By David Challis
Tonbridge Juddians played their part in a 13-try thriller before losing 43-40 at Taunton Titans in National League 1.
Both sides have shown the intent to play all year round although Taunton have had the greater success, and their faster start was rewarded with a try in the first five minutes.
Judds hit straight back, however, with Tom Chapman picking up a beautiful line off fly-half Tom White to slide through the centre of the defence and score under the posts.
A strong break from Will Colderick from the kick-off allowed the away side to have the field position to play once again, and Kyle McGhie's impressive offload to Hugo Watson gave TJs a 14-5 lead.
However, Taunton hadn't really got going but soon clicked, adding four more tries before the break for a 31-14 half-time advantage.
Juddians needed early tries as the second half began and wasted little time. Duncan Tout tipped the ball to Watson and the winger showed great presence of mind to pop it back inside to his centre to pick up the crucial score.
Ryan Taylor-Dennehy and White then got in on the act as TJs found themselves back in Taunton’s 22 within the first 10 minutes of the restart. A majestic offload from White released Taylor-Dennehy who raced in from full-back to cut the deficit to just five points.
It was at this point that Taunton sprung back into life. Firstly with a try up the left-hand side which took advantage of a bouncing ball to score in the corner, and then a brilliant pick from the base of a centre-field scrum saw Taunton recover the three-score advantage with 15 minutes left.
This was not to be the end for TJs, however, as they worked the position back into the Taunton 22. Joey Bridger was forced into touch but Titans overthrew from the resulting lineout to see Mike O’Sullivan score under the sticks.
Back TJs came and once again there was some brilliant footwork from McGhie, who found space on the left. He beat his man in the centre then stepped inside the full-back to bring the score to 43-40 with just one minute to go.
Judds had thrown everything at Taunton, but moments of inaccuracy prevented the crucial score - and a memorable win - in the final seconds.
Tonbridge host Rosslyn Park in their final home game of the season on Saturday.