A New Year - A Good Start
Continued improvement from Barnes
In the first quarter Barnes had the lead twice; scoring first with their backs breaking through out wide then later scoring from a driving maul. After both Taunton broke through straight away in midfield. Before the half hour they scored from a driving maul. The visitors reduced the deficit to 2 points with a 2nd try from their three-quarters just before halftime. An error while trying to break out of defence gave Barnes the lead early in the 2nd ½ then a drive from a line-out gained Taunton their 3rd try. Another similar got them their 4th before, near the end, Barnes went wide for their 3rd try from their backs. A very special kick from the corner made it a draw. But just before the end a drop-kick that just went wide might have won it for Barnes.
The visitors cleared the long kick-off well into touch at halfway. After their line-out Taunton kept the ball for 4 phases before being penalised. The kick took Barnes to a line-out 3 metres past halfway. From that they went wide then had a kick charged down. This resulted in another line-out 18 metres into their half for Barnes. Taunton seemed to steal this but were penalised; the next kick took the visitors back to halfway. From the 4th line-out Barnes went wide then recycled blind to advance to the 22. Then after 8 more phases scrumhalf Franklin chipped to line for wing Martey to get and touch down at the corner on 5 minutes. The conversion missed.
The visitors returned the long restart to touch 30 metres out. From the line-out Taunton immediately released to midfield where centre Mason went through the defence easily to touch down near the posts. The conversion kick hit a post and stayed out.
Taunton replied to the restart with an up-and-under that Barnes dealt with. Many kicks followed with little retention in between until Barnes were penalised after regaining their up-and-under a few metres inside their half. The kick took Taunton to a line-out 18 metres from their opponents' line. That wasn't secured but resulted in a scrum for the home team 20 metres out. They soon went wide and recycled twice before being penalised 3 metres backwards. Barnes kick didn't find touch and the opposition ran the ball to get a penalty at halfway after a couple of phases. A line-out at the 22 soon followed then almost immediately an error that gave possession back to the visitors. They advanced to get a penalty 14 metres from halfway that gained them 24 metres. Taunton won a turnover after the line-out and a few phases then dropped the ball following again just a few phases. The scrum was 29 metres from Taunton's line; at it they were penalised and the kick took Barnes to 10 metres out. Their pack set for a drive from the line-out and advanced; when the defence held about 3 metres out hooker Alteirac broke off to force his way over at 18 minutes. Fullback O'Toole added.
(Mr. Alteirac also scored a try against Taunton at Barnes 5¼ years ago; that time it was his usual running as if a three-quarter)
Again Barnes cleared the long restart to touch; this time only to their 22. Taunton kept the ball for 3 varied phases before they were turned over. The ball was then cleared to touch 27 metres out. From this line-out the home team's pack first kept the ball close then recycled it to lock Lonsdale who broke through in midfield like Mason previously for another try near the posts. This at 21 minutes and fullback Kingdom's conversion levelled the scores once more.
The restart resulted in a penalty for Taunton that was kicked to touch just past halfway. Barnes forced a turnover after the line-out and two recycles. They went wide with Alteirac running well until a forward pass 20 metres into the opposition half. Four kicks followed the scrum; these gained territory for Taunton then they kept the ball for 5 phases advancing further before chipping past the defence. They regained and kicked towards the line, close to which the defence was penalised. The 5 metre penalty was put into touch for a line-out; their drive was held and went down. Their pack recycled close 4 times before flanker Harbison got over at 29 minutes. Kingdom converted.
Taunton returned the restart with an up-and-under; Barnes kept the ball in hand for a handful of close phases before being turned over when going wider. The home team then kept the ball and made good ground, recycling 5 times before chipping through the defence and into touch 6 metres from the visitors' try-line. From their line-out Barnes soon cleared to touch 27 metres out. Now Taunton, from theirs, released to centre then put together 8 good mostly close phases (matched by good defending), advancing until penalised 11 metres out. The kick gained the visitors 17 metres then they tried an up-and-under soon after the line-out. They regained this and recycled twice before kicking ahead to the 22. Taunton cleared to touch 20 metres inside their half. After the line-out Barnes lost possession at centre and Taunton kicked for territory. The visitors ran the ball before Taunton won a turnover then were awarded a penalty near halfway. They ran this wide advancing to the 22 then recycled 4 times before they were turned over. Now Barnes went wide and after 3 phases were awarded a penalty just outside their 22. The kick took them to 9 metres from halfway. From the line-out they kept the ball close recycling 5 times to get another penalty at halfway. The kick took them to 27 metres out. From the line-out Franklin made a good break close to the forwards; this was quickly followed by centre Cornish touching down wide out. The conversion missed before the halftime whistle.
Soon after Barnes 2nd ½ restart they were penalised for a mistake; Taunton kicked long to touch. The visitors stole the line-out at their 22 and cleared to touch at halfway. Taunton kept the ball for 6 phases from the line-out then kicks were exchanged. That from Barnes resulted in their line-out near halfway. From the next line-out Cornish broke through at centre to the 22 then the ball was recycled 6 times to get a penalty 17 metres out. Barnes ran this and got to 6 metres out then recycled close 5 times before the defence forced an error to get a scrum put-in 5 metres from their line. Behind the scrum Taunton soon adventurously went wide; a handling error popped the ball into those of Cornish who needed only a couple of steps to get his 2nd try after 7 minutes. O'Toole converted and Barnes had the lead for the second time.
The restart was cleared to touch 26 metres from the visitors' line. Barnes forced an error after the line-out to regain possession then their backs broke out into the other half before kicked further. Taunton ran the ball in their 22 and after a couple of phases they got the next scrum 8 metres inside their half. After it they regained their up-and-under and recycled twice before being penalised at their opponents' 10 metre line. The kicked gained the visitors 19 metres; Taunton forced a turnover after the line-out and 2 recycles. They kicked for territory and towards touch; Barnes kept the ball for 4 phases before the opposition forced an error to get a put-in outside the visitors' 22. Now Taunton put together a good sequence of 11 phases before the defence forced an error to get their put-in 11 metres out. They were penalised at their scrum and Taunton put the ball into touch for a 5 metre line-out. From that their pack drove to the line with replacement forward Gatford on the ball wide out before the end of the 3rd quarter. The conversion missed and the scores were level again
Two kicks followed the restart before a line-out for Taunton 16 metres from their line. This was stolen; Barnes recycled close 3 times to get a penalty at the same distance that was put into touch for a line-out 6 metres out. Their pack's drive was held then they recycled twice close to get over the line. The Ref. couldn't give the try and so did give a 5 metre scrum to them. In that Taunton got a shove on and got another put-in at which they got a penalty. They kicked for a line-out 18 metres from halfway and after it launched an up-and-under that they regained. Next they kicked to touch in the opposition 22. The visitors threw a quick line-out and ran the ball before being penalised for not releasing 4 metres inside their half. Taunton kicked for a line-out 20 metres from the visitors' line. From this one they put together their best sequence of phases, 20 altogether, almost all close. Barnes defended this well but eventually prop Owlett got over half way between the posts and the corner at the half hour. Kingdom added.
Taunton returned the restart with a very high up-and-under that Barnes dealt with. The visitors soon chipped through the line to touch. From the line-out at their 10 metre line they launched another up-and-under. This resulted in a penalty for the visitors at their 10 metre line that was kicked for another line-out 20 metres ahead. After it they were turned over at centre; Taunton recycled twice then kicked to the opposition 22. Barnes ran the ball for 6 phases to get a penalty and a man advantage for 6 minutes (i.e. the rest of the game) still 9 metres inside their half. A good kick took them to the other 22 and from the line-out they went wide to send wing Carlisle to touch down at the far corner with 4 minutes left. An exceptional conversion kick from O'Toole levelled the scores again.
The visitors cleared the restart to touch 3 metres from halfway. The line-out wasn't thrown straight; from the scrum Barnes started to make ground and putting together 8 phases, all but 1 close, got into their opponents 22. From the last ruck near centre field, with O'Toole ready behind, Franklin sent him the ball. The drop-goal was just wide before the whistle.
Dry, bright, not cold, not much wind; the pitch soft and muddy.