 102 2012 7th Sept Wing: Launceston*25, Exeter ‘A’, Exeter University
Arran Wilman* (28) 0/1R 9 2017 7th Sept

Royal Navy

Prop:

Team v Redruth 14th September 2019 W 29-12