Dings make hard work of sealing a hat-trick of league triumphs
DINGS made it three league wins in a row with a workmanlike display against Taunton at Landseer Avenue.
The home side came into the game on the back of two high-profile league victories, against the then leaders Henley and local rivals Clifton.
Dings skipper Ed Hack admitted that his side found it difficult to hit the same high notes on this occasion, but was delighted that they were able to grind out a win.
He said: "Our last two matches were massive games for us. We knew if we were off against Henley we would be well beaten, and there is always plenty at stake when we play Clifton in the big derby.
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"We were a long way off our best today, but we still managed to win. I think we played a bit too much rugby with our backs, when perhaps the conditions dictated that we should have kept it tighter.
"But our defence was very good again today, and I think we deserved to win."
The home side always looked the more likely victors, but they did their level best to ensure the Titans stayed in the contest.
They gave away a high quota of penalties, and were often guilty of trying to play too expansively on the heavy and testing pitch.
The visitors, too, were far from perfect, with fly-half Gary Kingdom having a day to forget, missing three regulation kicks from in front of the posts that would have put the pressure on the home side.
In contrast, Dings full-back Mark Woodrow was flawless with the boot, notching up 16 points thanks to two conversions and four penalties.
Dings started brightly, and took the lead when hooker Dave Wheeler burrowed over for a converted try after three minutes. Dings promised more, but over-enthusiasm at the breakdown resulted in them giving away a string of penalties.
Taunton enjoyed longs spells of possession, but struggled to puncture the home defence. Woodrow slotted two penalties before Taunton grabbed a try from Jacob Childs, converted by Kingdom, to make it 13-7 at the break
The second half, like the first, never got out of second gear, as both sides continued to make unforced errors when trying to build momentum in attack.
Woodrow edged Dings into a 19-7 lead with two further penalties, and added the extras after scrum-half Steve Plummer touched down in the 78th minute, after his pack had marched the visitors back across their own line from a five-metre scrum.