Total commitment earns 2 vital league points
against a powerful Taunton team.
The home team probably had 2/3rds of the possession and 3/4 of their tries came from their forwards. All Barnes' tries came from their backs. The game was won by a penalty and a conversion. A missed opportunity just before the half-hour cost Barnes dear. Starting with the wind Taunton had a 15 point lead at half-time with Barnes outscoring their opposition by 10 points in the second half.
The home team kicked off with the advantage of the sometimes strong and varying wind. The visitors secured the ball and replied with an up-and-under that resulted in their line-out at their 10 metre line. They threw the line-out too long and Taunton advanced with the ball, recycling several times to get a penalty 26 metres out in centre field and fullback Kingdom kicked for 3 points in the second minute. Taunton dealt with the restart and kept the ball tight before kicking for territory. Barnes kicked back then an error gave them the first scrum put-in. They were under pressure at scrums through the game. Trouble at the base of the scrum gave Taunton their second penalty 14 metres inside the visitors' half again in centre field at 5 minutes and this time Kingdom's kick hit a post and stayed out. Barnes cleared to touch, still inside their 22. From the line-out Taunton advanced putting together a very good sequence of phases until a couple of errors enabled the visitors to break out. They kicked into the opposition 22 then Taunton kicked long to touch. Barnes took a quick line-out and ran the ball to get their first penalty still inside their half. After the touch-kick they got another penalty 17 metres into the other half and this got them another line-out 9 metres out. From this their forwards recycled twice before the ball was sent wide; with more good recycling, it was then put through the hands to send wing Adams in at the corner at 11 minutes. The conversion was wide.
The visitors returned the restart with an up-and-under that the opposition dealt with comfortably then immediately broke through. Good defence got Barnes the next put-in in their 22 and from that they kicked for territory. After withstanding more Taunton pressure, Barnes got some possession from opposition errors then 2 penalties took them to a line-out in Taunton's 22. This was stolen and the home team soon kicked to touch into the other half. Again Taunton took the line-out and advanced well before an attempted drop-goal that was wide at the end of the first quarter. After the 22 drop-out Taunton continued to attack and got a penalty 16 metres out which they put into touch for a line-out 5 metres out. The defence held to get a 5 metre scrum but the visitors were penalised at that and Taunton opted for another line-out. Again the defence held then forced a turnover after 5 recycles. A Barnes' error then led to another penalty against them that Kingdom kicked at 25 minutes.
An error at the take after the restart gave the visitors the next scrum. From this they went wide with the blind-side wing coming round and in at centre. At the breakdown the forwards kept the ball for a couple of phases then the centres took the ball on to the corner where this resulted in an attacking 5 metre scrum. The pack kept the ball in to get a penalty and opted for a 5 metre line-out. At that the ball was thrown longish and seemingly not straight towards the Taunton side to allow for the wind which did not affect it. This was a key moment point in the game; the opposition easily got the ball and quickly broke out. After recycling 3 times a chip over was regained then passed for prop Woolmore to score at the half-hour. Kingdom added.
Taunton cleared the high restart to touch inside their 22 then stole the line-out and launched an up-and-under. Barnes' backs had run and got a penalty at the opposition 10 metre line; the kick didn't find touch and the opposition kicked for another line-out which they stole. Next they put together their best series of phases, going from their 22 to the visitors' line for scrumhalf Webb to go over near the corner at 36 minutes. A very good conversion from Kingdom followed.
Taunton secured the restart and set up a rolling maul at which they were penalised. Barnes ran this to get another penalty 16 metres inside the opposition half and centre field at 39 minutes. Fly-half O'Toole's kick hit a post and stayed out. The half-time whistle went soon after.
Taunton returned the restart with an up-and-under. Barnes were forced into touch then an error after the line-out gave the visitors a scrum 6 metres into the other half. After an injury was dealt with Barnes got another put-in at halfway. This was stolen against the head; Taunton went wide, kicked ahead and regained before knocking on in the opposition 22. From the scrum the visitors soon kicked; Taunton ran the ball back until an error was forced 5 metres inside the opposition half. From this scrum Barnes again kicked ahead towards touch; they got the ball at the line-out 18 metres into the opposition half. They went wide and to the corner where replacement fullback Carlisle got over at 6 minutes. O'Toole's conversion hit a post and stayed out.
An error after the restart was secured gave the home team the next scrum 27 metres from the opposition try line. The pack kept the ball in at first then released; there was a good break at centre before Barnes' wing Greenwood intercepted and ran to and into the other 22. Barnes recycled twice then chipped through; Taunton dealt with this but were soon turned over. After a couple of recycles the defence was penalised near the 22 in centre field and O'Toole kicked the 3 points at 11 minutes.
Not long after the restart with Taunton attacking, they were penalised 26 metres from the visitors' line. This was kicked to touch, not far, then the line-out was stolen. Taunton put together a very good set of phases before being turned over. Barnes cleared to touch at half-way; from this line-out Taunton quickly broke through at centre and recycled twice to send hooker Spurdle to the line at 12 minutes. Kingdom added.
After the secured restart, possession change hands twice before Taunton attacked again then were forced into touch at the opposition 22. Barnes kicked for territory and slowly worked their way into the other half with the help of opposition errors. Then with a little continuous possession they forced Taunton back to a defensive scrum 5 metres out. Another Taunton error got the ball to the visitors and this enabled O'Toole to get over wide out early in the 4th quarter and he added the extras.
Barnes kicked back the next restart then Taunton kept the ball in hand, advancing to get a penalty 18 metres out in centre field. The kick for the points never flew. Following this 2 errors resulted in a line-out for the home team 13 metres into the opposition half. From that very good retention and recycling took them to their 4th try at the corner scored by flanker Skinner at the half-hour. The conversion was wide.
Taunton secured the restart and kept possession in their own half. They got the next put-in but after it were penalised then sent 10 metres back. Barnes kicked to touch not far inside the 22. This line-out was stolen; Taunton ran out to halfway and recycled 6 times before the defence forced an error. The visitors got a free-kick at the scrum and they ran the ball to get another put-in 28 metres from the opposition line. Taunton got a free-kick at that and ran the ball; the defence forced another error to get the last scrum put-in just inside the opposition half. From this they quickly went wide with wing Adams breaking through; this resulted in their penalty at the 22 which they ran, sending centre Hersey over wide-ish out in the last minute. No kicking tee could be found for quite a long time so O'Toole nonchalantly took the points with a drop-goal.
Dry, sunny with 75% blue sky, windy; the pitch firm.