SO, to the last game of our away trips this month and it was the longest trip we would be making this season.
The early start, long bus trip and a side placed above us in the league, made this a very difficult trip.
This was the first time we had faced Taunton as the previous fixture was postponed owing to the freezing conditions. Unfortunately, we were already enroute to Taunton’s impressive Hyde Park ground that day, when the decision was made to turn around and do a “fun-type” fitness session back at the rugby club.
Fortunately, this time there were no hitches and we made it safely to the Devonshire club.
The side this week saw a few changes with Jamie Redmayne back at openside, Gareth Emmett at prop, Mike Marsh at scrum half and, with Joe Govett unavailable, Alex Nielsen started on the wing.
We were greeted by near gale force winds running the length of the pitch.
Winning the toss, we decided to play into the wind for the first half forcing us to keep the ball in hand, work hard on ball retention and to run everything, including quick tap penalties, kicking was not an option.
The defence also had to be solid to stop the large Taunton side from running away with the game.
We did go 12 points down in the first 20 minutes but after this we shored up the defence and started to put the opposition under some pressure.
The fantastic defence combined with strong direct running, especially from Matt Miles and Charlie McGowan, kept us in the game in the first half.
Going in at half-time 12 points down but playing the way we were, and with the prospect of the wind at our backs, we were very positive that we would get a result.
It didn’t take long before Jamie crashed over to register our first points. Even though we had the wind, it was our ability to keep the ball alive, retain the ball, take our chances and continue to defend well, that ultimately secured the win and with the four-try bonus point.
This win is something that has been coming for a while. After numerous close away losses, it was great to be on the winning side and one that was celebrated by both players and supporters.
Other wins this week went to Clifton, Henley and OAs, Ealing won the big one against Richmond, and Newbury got their first win of the season against this week’s opponents Canterbury.
On Saturday, we are finally back at home playing Canterbury, who as I have already said are coming off a loss to Newbury, so we are expecting another tough physical encounter as they try to bounce back.
We hope to see as many of you up there supporting us as possible on Saturday.