Tottonians 33 CS Rugby 1963 43

Tottonians lost out to London 1 South’s new leaders but proved they can compete with the league’s very best.

Totts matched CS Rugby 1863 over the opening stages of the thrilling contest at Water Lane before the well-organised and athletic side from London hit back to move 24 points in front.

However the home club refused to roll over and bravely battled back to secure a well deserved bonus point, despite losing out 43-33.

Totts got off the mark when Dylan Baptiste crossed in the corner but CS Rugby soon levelled.

Baptiste brushed off a tackle to bundle his way over once again but his side went into the break 17-12 down as CS’s winger finished off some powerful forwards’ play.

Totts’ defence leaked three tries in 20 minutes as their promotion-hunting opponents seized their opportunities to go 36-12 up.

But, just when it looked as if Totts may fold and be on the wrong end of a hiding, they got themselves back into the contest.

Fly-half Freddy Prince went under the posts from a maul as Totts ran three penalties and Robbie Searle, playing at centre, converted.

CS Rugby cancelled that score out as they relieved the threat of another Totts try by stealing a line-out and racing to the other end of the pitch.

Totts captain Nathan Burns then typified his side’s determination to get something from the game as he forced his way over to collect a bonus point before Searle again added the extras.

And there was more to come. Baptiste linked up with Richard Buck to break from their 22 before Nick Jones took the pass to go over under the posts.

The successful conversion put Totts within a score of a second losing bonus point but a promising move broke down and time was called.

Head coach Gavin Hart, who also came on at Number 8, said: “We competed well and for the first 20 minutes played some fantastic rugby.

“We’ve proved we can compete with these top teams and that’s where we should aspire to be.

“They did not get a huge amount of chances but they took them and that’s the difference between mid-table and the top two.”

CS Rugby’s place at the top is also down to Havant RFC beating Medway 29-10.