Raiders vs Titans
By Katie Daunt
Raiders 19 Taunton Titans 50
WITH relegation confirmed it was always the intention to give key players a bit of a rest for a large chunk of the penultimate home game of the season for the Raiders.
And ahead of a week’s rest for the group, that’s exactly just what Jordan Reynolds did, which may well have contributed to the slightly one-sided scoreline which resulted.
But until Reynolds experimented and fully utilised the replacements, it was close, the home side only trailing by seven at the break.
‘We played well first half and then made the changes,’ said the coach.
‘As much as it would have been good to win, our thoughts were very much on the Siam.’ he added.
So, with that trophy defence utmost in his mind, off came Sam Steventon, Layton Batiste and Malcolm Barnes at the break, and in the second half the skipper, Lewis Hillier, even got a rest.
‘They are a good outfit but we made those changes and missed a couple of good opportunities second half,’ said Reynolds.
Discussing the next few weeks he said; ‘We’ll give them a good workout on Tuesday and then they will have Thursday and the weekend off, before training again next Tuesday.’
By then, hopefully, Malcolm Barnes’ ribs won’t be quite as sore as they were at the end of this game.
Raiders started brightly and took the lead when Layton Batiste touched down from a 5m catch-and-drive line-out.
It did not take long for Taunton to start taking control.
Taunton Prop Chris Francis then went over from close range and Gary Kingdom kicked the conversion to edge his side 7-5 ahead.
Then Taunton winger, Matt Jess, who has turned out for Exeter Chiefs no less, then stripped the Guernsey defence to give the visitors a 12-5 half-time lead.
Early in the second half Tom Teasdale, now at scrum-half, was shown a yellow card and the visitors made the most of their one-man advantage with a couple of tries while the youngster was off.
Raiders kept plugging away and shortly after Teasdale returned Titans were reduced to 14 themselves.
The home side quickly capitalised with Matt Creber on the end of a rolling maul.
In the latter stages the tries came frequently, sadly all but one were scored by the Titans.
But among them Dale Martin gave the Garenne Stand something to cheer with an intercept try that saw him run nearly the full length of the pitch.
‘Doug Horrocks was outstanding,’ said Reynolds later.
But, then again, isn’t he always.
Martin had a fine game too but, overall, we missed too many tackles - once again.
Raiders: Steventon, Baron, L. Batiste, Hillier, Merrien, Creber, Rice, Horrocks, Barnes, Teasdale, Ahne, J. Batiste, Elliott, Martin, Morisio.
Replacements: Anderson, Craine, Webb, Lomas, Le Prevost.
Taunton Titans: Baker, Francis, Dalton, Teague, Chapman, Ogden, Vakalutukali, Oliphant-Thompson, Webb, S. Baker, Keay, Popham, Fraser, Jess, Kingdom. Replacements: Rodd, Petch, Prior, Harvey, Banks.