Titans 29 Rosslyn Park 12

Rotherham Titans secured their first National League 1 win of the season as they deservedly ran out 29-12 winners over Rosslyn Park at Clifton Lane.

Titans put in an overall impressive performance, but it was full back Alex Dolly who caught the eye as he bagged 8 successful penalty kicks, to add to an early try from winger Henry Roberts.

Park’s points came way of a try in either half from back rowers Hugo Ellis and Arthur Ellis, with former Titan Greg Lound converting the former from out wide.

Titans might have been concerned early on when inside 2 minutes the visitors stormed into the lead from a catch and drive which saw Hugo Ellis barge over for a dot down.

However, just 5 minutes later and Rotherham crossed the whitewash themselves when winger Henry Roberts showed superb strength to power his way over the line from inside the 22 to touch down in the left corner.

Titans controlled much of what followed and almost had their second try on 18 minutes from a superb break by Seb Nagle-Taylor. Unfortunately the number 8 was dragged down a metre short and although he attempted to release the ball and go again, the referee pinned him and subsequently Nagle-Taylor spent 10 minutes in the bin.

Titans added two penalties before the break through Alex Dolly, which sent the home side in at the break 11-7 to the good.

Rotherham were keen to score the first points of the second half and this they did through Dolly’s third penalty of the game to stretch the lead to 7 points.

However, Park bounced back and on 54 minutes another catch and drive close to the Titans line resulted in flanker Arthur Ellis dotting down for his sides second try of the game. Lound’s conversion drifted just wide of the posts to leave his side 2 points adrift.

As the game progressed it was Rotherham who managed the game more effectively and as the pressure mounted on the visitors they yielded a relentless stream of penalties.

Inside the final 18 minutes Park gave away 5 penalties from all over the field and Alex Dolly stepped up on each occasion to conduct a masterclass of kicking from the tee to nail the lot and give Rotherham a worthy first win of the campaign.

Speaking immediately post-match, Titans head coach, Joe Barker, explained, “I knew our first win was just around the corner and what we did really well today was we stuck to our process of how we were going to play.

“In our first two games we were in those games for a period of time, but we made mistakes and went away from what we wanted to do, but today fair play to the lads they really stuck with it today.

“We asked them to play a certain plan and they stuck to it for the full 80 minutes and that’s why we were relentless and ruthless with our approach all game long.

“I was also pleased with our defence, our positivity and our motivation. We know we have good players here and I believe we are a good team and I think we showed that today in beating a good Rosslyn Park side.”

Referee: Matt Turvey

Attendance: 513

Yellow Card: Nagle-Taylor (Titans)

Titans: Roberts (T), Dolly (8P)

Rosslyn Park: H Ellis (T), A Ellis (T), Lound (1C)

Titans: 15 Alex Dolly, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Henry Roberts, 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Connor Dever (Davey 77), 1 Jack Bergmanas, 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout, 4 Anton Petrowitsch, 5 Conor Keys (Preston-Routledge 58), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt).

Replacements: 16 Dan Richardson, 17 Antony Dickinson, 18 Dan Preston-Routledge, 19 Harry Davey, 20 Jamie Cooke.

Rosslyn Park: 15 Henry Robinson, 14 Bam Fadahunsi, 13 Nicolas Nieto (Barnes 51), 12 Jordon Turner-Hall, 11 Neville Edwards, 10 Greg Lound, 9 Oli Grove, 1 Maurice Nwakor, 2 Tom Vaughan-Edwards (Hughes 65), 3 Paul Doran-Jones (Lovell 60), 4 Jonathan Mills, 5 Gregor Gillanders (Barnard 54), 6 Adam Frampton, 7 Arthur Ellis (Vaughan-Edwards 79), 8 Hugo Ellis (Gillanders 58).

Replacements: 16 Owen Hughes, 17 Nick Lovell, 18 Jack Barnard, 19 Aaron Booth, 20 Dan Barnes.

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Darlington Mowden Park 42 Titans 19

Titans’ first away trip of the season ended in disappointment as they went down 42-19 to pre-season favourites Darlington Mowden Park at the Northern Echo Arena.

The hosts deserved their victory as they ran in six tries to Titans three, although the scoreboard has a slightly flattering look to it, as Rotherham felt they were in the game more than the board would suggest.

Rotherham applied pressure on the hosts late on as they went in search of the four try bonus point, however Mowden Park’s defence held firm to deny Rotherham any spoils for their efforts.

Indeed Titans had much the better of the opening 20 minutes of the contest and had they taken the opportunities created, they would have opened up a healthy advantage. Alas for them they did not and the closest they came to opening up their account was a Callum Irvine drop goal effort on 13 minutes which bounced off the uprights.

As the half hour mark approached Mowden established some dominance which saw them score a brace of tries either side of the 30 minute mark through centre Ben Frankland and live-wire scrum half Bruno Bravo, both of which were converted by Warren Seals.

Just before the break Rotherham’s forward pack exerted huge pressure on Park’s line as they looked to cut the deficit on half time. Unfortunately for the Yorkshire side they were turned over and the opportunity was lost.

The second period started in similar fashion to the way the first had ended, as the hosts’ dominance saw them establish a stronghold on the game. As the hour mark was passed Park went over for their third try of the half through replacement Ben Stevenson, after Chris Georgiou and former Titan Talite Vaioleti had crossed the whitewash earlier. 

In between Titans got off the mark when replacement prop Dan Richardson showed good power to drive over from close to the line.

Ten minutes from time Rotherham secured further reward as they continued to battle on and not let their heads drop. Titans’ pack, which had put in a sterling shift all game, drove up to Park’s line before Richardson was on hand again to barrel over for his second try of the match.

Five minutes later and Titans hopes of securing a bonus point received a further boost when number 8, Seb Nagle-Taylor finished off another barnstorming forwards drive for his sides third try. Irvine drop goaled the conversion in an attempt to get the game restarted quickly.

Although Rotherham had some possession in the final stages, it was the hosts who brought the curtain down on the game as second rower Jake Brady smashed his way over for Park’s sixth dot down of the match. Seals conversion secured him a 100% success rate from the tee.

Commenting post match Titans head coach, Joe Barker, explained, “There were a lot of positives to build on, but I don’t want to keep saying that and we now need to start demonstrating our potential. The first 20 minutes we had them under massive pressure and I think they were shocked in how we were managing the game.

“Our kicking game was better and our set piece has improved a lot this week. I think Smithy, Jenks and Christian have done an outstanding job with the front five and the pack to get that set piece working and they fronted up today and you could see that with the tries we scored.

“I thought the bench also made a massive impact when we used it. They showed great intensity, tempo and physicality and they changed the way the game was played. 

“At times you can see what we are trying to do and we are nearly there, but today there were a few decisions made which proved to be wrong ones. I think that’s just a little bit of inexperience but that will come if we continue to work hard during the week.

“I really believe in this squad and I want our fans to be patient and continue to support the lads like they’ve done all along. It will take a bit of time but we will get there.”

Referee: Harry Walbaum
Attendance: 855
Yellow Card: Nott (Titans)
Titans: Richardson (2T), Nagle-Taylor (T), Irvine (2C)
Darlington Mowden Park: Frankland (T), Bravo (T), Georgiou (T), Vaioleti (T), Stevenson (T), Brady (T), Seals (6C)
 

Titans: 15 Harry Davey, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Ellis Abrahams (Field 58), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Connor Field (Dever 46), 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Josh Nott (Dunne 57), 1 Jack Bergmanas (Richardson H-T), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (Dickinson 49), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge (Keys 75), 5 Conor Keys (Petrowitsch 57), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Dan Richardson, 17 Antony Dickinson, 18 Anton Petrowitsch, 19 Connor Dever, 20 Harry Dunne.

Darlington Mowden Park: 15 Chris Georgiou, 14 Josh Hall (McTurk 66), 13 Jordy Hop, 12 Ben Frankland, 11 Ollie Walker (Stevenson 46) (Walker 72), 10 Warren Seals, 9 Bruno Bravo, 1 Alfie Barron (Harvey 66), 2 Jordon Poole, 3 Ralph Appleby (Darkintis 57), 4 Jake Brady, 5 Talite Vaioleti (Appleby 72), 6 Joe Duffy, 7 George Stokes, 8 Joe Craggs.

Replacements: 16 Ignas Darkintis, 17 Anthony Harvey, 18 Garry Law, 19 Ben Stevenson, 20 Chris McTurk.

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Titans 33 Old Elthamians 34

Rotherham Titans started their National League 1 campaign with a heart-breaking 34-33 defeat to a much-fancied Old Elthamians side.

Titans out-scored their counterparts by 5 tries to 4 and collected 2 well-deserved bonus points for their efforts; however, poor starts to each half ultimately cost them dearly.

With just one player from last seasons’ Titans squad involved, it was always going to be a challenge to beat one of the divisions’ anticipated top sides, but they almost did and they can be content with their first competitive game together.

In particular Seb Nagle-Taylor who scored a hat trick, Tom Allott who chipped in with a brace of dot downs and fly half Callum Irvine who bossed the game effectively, all can be pleased with their first shift on the Clifton Lane pitch.

However, when the Titans trailed 10-0 after the opening 20 minutes, following a try from Dom McGeekie and a penalty and conversion from Tom White, the signs looked ominous for the home side.

Alleviating the distress, Titans eventually established a foothold in the game on 24 minutes when Captain Seb Nagle-Taylor barged over from close range for Ellis Abrahams to convert, which cut the deficit to 10-7.

Sloppy work at the set piece by Rotherham followed, which enabled the visitors to reinstate their 10 point advantage as winger Dom Lespierre breezed in for a dot down, with White added the extras.

On a balmy afternoon at the Lane Rotherham finally sprang in action and it was fly half Callum Irvine who proved to be the catalyst for 2 quick-fire tries just before half time.

A clever grubber kick from the former Carnegie man allowed Nagle-Taylor to collect nicely to dive over, before an outstanding 60 metre break downfield saw Irvine find Tom Allott in support to touch down under the sticks. Abrahams converted to send the home side in at the break 19-17 to the good.

The restart would be important and again Rotherham came up second best, just as they had done in the opening half. This time the visitors only needed 75 seconds to cross the whitewash as Hamish Barton finished under the posts a counter attack from Elthamians. White knocked over his third conversion from in front to give OE’s a 24-19 lead.

That lead was extended on 63 minutes when White knocked over a penalty and it was stretched further when back rower Harry Ledger secured a bonus point when he dotted down following a powerful maul close to the Titans line. White’s conversion widened the gap to 34-19.

What would have pleased the hierarchy at Clifton Lane was the resilience and character shown by the players to quickly come back with two converted tries of their own.

Full back Tom Allott collected nicely his own kick-through to score and that man Nagle-Taylor barged through to score his third try under the posts. Irvine successfully drop-kicked the conversion to get the game restarted.

If any team was going to score in the final moments of this thrilling encounter it was going to be the home side. However, a knock-on at the death signalled time and the home side had to be content with 2 points for their opening day efforts.

Post-game Titans head coach, Joe Barker, explained, “As a squad we are pretty new, we’ve only been together for 8 weeks and everyone knows in team sports it takes time for things to gel, especially in rugby union when you’ve got to get use to so many things from a technical standpoint.

“I think what we have achieved today makes me really proud of the lads and proud of Rotherham Rugby Club and what we have achieved over the summer in a very short space of time makes me happy that we could produce that kind of display in front of our own fans.

“Elthamians are a very good National 1 outfit and they have high ambitions for this season. They’ve been together for a long time and their aim is to get out of this league. On the back of our display I think we should be excited about where this group of players can take this club.

“I think as a group the lads put in a great shift, but I have to give a special mention to Seb Nagle-Taylor who put in a very destructive and powerful performance and Callum Irvine, who I thought bossed the game very well at 10 and who I thought showed his Championship experience.

“But overall as a team I thought we showed amazing character as we came back on numerous occasions in both halves. As a young group of lads I thought they showed great resilience and that gives us great confidence moving forward this season.”

Referee: Neil Chivers
Attendance: 579
Yellow Card: Ure (Titans)
Titans: Nagle-Taylor (3T), Allott (2T), Abrahams (3C), Irvine 1C)
Old Elthamians: McGeekie (T), Lespierre (T), Barton (T), Ledger (T), White (2P, 4C) 

Titans: 15 Tom Allott, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Ellis Abrahams, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Connor Field, 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Josh Nott (Dolly 64), 1 Jack Bergmanas, 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (Dickinson 74), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge (Ure 60), 5 Conor Keys, 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole (Petrowitsch 66), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Dan Richardson, 17 Antony Dickinson, 18 Jamie Ure, 19 Anton Petrowitsch, 20 Alex Dolly.

Old Elthamians: 15 Ben Howard, 14 Dom Lespierre (McGeekie 74), 13 Kieran Moffat (Claxton 74), 12 Max Wilkins (Surman 35), 11 Alan Hotston (Morris 74), 10 Tom White, 9 Oliver Claxton (Morgan 60), 1 Alex Rogers (Scutt 67), 2 Nathan Morris (Rudland-Thomas 60), 3 Kieron Scutt (Brown 52), 4 Fred Hosking, 5 Dom McGeekie (Ledger 67), 6 Harry Ledger (Messum 54), 7 Hamish Barton, 8 Ben King.

Replacements: 16 Lewis Brown, 17 Jay Rudland-Thomas, 18 George Messum, 19 Rhys Morgan, 20 Chris Surman.
 

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Nottingham 38 Titans 5

Rotherham Titans finished off their Championship season with a disappointing 38-5 defeat to Nottingham under the lights at Lady Bay.

The final-day defeat brought a long, difficult season to a close for the South Yorkshire side which saw them win just 2 Championship games and as a result they will ply their trade in National Division One next year, as they aim to bounce back at the first attempt.

The game itself had few positives for Rotherham as the home side played with lots of energy and zest, as they looked to put on a show for their supporters in their final home game of the season.

Inside the opening 15 minutes Nottingham raced into a 14-0 lead after two converted tries from centre Gearoid Lyons and winger Jack Spittle.

The second quarter of the game was Titans best as they enjoyed significant periods of dominance, particularly at scrum time. During this spell Titans got on the scoreboard when a powerful driving maul was finished off by back rower Tom Burns on 21 minutes.

However, despite Titans worthy efforts to add to their tally in the first half, the hosts defended with great resilience to keep them at bay. Indeed just before the break it was the Green and Whites that scored next when Tiff Eden knocked over a penalty from just outside the Titans 22.

Coming out for the second half and trailing 17-5, the Titans needed to score first if they were to give themselves a chance of ending the season with a victory.

Those hopes were dashed within 4 minutes when Nottingham centre Will Millett darted through for his side’s third try of the match.

From then on a confident home side controlled the game and added two further tries through prop Tom West and late on through former Titan Ben Morris.

A reflective Nic Rouse commented post-match, “The game kind of summed up our season; we looked like the side that played on Tuesday night, but fair play to them they controlled the game and stopped us playing. We did have a bit of dominance in the first half but we didn’t make the most of that period.

“We were still in the game at half time, but unfortunately they scored early in the second half and it was difficult for us thereafter. It was their last home game and they wanted to send some boys off with the win before they move on. They were really up for it in front of their fans the way we were against Carnegie and they deserved the win.

“It was my last game and it would have been great to go out with the win, but that wasn’t to be. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Rotherham and have met some great people at the club and I’ll take away a lot of fond memories. The results didn’t go our way, but I think since Christmas the boys have made a good fist of it.”

Referee: Andrea Piardi (FIR)

Attendance: 1,055

Yellow Card: Hooper (Nottingham), Foster & Calladine (Titans)

Titans: Burns (T)

Nottingham: Lyons (T), Spittle (T), Millett (T), West (T), Morris (T), Eden (4C, P), Hakalo (1C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Drew Cheshire, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Lee Millar, 11 Jake Henry (Foley 52), 10 Caolan Ryan (Hamilton 67), 9 Rhodri Davies (Vieira 67), 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 56), 2 Luke Cole (Dolly 64), 3 Andrew Foster (Palmer 75), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Adam Peters, 6 Tom Burns, 7 Dan Grange, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Joe Barker, 20 Ben Foley, 21 Wesley Hamilton, 22 Francisco Vieira.

Nottingham: 15 Sean Scanlon, 14 Jack Spittle, 13 Will Millett, 12 Gearoid Lyons, 11 Billy Robinson, 10 Tiff Eden (Hakalo 56), 9 Darryl Veenendaal (McConnell 64), 1 Tom West (Sio 61), 2 Jimmy Stevens (Brownlie 55), 3 Ben Hooper (Hall 52), 4 Tim Cardall, 5 Ben Morris, 6 Jordan Coghlan (Cecil 67), 7 Matt Everard (Capt.), 8 Josh Poullet (Buckley 55).

Replacements: 16 Ben Brownlie, 17 Aniseko Sio, 18 James Hall, 19 Seb Cecil, 20 Shane Buckley, 21 Murray McConnell, 22 Vili Hakalo.

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Titans 30 Yorkshire Carnegie 26

Rotherham Titans mounted a stunning late comeback to snatch a thrilling 30-26 victory over county rivals Yorkshire Carnegie at a warm and sunny Clifton Lane.

Trailing 19-6 with 20 minutes to go Rotherham showed tremendous spirit and character to score two tries through Drew Cheshire and one from Jake Henry, with both Caolan Ryan and Lee Millar adding vital points from the boot to seal a well-deserved, dramatic victory.

The match itself started with the visitors in the ascendancy as they looked to put tempo into the game. Their early endeavours were reward inside four minutes as a powerful driving maul from a line out saw Carnegie hooker Mike Mayhew crash over from the tail. Stevie McColl bagged the impressive extras from out wide to give his side a 7-0 lead.

Carnegie continued to have the upper hand as the game progressed, but a spirited and resilient Titans defence repeatedly held out their Yorkshire rivals, often close to their own line.

Slowly Rotherham began to impose themselves on the game and just after the half hour mark Caolan Ryan struck a terrific long-range penalty to reduce his side’s arrears to 7-3.

Just before the break Titans were reduced to 14 players after lock forward Matt Postlethwaite received a yellow card for his part in a repeated set of penalties.

At the beginning of the second period Carnegie quickly exploited the man advantage as their backs moves the ball effectively across the line for winger Louis Brown to score in the corner. McColl again impressed with his successful conversion from out wide.

Titans’ Lee Millar narrowed the deficit on 47 minutes with a long-range penalty and 4 minutes later almost did the same again from 55 metres. This time however the ball agonising came up just short of the target.

Moments later Millar received what many in the ground thought a harsh yellow card for a ‘late tackle’ on Carnegie fly half Pete Lucock. Again the visitors quickly exploited their numerical advantage as hooker Mike Mayhew crashed over for his second dot down of the match. McColl missed the extras from out wide the leave Carnegie 19-6 to the good.

With just under 20 minutes remaining Titans needed some inspiration and that inspiration arrived from winger Drew Cheshire who collected the ball on the right flank before chipping ahead and outpacing Oli Fox to collect and dot down for a marvellous try. Caolan Ryan tagged over the extras from the touchline.

Five minutes later and Rotherham took the lead for the first time in the match when left winger Jake Henry collected and powerfully barged his way through to narrowly score in the corner under massive Carnegie pressure. Ryan bagged the extras impressively from the left touchline to nudge his side into a 20-19 lead.

With Titans now in full flow and the faithful from the Shed passionately egging their side on Cheshire scored a wonderful try as he dummied a pass before cutting back inside to score next to the sticks. Ryan knocked over the straightforward conversion to put Rotherham 27-19 up.

On 76 minutes Lee Millar again demonstrated his prowess with the boot as he nailed another impressive long-range penalty to stretch his sides lead to 30-19.

With Yorkshire pride at stake the visitors set the game up for a nervy finish after scrum half Oli Fox crossed the whitewash for his sides bonus point try. McColl’s extras reduced Carnegie’s arrears to 30-16.

Carnegie desperately pushed forward in their attempts to steal a victory but the men from Clifton Lane held on resolutely to earn a thrilling victory.

Commenting post-match Titans Nic Rouse explained, “This week has been the toughest week of the year for me as a coach and in terms of preparing the boys; at times we only had 12 boys training and we had to play football. 

“The numbers were so low in training it was difficult and our best session was the team run on Friday. We only had four boys on the bench today and one of those wasn’t really fit enough to go on, so effectively we only had 3 replacements.

“In the game we wanted to play some rugby against Carnegie and we wanted to take a bit of sting out of them. They rarely kick the ball so we needed to be good defensively and I was massively impressed with the boys in that area. Our patience and discipline was very good and I am very proud of the lads.”

Referee: Dean Richards
Attendance: 681
Yellow Card: Postlethwaite & Millar (Titans), Mitchell (Carnegie)
Titans: Cheshire (2T), Henry (T), Ryan (P, 3C), Millar (2P)
Carnegie: Mayhew (2T), Brown (T), Fox (T), McColl (3C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Drew Cheshire, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Lee Millar, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Francisco Vieira, 1 Tom Williams, 2 Luke Cole (Dolly 69), 3 Andrew Foster (Palmer76), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Matt Postlethwaite, 6 Tom Burns, 7 Adam Peters, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).
 
Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Brandon Palmer, 18 Dan Grange, 19 Wesley Hamilton, 20 Joe Barker, 21 James Lasis, 22 Ben Foley. 

Yorkshire Carnegie: 15 Stevie McColl, 14 Tom Bullough, 13 Chris Elder, 12 Andy Forsyth, 11 Louis Brown (Dunne 60) (Bryce 66), 10 Pete Lucock (Davey 58), 9 Oli Fox, 1 James Thraves (Beech 60), 2 Mike Mayhew (Newborn 76), 3 Craig Mitchell, 4 Jack Whetton, 5 Matt Smith, 6 Ben West, 7 Richard Mayhew, 8 Richard Beck (Bainbridge 58).

Replacement: 16 Harry Newborn, 17 Charlie Beech, 18 Kevin Bryce, 19 Elliot Ward, 20 Josh Bainbridge, 21 Harry Davey, 22 Harry Dunne.

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London Scottish 49 Titans 14

Rotherham Titans suffered an awful day at the office as an uninspired performance saw them get punished by a rampant London Scottish side in a crushing 49-14 defeat.

The Exiles ran in seven tries to Titans two, with the South Yorkshire side lacking the urgency and intensity which has been their trademark since the turn of the year.

Rotherham trailed from the off as Scottish raced into an 18-0 lead inside the opening 24 minutes, with tries from centre Ben Mosses and prop forward Dino Waldren; veteran fly half Jake Sharp added 2 penalties and a conversion.

Rotherham eventually worked themselves into the game and were rewarded for their efforts when tight head Andrew Foster crashed over from close range after a period of forward dominance from the Titans pack. Ryan added the extras.

Minutes later however the home side added a third try when prop Waldren barged his way over for his second dot down of the game, Sharp’s successful conversion extended the Exiles lead to 25-7.

As half time approached Titans enjoyed what would be their best period of the game as they camped themselves close to the hosts line. The Scottish scrum buckled on four separate occasions with each time referee Sara Cox awarding Titans a penalty. 

Eventually the referee awarded Rotherham a penalty try, but surprisingly no yellow card followed. Nevertheless Titans went in at the break trailing 25-14 and somewhat rejuvenated for the second 40.

It was vital Rotherham scored the first points after the restart if a comeback was to be a realistic option; unfortunately for them this wasn’t the case as on 47 minutes big second rower Tjiuee Uanivi bulldozed his way over for his sides bonus point try.

Galvanised and full of confidence, Scottish upped their game further and pretty much dominated proceedings for the rest of the match as they ran in another three tries through full back Joe Luca Smith, left winger Charlie Ingall and right winger Matt Williams to secure a deserved and convincing victory.

Speaking after the game Titans Nic Rouse explained, “Today’s performance wasn’t a reflection of how we’ve been since January; it was pretty poor today. I said before the game we need to take them on and there was a big opportunity to take them on up front and it took us until the 25th minute before we got our first penalty. We talk about it beforehand and then we don’t do it. 

“We came into the game confident of getting the result and the way we have been playing the last few weeks against the top sides gave us the confidence to come here and get the win, but I don’t think we really turned up and that’s very disappointing.

“We had good preparation coming into this one and I know the boys are going to be disappointed because they’ll feel they have let themselves down and that will hurt them. I think we needed to score first after the break, but we didn’t and we weren’t great today to be honest.

“Maybe the season has taken its toll on us with the small squad we have, but that’s an excuse and I don’t want to start looking for excuses. 

“I don’t really want to have a go at the boys because they have worked really hard for me and I back them 100%. We now need to pick ourselves up for a big game next week against Carnegie, because if we turn up for that one the way we did today then we are going to get a hiding.

“But we are back at home for a massive Yorkshire derby and we want to put in a performance that we and our supporters can be proud of.”

Referee: Sara Cox
Attendance: 1,330
Yellow Card: Henry (Titans)
Titans: Foster (T), Pen Try, Ryan (1C)
London Scottish: Waldren (2T), Mosses (T), Uanivi (T), Smith (T), Ingall (T), Williams (T), Sharp (2P, 4C),
 
Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley (Millar H-T), 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Joe Barker (Hamilton 58), 11 Jake Henry, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies (Vieira 65), 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 60), 2 Luke Cole, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Rob Louw, 5 Adam Peters, 6 Dan Grange (Burns H-T), 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).
 
Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Wesley Hamilton, 21 Lee Millar, 22 Francisco Vieira.
 
London Scottish: 15 Joe Luca Smith, 14 Matt Williams, 13 Ross Neal, 12 Ben Mosses, 11 Charlie Ingall, 10 Jake Sharp (Atkins 61), 9 Alex Walker (Hoadley 55), 1 Derrick Appiah (Harris 55), 2 Isaac Miller (George 55), 3 Dino Waldren (Cringle 55), 4 Ed Milne, 5 Tjiuee Uanivi (Curry 49), 6 Joe Atkinson, 7 Chris Walker (Eliet 69), 8 Danny Kenny (Capt.).
 
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Jonny Harris, 18 Phil Cringle, 19 Oli Curry, 20 Matt Eliet, 21 Ed Hoadley, 22 Jacob Atkins.

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Jersey Reds 38 Titans 16

Rotherham Titans 22 year’s tenure in the top 2 tiers of English rugby came to an end following their 38-16 Championship defeat to Jersey Reds.

Titans gave themselves hope of extending their season with an excellent first half performance, which saw them go in at the break leading 13-7. However, the Islanders produced a powerful second half effort which saw them run out comfortable winners in the end.

With 3 games remaining, Rotherham they will be keen to round off the campaign on a high before embarking on National One rugby next term.

Saturday’s effort against the high-flying Island side demonstrated that Titans are not a poor side and under a different set of circumstances probably wouldn’t be in their current predicament.

The game itself saw the host’s race into an early lead on four minutes through winger Jason Worrall after the Reds moved the ball quickly through the backline.

Rotherham however wasted little time in responding after their pack made good ground inside the Reds 22, before Rhodri Davies peeled away to snipe over for a fine try. Caolan Ryan’s conversion levelled the game at 7 apiece.

Titans continued to enjoy the better of the game and 2 penalties from Ryan extended their advantage to 13-7. However, it could have been much better for the visitors had the Reds not made some crucial last-ditch interventions.  

Titans were denied close to the line when Jersey impressively turned the ball over and Rhodri Davies was denied in the corner after he was bundled into touch just a yard away after making a terrific 40 metre break.

Just before the interval Titans centre Jamie Cooke was shown a yellow card for a late tackle on Jason Worrall. This had repercussions early in the second half as Jersey centre Apakuki Ma'afu waltzed through unattended for a converted try to nudge the hosts 14-13 ahead on 43 minutes.

However, just five minutes later and the Titans regained the lead with Caolan Ryan knocking over his third penalty of the game.

Unfortunately for Rotherham the final quarter of the match saw Jersey implement their power game and as a result the hosts ran in three tries from Nick Selway, Joel Dudley and Kieran Hardy, all of which were converted by Brendan Cope who also knocked over a penalty in this period.

The final score of 38-16 slightly flattered the hosts, but overall the better team on the day won and with it Rotherham’s relegation from the Championship was confirmed.

Commenting post-match Titans Nic Rouse explained, "It's a sad day for the club as we are one of the longest-serving teams in the division.

"We knew we would need to put in a performance and to be fair to the lads we did in the first half, although I thought we left some scores out there.

"Ultimately we weren't ruthless enough but I can't fault the effort of the players, they had nothing left to give."

Referee: Michael Hudson

Attendance: 1,589

Yellow Card: Cooke (Titans)

Titans: Davies (T), Ryan (3P, 1C)

Jersey: Worrall (T), Ma'afu (T), Selway (T), Dudley (T), Hardy (T), Cope (5C), Van Breda (P)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley, 13 Jamie Cooke (Odogwu 47), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry (Millar 66), 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies (Porter 59), 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams72), 2 Luke Cole (Dolly70), 3 Andrew Foster (Palmer70), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Adam Peters, 6 Dan Grange, 7 Charlie Maddison (Burns73), 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Paolo Odogwu, 21 Lee Millar, 22 Will Porter.

Jersey Reds: 15 Scott Van Breda (Co-Capt.), 14 James Newey, 13 Apakuki Ma'afu (Best 67), 12 George Eastwell, 11 Jason Worrall, 10 Brendan Cope (Hardy 66), 9 Joel Dudley, 1 Roy Godfrey (Co-Capt.) (Selway 61), 2 Jared Saunders (Woolmore 56), 3 Leeroy Atalifo (Armstrong 56), 4 Jerry Sexton, 5 Dave McKern (Kolo'ofa'I  51), 6 Rory Bartle (Upfield 73), 7 Conor Joyce, 8 Max Argyle.

Replacements: 16 Jake Woolmore, 17 Nick Selway, 18 Jake Armstrong, 19 Uili Kolo'ofa'i, 20 Jake Upfield, 21 Kieran Hardy, 22 Mark Best.

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Titans 3 Bristol 24

Titans put in a sterling 80-minute effort in difficult weather conditions before ultimately falling to a 24-3 defeat to Championship leaders Bristol at Clifton Lane.

Titans would have been delighted with their first half effort as they played into the teeth of a blizzard and to go in at the break trailing 6-0, they would have been confident of causing a huge upset.

However, with the snow easing and the wind losing some of its intensity, the champions elect managed the second half superbly and restricted Rotherham opportunities to a bare minimum.

The result leaves Rotherham 19 points adrift of 11th placed side London Scottish with just four games remaining, meaning Titans will need to win all of their remaining fixtures with a bonus point if they are to give themselves a chance of avoiding relegation.

Bristol started the game in bright fashion and soon got the scoreboard ticking when fly half Ian Madigan knocked over a 3-pointer following Titans transgression at the breakdown.

Undeterred, Rotherham fought back immediately and pressurised the visitors with a powerful driving maul deep inside their 22. However, as the blizzard increased in intensity and visibility deteriorated, Rotherham lost their bearings somewhat and grounded the ball over the dead ball line, giving Bristol a massive let off.

As conditions worsened both sides should be credited as each showed an immense desire to go forward and Rotherham in particular showed great spirit in defence and terrific line speed in the ever-declining conditions.

Just after the half hour mark Bristol doubled their advantage when Madigan added a second penalty. Rotherham had an opportunity to reduce the arrears late on in the first half; however, Caolan Ryan’s penalty attempt was ruthlessly halted by the gale-force wind.

The second period saw the visitors up their performance and despite now having the wind in their faces, they were able to register the first try of the match when winger Ryan Edwards raced in to score in the corner after a period of Bristol dominance. Madigan’s conversion attempt was pushed across the sticks.

On the hour mark Titans finally and deservedly got on the scoreboard when Caolan Ryan struck an impressive long-range penalty to reduce the arrears to 11-3.

Shortly after Rotherham second rower Rob Louw impressed as he charged down a clearance kick and collected nicely before making good ground downfield. Unfortunately as he was brought to ground Bristol turned the ball over.

The visitors then enjoyed a dominant passage of play which saw them add two further penalties through the reliable boot of Madigan.

And to round the game off late on, impressive full back Luke Morahan charged over for Bristol’s second dot down of the match, with Madigan tagging over the extras.

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Attendance: 617

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Ryan (P)

Bristol: Edwards (T), Morahan (T), Madigan (4P, C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas (Millar 69), 14 Ben Foley, 13 Joe Barker, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies (Porter 45), 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 73), 2 Luke Cole (Dolly 59), 3 Andrew Foster (Palmer 69), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Adam Peters (Postlethwaite 48), 6 Dan Grange, 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Jamie Cooke, 21 Lee Millar, 22 Will Porter.

Bristol: 15 Luke Morahan, 14 Ryan Edwards (Tovey 76), 13 Alapati Leiua, 12 Siale Piutau, 11 David Lemi, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Rhodri Williams, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha (Dawe 76), 2 Jason Harris-Wright (Fenton-Wells 76), 3 Gaston Cortes ( 63), 4 Joe Joyce, 5 Joe Latta, 6 Sam Jeffries (Haining 63), 7 Dan Thomas, 8 Jordan Crane (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Nick Fenton-Wells, 17 Ollie Dawe, 18 James Lay, 19 Nick Haining, 20 Andy Uren, 21 Callum Sheedy, 22 Jack Tovey.

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Ealing Trailfinders 37 Titans 35

For the second Championship game in a row Rotherham were handed a tough-to-take defeat as an 85th minute penalty from Luke Daniels saw Ealing snatch a dramatic 37-35 victory at Vallis Way.

Having lost 18-15 to Bedford last time out with the final kick of the match, Rotherham’s hearts were broken again late on and the defeat will hurt all the more as Titans believed they were the better side on the day.

Titans arguably played their best rugby of the season in the first half of a thriller which saw them secure the 4-try bonus point within the opening 30 minutes to give them a 26-3 lead.

Rotherham opened the scoring on five minutes when Ealing knocked on just inside the Titans 22. The loose ball was collected brilliantly by Caolan Ryan who showed tremendous speed to race almost 80 metres to score. Ryan converted his try to make it 7-0.

Five minutes later Luke Daniels, who kicked exceptionally throughout the game, reduced his side’s arrears with a well-taken penalty.

Rotherham roared back however and enjoyed a dominant 20 minute period where both backs and forwards combined effectively to score three further tries.

On 13 minutes following some aggressive forward pressure the ball came out to Caolan Ryan who found Joe Barker in support. Barker just managed to squeeze away a long miss-pass before being clattered to Drew Cheshire who raced in to score in the corner. Ryan narrowly missed the difficult conversion from the touchline.

On 19 minutes Rotherham were in again. This time Ryan found Ben Foley who utilised the long miss-pass to great effect as he found Drew Cheshire out wide. The winger then made good ground before slipping a nice pass inside to Joe Barker who ran through for Titans third try. Ryan added the extras.

As the half hour mark approach Titans secured the bonus point. Cheshire collected a clearing kick just inside the Ealing half and took the ball infield before finding Ben Foley. The full back then injected some pace into the attack as he bulldozed his way inside the 22 before finding Rhodri Davies on his inside. The Welshman collected nicely and ran in to score near the posts. Ryan’s conversion put Titans 26-3 up.

Ealing are not second in the league for no good reason and a reaction was always to be expected. Before half time the hosts crossed the whitewash twice through impressive centre Piers O’Conor, both of which were converted by Daniels to reduce Trailfinders arrears to 26-17.

Just before the break Titans won a penalty; unfortunately for them Ryan’s effort was pushed wide by the ever-increasing wind.

Ealing’s comeback continued early in the second period when on 49 minutes former Titan prop forward, Lewis Thiede crashed over from close range following a period of pack pressure. Daniels successful conversion saw the host draw to within two points as the scoreboard showed 24-26.

Rotherham continued to attack the hosts and on 52 minutes were rewarded with a penalty which Ryan converted to extend the visitors advantage.

However, before the hour mark Ealing took the lead for the first time when replacement front rower Matt Cornish dotted down from a catch and drive close to the Titans line. Daniels extras made it 31-29 to the home side.

Both sides continued to attack as each went in search of the vital victory. Two Caolan Ryan penalties sandwiched a 3-pointer from Luke Daniels to leave Rotherham 35-34 ahead going into injury time.

With one minute remaining and tension within the ground at a heightened stage Ealing were awarded a penalty which Daniels slotted to snatch victory from a devastated Rotherham outfit.

Referee: John Meredith
Attendance: 642
Yellow Card: None
Titans: Cheshire (T), Barker (T), Davies (T), Ryan (T, 3C, 3P)
Ealing: O’Conor (2T), Thiede (T), Cornish (T), Daniels (4C, 3P)

Titans: 15 Ben Foley (Thomas 49), 14 Drew Cheshire (Porter 64), 13 Joe Barker, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies (Millar 63), 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 63), 2 Jonny Murphy (Cole 58), 3 Andrew Foster (Palmer 71), 4 Rob Louw (Postlethwaite 69), 5 Adam Peters, 6 Dan Grange, 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Will Thomas, 21 Will Porter, 22 Lee Millar.

Ealing: 15 Luke Daniels, 14 Will Harries, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Joe Munro, 11 Miles Mantella (Lydon 22), 10 Aaron Penberthy, 9 Calum Waters (Carter 60), 1 James Gibbons (Davis 71), 2 Alun Walker (Cornish 29), 3 Mark Tampin (Thiede 29), 4 Barney Maddison (Dickinson 49), 5 Harry Casson, 6 Kieran Murphy (Allen 67), 7 Rayn Smid, 8 Mark Bright (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Matt Cornish, 17 Will Davis, 18 Lewis Thiede, 19 Morgan Allen, 20 Sam Dickinson, 21 Luke Carter, 22 Peter Lydon.
 

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Titans 15 Bedford Blues 18

Rotherham Titans produced a superb second half fightback before ultimately suffering bitter anguish as Bedford’s Will Hooley converted a last-kick-of-the-match penalty to grab the spoils 18-15 for the Blues.

Titans had disappointed with their first half efforts which saw them go in at the break trailing 15-0. However, a spirited second half performance saw them level matters with 7 minutes remaining to set up a thrilling finale, which unfortunately for them ended horribly at the death.

Following the bonus point defeat for Rotherham they are still clinging on to their Championship status, as with 6 games remaining they are 20 points adrift of eleventh placed side London Scottish.

Rotherham will not be eager to review the first 40 minutes of this one as they rarely got inside the Blues half and when they did they ended up kicking away possession which ultimately led to difficult times.

Bedford took the lead on 15 minutes when fly half Will Hooley knocked over a 3-pointer which was quickly followed by fullback Elliot Clements-Hill barging over the whitewash for the first try of the game.

Titans were eager with their efforts and by and large their defence was pretty effective. That was until the half hour mark when they would have been bitterly disappointed to have conceded a try next to the posts from a first-phase move from a scrum close to their own line. Hooley’s extras saw the Blues extend their advantage to 15-0.

Titans rallied late in the half but were unable to penetrate the visitor’s well-organised defence.

However, the second period saw a transformed Rotherham as they upped the tempo and intensity of their work. On 52 minutes Titans livewire scrum half, Rhodri Davies, brought his side back into the game as he sniped his way over after spotting a gap in the Blues defence. Lee Millar added the extras to reduce the home side’s arrears to 15-7.

Rotherham were now rocking and their line-speed out of defence began to take its toll on the visitors as errors crept into their game.

On 64 minutes, a no-arms tackle by Blues’ Alex Rae resulted in him having a 10 minute rest on the touchline and Caolan Ryan superbly knocking over the resulting long-range penalty to draw Rotherham to within 5 points of Bedford.

Seven minutes from time a rampant Rotherham moved the ball swiftly across the backline to replacement winger Jake Henry who showed good composure to dot down in the left hand corner. Unfortunately for Titans, Caolan Ryan’s difficult touchline conversion narrowly missed the target.

As the game approached the final minute it would have been a fair and fitting result for the sides to have shared the spoils. However, the Blues were awarded a penalty after Rotherham got themselves into difficulties from a line out deep inside their own 22. Up stepped Will Hooley who calmly slotted his kick to break Titans hearts.

Commenting post-match, a disappointed Nic Rouse explained, “It’s a horrible way to lose a rugby match, but I guess that kind of sums up our season really. We didn’t have the best first half; we only got into their half on two occasions and then we kick the ball away and they end up on our 5 metre line.

“Defensively, other than on a couple of occasions, I thought the lads were outstanding and that’s definitely a part of our game that is improving all the time and not many teams are scoring a lot of points against us now.

“We regrouped at half time, we wanted to play a bit more in the right areas and there were opportunities to go and attack and up the tempo, because we knew they don’t commit too many numbers at the breakdown defensively, so they don’t really slow your ball down and it was about us moving the ball quickly and play at a higher tempo and I thought we did that really well.

“I was pleased for our attack that we scored a try when we were a man down following Rory’s yellow card and it was a great second half for us, we were a little disappointed with the first half but on reflection maybe a draw would have been a fair result.”

Referee: Fergus Kirby

Attendance: 609

Yellow Card: Jennings (Titans), Rae (Bedford)

Titans: Davies (T), Henry (T), Millar (1C), Ryan (P)

Bedford: Clements-Hill (T), Lane (T), Hooley (2P, C)

Titans: 15 Caolan Ryan, 14 Drew Cheshire (Henry 65), 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Rory Jennings, 11 Will Thomas, 10 Lee Millar (Foley 51), 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 79), 2 Jonny Murphy (Cole 51), 3 Andrew Foster (Palmer 78), 4 Rob Louw (Postlethwaite 79), 5 James Lasis, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Charlie Maddison (Burns 65), 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Tom Burns, 21 Ben Foley, 22 Jake Henry.

Bedford Blues: 15 Elliot Clements-Hill (Hutchinson 63), 14 Howard Packman, 13 Rich Lane, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois (Capt.), 11 Dean Adamson, 10 Will Hooley, 9 Jordan Burns (Dickson 52), 1 Sean McCarthy (Spelman 74), 2 Tom Lindsay (Fields 73), 3 Ben Cooper (Penny 73), 4 Ed Taylor (Onojaife 52), 5 Will Carrick-Smith, 6 Alex Rae, 7 Josh Buggea (Blanchet 52), 8 Jarad Williams.

Replacements: 16 Jacob Fields, 17 Dave Spelman, 18 Alex Penny, 19 Jordan Onojaife, 20 Justin Blanchet, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Rory Hutchinson.

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Richmond 11 Titans 3

Rotherham put in a disappointing performance as they went down 11-3 to Richmond on a wet and windy afternoon at the Athletic Ground.

Titans put in the graft, but a string of handling errors throughout, combined with a dysfunctional line-out led to a highly frustrating afternoon for the South Yorkshire side.

The slippery conditions restricted attempts for either side to play any free-flowing rugby and lots of kicking from both teams meant the game was not one for the purists.

In a tight, low-scoring contest, the only points in the first half came from the kicking tee inside the first 15 minutes. Following Lee Millar’s opening effort on 9 minutes, Richmond’s Rob Kirby knocked over 2 of his own shortly after.

Midway through the half Rotherham created a glorious opportunity to cross the whitewash, but unfortunately for them, the final pass was knocked on with the line beckoning. Titans will never know how important that error could have been.

The second half followed in similar fashion as both sides tried to come to terms with a greasy ball. However, on 48 minutes Richmond worked the ball nicely out wide for winger Jono Woodward to score in the right hand corner. Kirby missed his conversion by a considerable margin as the wind increased in strength.

Titans then made some changes which lifted their performance and intensity, both Tom Burns and Jake Henry in particular made good impact upon their arrival.

Late on in the game Rotherham enjoyed some good territory and possession as they pressed deep inside the host’s 22 looking for their first try. However, the home side defended with a steely passion which repeatedly kept out the Titans and their attempts to notch-up 4 wins in a row came to a disappointing end.

Speaking post-match Titans’ Nic Rouse explained, “Our line out has functioned really well for some time, but today I think some of our decision making in that area was a bit poor. That is a learning curve for some of the boys, but I thought the way they applied themselves in the second half was an improvement, which was pleasing.

“Unfortunately though, we made 24 errors in the game and gave away 11 penalties and when you do that you don’t really deserve to win a game of rugby and that was the story today.

“I think we showed we could break them down and we created some try scoring opportunities, but unfortunately we knocked the ball on when we looked to be going over in the first half.

“We were a bit too conservative in the first half at times when it was on for us around the edge; we knew they were going to be narrow and that would create opportunities for us to get around them.

“We’ve gone from playing too much to not playing enough in this game, the improvement the boys have made is still there, but I’m gutted we’ve come down here and we’ve not given the best account of ourselves.

“To be fair to Richmond they managed the game better that we did, but if we had taken the try scoring opportunity in the first half we’d have seen a massive difference.”

Referee: Greg Macdonald

Attendance: 468

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Millar (P)

Richmond: Woodward (T), Kirby (2P)

Titans: 15 Caolan Ryan, 14 Drew Cheshire (Foley 60), 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Joe Barker (Jennings 47), 11 Will Thomas, 10 Lee Millar (Henry 69), 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 71), 2 Luke Cole (Murphy 47), 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Rob Louw, 5 James Lasis, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.) (Burns 60).

Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Rory Jennings, 21 Ben Foley, 22 Jake Henry.

Richmond: 15 Rob Kirby, 14 Jono Woodward, 13 Cam Mitchell, 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Jordan Simpson-Hefft, 10 Rory Damant, 9 Jamie Gibbs (Grant 65), 1 Jeremy Cunnew, 2 Ross Grimstone (Phipps 40), 3 Joe Tarrant (Trenier 54), 4 Will Warden (Capt.) (Edwards 68), 5 Max Crawford, 6 Jake Parker, 7 Jesse Liston, 8 Chris Davies.

Replacements: 16 Jason Phipps, 17 Craig Trenier, 18 Myles Scott, 19 Rhodri Adamson, 20 James Swan, 21 Harison Edwards, 22 Callum Grant.

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Titans 27 Cornish Pirates 24

Rotherham Titans secured their first Championship victory of the season with a dramatic 27-24 win over Cornish Pirates to make it three wins on the trot following B&I Cup wins over Richmond and Connacht.

Titans clinched the Clifton Lane thrilling with a Caolan Ryan penalty four minutes into injury time. His penalty from close to the touchline was even more impressive as it was his first kick at goal following Lee Millar’s departure on 80 minutes.

Titans had gone in at the break leading 21-10 after a pulsating 40 minutes which saw them score three tries to the Pirates one. However, the visitors mounted a ferocious second half comeback which saw them take a 24-21 lead with less than 10 minutes remaining following two converted tries.

Despite the setback Titans rallied and late penalties from Lee Millar and Caolan Ryan sent the passionate Titans faithful into raptures.

Titans arguably played their best 40 minutes of rugby all season during the first period as forwards and backs combined effectively with pace and precision.

However, despite Rotherham’s bright start it was the Pirates who got the scoreboard ticking first when fly half Will Cargill knocked over a penalty on 8 minutes.

Nevertheless, Rotherham stormed back on 13 minutes when Lee Millar cleverly chipped over the defence to collect before finding Joe Barker, who in turn sent in Will Thomas down the left hand side for a super try. Millar tagged on the extras.

Within 3 minutes Titans were celebrating their second try. From a line out on the left hand side Titans worked the ball across the field to Caolan Ryan who smartly drew the tackle before finding Drew Cheshire. The flying winger showed great pace as he galloped over the line for his sixth try in as many games. Millar impressed again with the boot as he converted from out wide.

Pirates, as always, showed their character as they mounted a ferocious attack through their forward pack which culminated with centre Nicolas De Battista crashing over for a try which Cargill converted on 24 minutes.

Undeterred and roared on by a vociferous crowd Rotherham added their third try five minutes before the break. From a scrum about 10 meters inside their own half Rhodri Davies picked up from the base and made huge yards downfield before finding Drew Cheshire on the wing.

Cheshire fended off a tackle before slipping a lovely pass back inside to Ryan who showed a clean pair of heels to race in near the posts for another terrific Titans try. Millar maintained his 100% kicking record with the conversion.

The visitors were expected to come out for the second half with an increased urgency about their work and this they did. Forwards Chris Morgan and Tom Duncan both crashed over for tries with Will Cargill converting both to edge the visitors 24-21 ahead with less than 10 minutes remaining.

Now it was the turn of Rotherham to show some character following the huge disappointment of losing their long-standing advantage – and this they did!

Rotherham’s pack, led magnificently by skipper Tom Calladine, was heroic as they barged and banged their way through the Pirates defence. From the pressure created the visitors conceded a penalty wide out on the right hand side and from the difficult angle Millar impressed as he knocked over his fourth successful kick of the game on 80 minutes.

Into injury time and with less than two minutes remaining, Titans forwards pack forced another penalty. With Millar now off the field it was up to Caolan Ryan to step up to take the kick five metres from touch. Before the flags were raised the deafening noise from the shed told everyone in the ground it was a good one.

Titans saw out the remaining minute to secure a well-deserved and hard-earned first Championship win of the season.

Commenting post-match a delighted Nic Rouse explained, “I’m ecstatic we were able to get the win and especially for the boys because they deserve it. They’ve worked hard when things weren’t going our way and they’ve always turned up on a Monday morning with a great attitude.

“They boys were fantastic; we trained for a few situations and the scenario at the end where we needed a penalty to win was one of those. Caolan stepped up at the end, having not kicked all day and for him to knock it over was amazing and fair play to him for that. I’m delighted not just for him but to everyone connected with the club.

“I have to give a special mention to Ed Robinson who has come in to help us out with the backs. He’s done a great job for such a young guy, he’s only 24 and he’s made a massive difference since coming in a couple of weeks ago. A lot of credit has to go to him for this win.”

Referee: Fergus Kirby

Attendance: 687

Yellow Card: Calladine (Titans)

Titans: Thomas (T), Cheshire (T), Ryan (T, P), Millar (3C, P)

Cornish Pirates: Battista (T), Morgan (T), Duncan (T), Cargill (3C, P)

Titans: 15 Caolan Ryan, 14 Drew Cheshire (Foley h-t), 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Will Thomas, 10 Lee Millar (Henry 80), 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Toby Williams, 2 Jonny Murphy (Cole 49), 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Rob Louw, 5 James Lasis (Dolly 67), 6 Adam Peters, 7 Charlie Maddison (Burns 73), 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.). 

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Tom Burns, 19 Nic Dolly, 20 Dan Grange, 21 Ben Foley, 22 Jake Henry.

Cornish Pirates: 15 Toby May, 14 Kyle Moyle, 13 Dan Koster, 12 Nicolas De Battista, 11 Nicolas Coronel (O'Meara 58), 10 Will Cargill (May 71), 9 Alex Day, 1 Marlen Walker (Jack Andrew 12), 2 Sam Matavesi, 3 Christian Judge (Paul Andrew 52), 4 Chris Morgan (Capt.), 5 Toby Freeman (Caulfield 58), 6 Rupert Cooper (Lee 47), 7 John Stevens, 8 Tom Duncan.

Replacements: 16 Paul Andrew, 17 Jack Andrew, 18 Josh Caulfield, 19 Dan Lee, 20 Mike Pope, 21 Laurence May, 22 Alex O'Meara.

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Connacht Eagles 3 Titans 27

Rotherham Titans ended their British & Irish Cup involvement with an impressive 27-3 win over Connacht Eagles on a heavy pitch at Galway Corinthians to secure runners-up spot in pool 4.

The victory saw Titans record back-to-back wins for the first time since February 2016 as they outscored their Irish hosts by 4 tries to nil.

From the off Rotherham looked bright and energetic and quickly gained field position as their pack dominated with some fierce tackling to lay a positive foundation.

Titans’ hard work was rewarded on 7 minutes, when from a catch and drive close to the line hooker Jonny Murphy crashed over from the tail of a maul. Lee Millar narrowly missed the conversion from out wide and unfortunately had to leave the field shortly after due to a chest injury.

Nevertheless Rotherham continued to impress, especially in defence when required to do so. Terrific line speed combined with aggressive and physical tackling often forced the home side into making errors.

Good line speed enabled Rotherham to add a second try on 26 minutes when Will Thomas quickly closed the gap to charge down a clearance kick which allowed centre Jamie Cooke to race through to dot down. Caolan Ryan added the extras.

Within 3 minutes however Eagles made headway into Rotherham’s half and enjoyed a short period of front-foot ball which forced the Titans on to the back foot and into giving away a penalty. Fly half Luke Carty stepped up to confidently knock over the 3-pointer to reduce his sides arrears to 12-3.

Undeterred Rotherham roared forward once again as their pack re-established control, which in turn led to a line out inside the Eagles 22 on 34 minutes. From there Rotherham rumbled forward before releasing the ball down the blind side to Drew Cheshire who raced through for his fifth try in as many games. On this occasion Ryan missed the extras. However, with the last kick of the half he knocked over a penalty to send Titans in at the break with a healthy 20-3 advantage.

The second half saw both sides make changes throughout which led to the game losing some of its shape and although Titans created some scoring opportunities, as they chased the bonus point try, all too often things broke down at the crucial moment.

However, in the final play of the game Rotherham did secure the bonus point, when replacement winger Jake Henry scored a fine individual try. From around 30 metres out Henry danced his way through a number of challenges before he crashed over the line. Ryan’s conversion put the cherry on top of the Titans cake.

Speaking after the match Titans Nic Rouse reflected, “It probably wasn’t a classic but it was great for our fans that made the trip, I think we had over 50 make the journey and I’m really pleased we gave them something to shout about. We’ve been slowly getting better over the last few weeks; we are trying to implement a few things and I can see the improvement in the boys.

“It wasn’t pretty at times but I thought we were clinical in the first half as we went 20-3 up at the break and I was delighted we got the bonus point try right at the end. I’m happy for the boys because it’s our first back-to-back wins for a long time.

“I think more importantly we didn’t concede a try; we knew they were a dangerous side and they can play from anywhere on the park. So I was pleased with the pressure we put on them which led to them making mistakes and then we capitalised on them.

“The forwards put in a great shift on a very heavy pitch; they imposed themselves and got dominance from very early on in the game.

“We had a long day travelling across and the Captain, Tom Calladine, did a great job with the boys in terms of keeping everyone together, focused and up for the game. It can be easy to drift off with all the travelling, but credit to the boys for going out there right from the off to put in a really good performance.

“Our fans were amazing and the lads really appreciate their passion and support and I’m sure they’ll enjoy a few beers together tonight.”

Referee: Chris Busby

Attendance: 601

Yellow Card: Masterson (Connacht)

Titans: Murphy (T), Cooke (T), Cheshire (T), Henry (T), Ryan (2C, P)

Connacht: Carty (P)

Titans: 15 Caolan Ryan, 14 Drew Cheshire (Henry 55), 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Will Thomas, 10 Lee Millar (Foley 20), 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 51), 2 Jonny Murphy (Cole 51), 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Rob Louw, 5 James Lasis, 6 Tom Burns (Grange 59), 7 Charlie Maddison (Peters 46), 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.) (Dolly 61). 

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Adam Peters, 19 Nic Dolly, 20 Dan Grange, 21 Ben Foley, 22 Jake Henry.

Connacht Eagles: 15 Darragh Leader, 14 Rory Scholes, 13 Kieran Joyce, 12 Andrew Deegan, 11 Matt Byrne, 10 Luke Carty, 9 Ryan Feehily, 1 Matt Burke, 2 Tom McCartney, 3 Conor Kenny, 4 Peter Claffey, 5 Niall Murray, 6 Cillian Gallagher, 7 Sean Masterson, 8 Paul Boyle (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Callum Torpey, 17 Conan O’Donnell, 18 Dylan Tierney, 19 Dan Law, 20 James Mitchell, 21 Conor McKeon, 22 Michael O’Reilly.

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Titans 31 Richmond 10

Rotherham Titans put in a much-improved performance as they notched-up their second British & Irish Cup success with an impressive 31-10 victory over Richmond at Clifton Lane.

Titans outscored their opponents by three tries to one, with Jamie Cooke, Drew Cheshire and a penalty try securing the points. The victory lifts the Titans from the foot of pool 4 and a win next Friday evening in Ireland over Connacht Eagles would see the South Yorkshire side finish runners up in the group.

Titans started the game in bright fashion as they enjoyed a huge amount of territory and possession. Unfortunately for them, Richmond’s defence held firm and it was not until the 23rd minute that Rotherham got on the board. This came via the boot of fly half Lee Millar who confidently slotted over a 3 pointer in difficult, windy conditions.

Titans however didn’t have to wait too much longer to add to their tally. On 28 minutes following some penetrative play from the pack, the ball came out to Jamie Cooke, who playing at centre for the first time, showed impressive footwork and physicality to power over for the first try. Millar’s conversion was pushed narrowly wide by the crosswind.

Rotherham continued to dominate proceedings and five minutes before the break increased their advantage when the impressive Drew Cheshire galloped through the visitors defence to dot down under the posts. Millar bagged the extras from in front of the sticks to stretch the home side’s advantage to 15-0.

In the final play of the half Richmond finally gained some territory and forced Rotherham into conceding a penalty. Winger Ali Chisholm converted with the last kick of the half and Titans went in at the break with a deserved 15-3 advantage.

Rotherham were determined not to let their first half hard work be spoiled with a sloppy start to the second period and their defence ensured this would not be the case.

Titans’ intensity remained high in the opening exchanges and they steadily increased their advantage with three successful penalties from the reliable boot of Millar.

The only blot on the Titans afternoon came 8 minutes from time when Richmond’s loose head prop, Will Goodrick-Clarke crashed over for a try, following a short period of forward pressure close to the Titans line.

Undeterred by this setback Rotherham rallied and showed their own pack-power. From a line out just outside the Richmond 22 Titans set up a driving maul and powered their way up to the visitor’s line before illegally being brought to ground. Referee Mike Hudson was left with no choice but to award Rotherham a penalty try.

Titans went in search of a bonus-point fourth try, but credit to the visitors defence as they held out firmly to deny Rotherham the cherry on top of the cake.

Speaking post-match Titans Nic Rouse explained, “You can only play the team that’s in front of you and Richmond have suffered a few injuries in the last few weeks and they had a mixed side out there. They had some real quality on the bench though, especially in their front row and at scrum half, but at the same time you’ve still got to perform against the opposition and I thought the boys put in a good shift.

“I was disappointed with their try as it came off our mistake, but overall I thought we made a step in the right direction. We won’t get ahead of ourselves and our focus is really on the Championship; we have a big game here in a couple of weeks against Cornish Pirates and that’s what we’re building towards.

“What pleased me with our performance today was they didn’t get in our half in the first 40 minutes until the final minute when they got a penalty and overall our defence was really good. The boys are really buying in to what we are doing and we got the win so we’re all delighted with that.

“I thought Caolan Ryan, playing out of position, really made a difference in the second half. Likewise I thought Jamie Cooke came in and did a job; he held a few defenders for us to score the first try. I thought Drew Cheshire had an outstanding game on the wing and Andrew Foster, who has been a bit in and out of the squad, really showed us what he can do at scrum time.”

Referee: Mike Hudson

Attendance: 227

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Cooke (T), Cheshire (T), Penalty Try, Millar (4P, 1C)

Richmond: Goodrick-Clarke (T), Chisholm (1P, 1C)

Titans: 15 Caolan Ryan, 14 Drew Cheshire, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Wesley Hamilton, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Francisco Vieira (Foley h-t), 1 Tom Williams (Toby Williams 52), 2 Luke Cole (Capt.), 3 Brandon Palmer (Foster 17), 4 Rob Louw, 5 James Lasis, 6 Nic Dolly, 7 Dan Grange (Peters59), 8 Tom Burns (Maddison 66). 

Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Adam Peters, 20 Charlie Maddison, 21 Ben Foley, 22 Jake Henry.

Richmond: 15 Jordan Simpson-Hefft, 14 Martin Freeman, 13 Cameron Mitchell, 12 Cameron Hudson, 11 Ali Chisholm, 10 Freddie Gabbitass (Damant 52), 9 Rhodri Adamson (Jones 66), 1 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 2 Jason Phipps (Townsend 50), 3 Craig Trenier (Tarrant 50), 4 Stan South, 5 Fraser Wem (Scott 55), 6 Lorcan Dow (Lee36), 7 Tom Sargeant, 8 Harison Edwards.

Replacements: 16 Jamie Townsend, 17 Jeremy Cunnew, 18 Myles Scott, 19 Luc Jones, 20 Rory Damant, 21 Adam Lee, 22 Joe Tarrant.

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Hartpury RFC 27 Titans 18

Rotherham Titans showed at times glimpses of their quality during what was a hard-fought and competitive match, before ultimately going down 27-18 to Hartpury RFC.

The defeat leaves Rotherham still searching for their first league win of the season and 22 points adrift of eleventh placed Jersey in the Championship table, with nine games remaining.

New head coach, Nic Rouse, would have been pleased with his side’s first half efforts, as playing into a severe head wind Titans contained the home side for the majority of the half and went in at the break trailing by just 10 points to 3, which to be fair flattered the hosts somewhat.

Titans had actually taken the lead on 4 minutes after a bright start to the game saw Caolan Ryan knock over a penalty in very blustery conditions.

However, on 7 minutes the hosts made good use of the elements to work the ball downfield, before a series of pick and goes from the Hartpury pack culminated with loose head prop Dan Murphy crashing over next to the posts for the first try of the game. Fly half James Williams added the straightforward extras to give the home side a 7-3 lead.

Undeterred, Rotherham continued to enjoy lots of success in terms of possession and field position. This led to a frustrating time for Hartpury and as a result the penalty count against them began to rise.

From 2 of those misdemeanours, two angled penalty attempts from Caolan Ryan, who in normal weather conditions would have comfortably knocked over, saw his efforts forced across the face of the posts by the strong, ever-increasing wind.

Just before the break Hartpury made a rare foray up to the edge of the Titans 22; ill discipline from the visitors gifted them an easy 3-pointer which was tagged over by James Williams to bring the half to a close.

On the back of their first 40 minutes performance Rotherham would have been confident at the break of overturning their arrears, particularly with the elements now in the favour in the second period.

However, a sloppy and somewhat lacklustre start to the half saw the Titans punished. First James Williams added a second penalty to his tally, before replacement hooker Will Tanner dotted down from the tail of a Hartpury driving maul. Williams’ conversion extended the hosts lead to 20-3.

Rotherham eventually found a spark and showed some good quality with ball in hand just after the hour mark. From a scrum on the edge of the Hartpury 22 the ball was worked nicely across the field through the backs. The ball eventually came out wide to Joe Barker who threw a neat inside pass to the charging Ben Foley who crashed over the line at pace. Ryan missed the difficult conversion from out wide.

However, any hopes Titans had of mounting a comeback were scuppered 10 minutes from time when Hartpury’s Tanner was on hand again from the back of a driving maul for his second try. Williams added the extras to make it 27-8.

There was still time for some late drama as Rotherham scored two tries in the final four minutes. Firstly, following some powerful work by the forwards the ball came out to the backs and arrived with Joe Barker; his long pass was perfectly weighted for Drew Cheshire to collect in his stride enabling him to gallop over for a try in the corner. Ryan’s conversion narrowly missed the target.

From the restart Titans collected and with a renewed urgency kept the ball alive with some neat offloading in the tackle. The ball eventually arrived with Charlie Maddison who made a good break on the edge of his own 22 and proceeded to charge downfield. Dan Grange then took over possession and on halfway found Rhodri Davies with a perfectly timed pass which allowed the flying Welshman to race home from 50 metres for a superb try in the corner. Ryan’s conversion narrowly missed the target.

Unfortunately for the Titans the clock ticked down and with it went any hopes of a bonus point.

Commenting post-match Nic Rouse explained, “I think in the first half we applied ourselves and stuck to the game plan and played in the right areas. In the second half with the wind in our favour I thought we should have given a better account of ourselves. We lost a bit of line speed and we allowed them to get on the front foot and I was disappointed with our second half effort.

“I thought overall our set piece was good and we dominated in the early stages, but then they brought on some old heads after 20 minutes which is unheard of really, but because of our dominance they had to do something, but fair play to them for making the changes and it enabled them to swing a couple of scrum their way later on.

“We tried to tweak the way we wanted to play; we wanted to be a bit more pragmatic in our approach, we wanted to play in the right areas through our kicking game and we wanted to be a bit more direct off first phase. We did that on occasions, but we’ve only had 3 days to implement the changes and although there were some promising signs we’ve got a bit more work to do.

“There were some good individual performances today where a number of the boys stuck up their hands and carried all the time, unfortunately it seems to be the same boys doing the same work all the time and unfortunately we didn’t share the workload.”

Referee: John Meredith

Attendance: 826

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Foley (T), Cheshire (T), Davies (T), Ryan (P)

Hartpury: Tanner (2T), Murphy (T), Williams (3C, 2P)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Jake Henry, 13 Paolo Odogwa, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Ben Foley (Cheshire 73), 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies 1 Toby Williams, 2 Jonny Murphy (Cole 51), 3 Sam Nixon (Foster 73), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Matt Postlethwaite (Burns 62), 6 Adam Peters, 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.) (Grange 73).

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Andrew Foster, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Dan Grange, 20 Tom Burns, 21 Lee Millar, 22 Drew Cheshire.

Hartpury: 15 Mike Wilcox, 14 Maliq Holden, 13 Nick Carpenter, 12 Luke Eves, 11 Ed Sheldon, 10 James Williams (Perry 78), 9 Harry Cochrane (Chapman 72), 1 Dan Murphy (Flook 75), 2 Luke Stratford (Tanner 41), 3 Mike Daniels (Harden 25), 4 BJ Edwards (Chan 70), 5 Rhys Oakley (Capt.), 6 Joe Dancer, 7 Mat Gilbert (Hinkley 64), 8 Darrel Dyer.

 Replacements: 16 Will Tanner, 17 Mike Flook, 18 Rupert Harden, 19 Ben So’oialo-Chan, 20 Aaron Hinkley, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Jacob Perry.

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Titans 19 Doncaster Knights 36

Rotherham Titans suffered a disappointing derby defeat against fierce local rival Doncaster Knights, as they went down 36-19 in an entertaining Championship encounter.

Titans enjoyed a productive first half and deservedly went in at the break 16-14 up after a dominant performance from both forwards and backs.

Despite Knights taking an early lead on 10 minutes, when former Titan Will Owen skipped through the home defence to score a fine try, which Simon Humberstone converted, Rotherham soon bounced back to impose themselves on the visitors.

On 16 minutes Titans levelled matters with well-worked try of their own. Following a powerful forward drive in midfield the ball came out to the backs and saw Ben Foley draw the Doncaster defence before sending in Drew Cheshire to score near the posts. Caolan Ryan added the extras.

Titans’ dominance continued though the half which forced Knights into conceding a succession of penalties. Titans’ fly half demonstrated great competence from the tee as he drilled over 3 long-range penalties, the latter impressively from inside his own half which stretched the home side’s advantage to 16-7.

However, just before the break Doncaster set-up a driving maul close to Rotherham line which saw hooker Ben Hunter crashed over for the visitor’s second try; Humberstone’s successful conversion narrowed the visitor’s arrears to 16-14.

Inside the opening 12 minutes of the second period Humberstone and Ryan traded penalties as Rotherham held a narrow 19-17 advantage.

However, the experienced Doncaster pack began to take control of the game as they upped their tempo and physicality. On 55 minutes Knights regained the lead after their pack forced play close to the Titans line, before scrum half Michael Heaney picked up from the base to snipe up the blind side to score his side’s third try.

The momentum began to shift in favour of the visitors and now it was the Titans turn to concede a glut of penalties. Humberstone nailed 3 successful penalty attempts as Knights pulled away to 31-9 on the scoreboard.

Titans managed a late rally but found penetrating Doncaster’s defence a tough task and to make matters worse for the home side, former Titan Curtis Wilson crashed over in the final play of the game to secure a try-bonus point for the visitors.

Commenting post-game Andy Key explained, “I think the score line flatted Doncaster a little, but that’s credit to them for taking their chances and opportunities. They got themselves into the strike zone two or three times and they always came away with points and that’s where we’ve been a little bit guilty of old and we were again at times today.

“We got ourselves into the strike zone but didn’t always come away with it, but I thought Caolan Ryan kept us in the game massively, I thought our defence was awesome and it just shows again that we’re definitely moving in the right direction; but we’ve got to learn how to play for 80 minutes, especially against the better and bigger sides.”

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Attendance: 1,607

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Cheshire (T), Ryan (C, 4P)

Doncaster: Owen (T), Hunter (T), Heaney (T), Wilson (T), Humberstone (2C, 4P)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley, 13 Drew Cheshire (Odogwa 61), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 71), 2 Jonny Murphy (Cole 61), 3 Sam Nixon (Palmer 68), 4 Matt Postlethwaite (Burns 72), 5 Rob Louw, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Dan Grange, 20 Tom Burns, 21 Lee Millar, 22 Paolo Odogwa.

Doncaster Knights: 15 Paul Jarvis, 14 Curtis Wilson, 13 Mat Clark (Foley 79), 12 Will Owen, 11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Simon Humberstone, 9 Michael Heaney (James 75), 1 Richard List (Bergmanas 54), 2 Ben Hunter (Nelson 59), 3 Colin Quigley (Sproston 68), 4 Matt Challinor (Eames 59), 5 Nick Civetta, 6 Jack Ram, 7 Michael Hills (Capt.), 8 Alex Shaw (Batt 79).

Replacements: 16 David Nelson, 17 Jack Bergmanas, 18 Joe Sproston, 19 Morgan Eames, 20 Adam Batt, 21 Tom James, 22 Charlie Foley.

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Ealing Trailfinders 35 Titans 19

Rotherham Titans put in a spirited second half effort as they went down 35-19 to Ealing Trailfinders in round four of the British & Irish Cup on a cold and wet afternoon in West London.

Titans can be pleased with a second half performance which saw them outscore their high-flying opponents 12-7 and in turn set themselves up in confident mood for next week’s Christmas derby against local rivals Doncaster Knights at Clifton Lane.

However, after 30 minutes of the contest things looked bleak for the South Yorkshire side as Trailfinders cut through the Titans defence to run in four unanswered tries through Grayson Hart, Kieran Murphy, Lewis Robling and Morgan Allen, all of which were expertly converted by full back Peter Lydon.

Titans did manage to cross the whitewash on the stroke of half time when back rower Charlie Maddison barged his way over from the tail of a driving maul, after some good work in the build up from his fellow pack members. Fly half Lee Millar tagged over the extras with the final kick of the half.

Following their disappointing first half performance Titans no doubt shared some honest dialogue in the dressing room at the interval and it appeared to have a positive effect as they started the second half in determined fashion.

Indeed Titans were rewarded for their bright and steely opening endeavours to the half when on 48 minutes winger Ben Foley collected the ball and showed tremendous speed to race down the right flank to score in the corner. Millar narrowly missed with his touchline conversion attempt.

Titans will however be disappointed with allowing Ealing back rower Harry Ellis the freedom of the pitch just 2 minutes later as he galloped home from distance to score under the posts. Lydon knocked over the extras from in front of the sticks.

Undeterred by this setback Rotherham continued to take the game to the hosts and began put them under pressure. As the Titans upped their intensity a new-found aggression forced Trailfinders onto the back foot which in turn led to a number of Ealing errors. Titans scrum also began to enjoy some dominance as it earned a growing number of penalties.

It was no surprise when 10 minutes from time Rotherham added to their tally. As the Ealing defence charged off the line Titans Lee Miller cleverly kicked over the top, allowing hooker Jonny Murphy to charge through to collect skilfully before sliding in under the posts on the wet surface. Millar slotted over the extras from in front of the sticks.

Rotherham went in search of a four-try bonus point but the home defence held out to earn a deserved victory and cement their place at the top of pool 4 as they chase a home quarter final tie in the knock-out stages.

Commenting after the game Titans Andy Key revealed, “When we came in at half time we were very critical of ourselves because as a squad we knew that we’d let ourselves down. A lot of that was just the simple things that we weren’t doing as effectively as we needed to and that’s probably the story of our season.

“We needed to take the space a lot earlier and we needed to make our first-up tackles a little bit tougher. At times we are not respecting or appreciating the work that needs to be done, the hard yards that are needed to be made and sometimes we misunderstand that.

“However, our second half performance was spot on and we won it 12-7; ok we lost the game but I was really pleased with what we saw in the second period. We started to impose ourselves on them; we put them on the back foot and as a result sometimes the game becomes a lot easier.

 “We put them under pressure which made them make mistakes and we turned them around; they then kicked poorly and turned over ball. The conditions weren’t the best but I thought we used the ball really well in the second half.

 “We’ve now got the massive Christmas derby game next week at Clifton Lane against our local rivals Doncaster Knights and I’m happier that we’ll go into that one on the back of our second half effort.

“If this team learns and understands how it needs to play for between 60 and 80 minutes to win a game it can be effective as we’ve proved again today in the second half against a side that’s sitting second in the Championship and which has some very good players.”

Referee: Karl Dickson

Attendance: 407

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Maddison (T), Foley (T), Murphy (T), Millar (2C)

Ealing: Hart (T), Murphy (T), Robling (T), Allen (T), Ellis (T), Lydon (5C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley, 13 Drew Cheshire, 12 Rory Jennings (Barker 21) (Cooke 64), 11 Jake Henry, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Francisco Vieira (Davies 53), 1 Tom Williams, 2 Jonny Murphy, 3 Sam Nixon (Foster 55), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Guy Borrowdale (Burns 50) (Palmer 70), 6 Dan Grange (Calladine 56), 7 Charlie Maddison (Capt.), 8 Adam Peters. 

Replacements: 16 Tom Calladine, 17 Andrew Foster, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Rhodri Davies, 21 Joe Barker, 23 Jamie Cooke.

Ealing Trailfinders: 15 Peter Lydon, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Lewis Jones, 12 Lewis Robling, 11 James Cordy Redden, 10 Rory Clegg (Penberthy 55), 9 Grayson Hart (Carter 69), 1 James Gibbons (Sears Duru 55), 2 Rhys Lawrence (Walker 61), 3 Mark Tampin (Rodman 56), 4 Llewelyn Jones (Casson 64), 5 Oli Curry, 6 Kieran Murphy (Capt.), 7 Arthur Ellis, 8 Morgan Allen.

Replacements:  16 Alun Walker, 17 Djustice Sears Duru, 18 Sam Rodman, 19 Harry Casson, 20 Rayn Smid, 21 Luke Carter, 22 Aaron Penberthy.

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Titans 10 Ealing Trailfinders 45

Rotherham Titans suffered a 45-10 loss to Ealing Trailfinders in round 3 of the British & Irish Cup on a bitterly cold afternoon at Clifton Lane.

The cup defeat to Trailfinders effectively ends Titans hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the competition, with away trips to Ealing and Connacht to follow and a home tie against Richmond sandwiched in between.

Titans however put in a sterling first half effort which saw them go in at the break level at 10 apiece. Indeed Rotherham took the lead after just five minutes through outside centre Drew Cheshire.

His line-breaking try was well worked, initially through the forwards and then quick hands through the backs allowed Cheshire to scythe through the Ealing defence to score a fine try which Lee Millar converted. It was no more than Rotherham deserved for their bright opening.

Ealing slowly worked themselves into the game and scored their first try on 14 minutes when full back Luke Daniels collected in midfield and showed good footwork and speed to go over near the corner. He was unable to convert his own try.

Just pass the halfway mark Ealing took the lead when hooker Alun Walker barged over following a period of forward dominance from the Trailfinders pack. Again Daniels missed with his conversion attempt.

Rotherham continued to show good signs as they competed admirably against the high-flyers from West London and when just before the break they were awarded a penalty, up stepped fly half Lee Millar to confidently and successfully bag the 3-pointer to send the teams in at the break level.

Titans would have pleased with their first 40 minutes shift and hopeful of repeating it in the second half and in turn creating a massive shock result.

However, their plans were soon dashed as inside the opening 20 minutes the visitors crossed the whitewash four times to take the game away from Rotherham. Tries from Lewis Jones, Harry Casson, Grayson Hart and Lewis Robling, all of which were converted by Luke Daniels, devastated the home side.

To their credit however, the Titans never quit their responsibilities as they continued to try and make their mark in the second half.

Twelve minutes from the end Ealing ran in the final score of the game when Lewis Jones dived over for his second and his side’s seventh try of the game. Daniels tagged over the extras to make the final score 45-10 to the visitors.

Speaking post-match, Titans Andy Key explained, “The boys were outstanding in the first half; unfortunately we came up against a better and more resilient side in the second half.

“It was a difficult second 40 minutes for us; we said at half time we needed to shore-up our inside defence and make sure we didn’t allow them as much space. Going in 10-10 at the break, having had a reasonable amount of the game and with the boys showing good character in the way they kept their shape was very pleasing.

“We knew a good side like Ealing would come back at us in the second half, we tried to work as hard as we could to try and retain the ball, but I think that’s where we slipped up a little bit. We didn’t quite control the ball as well as we had in the first half and as a result they got more possession and more front foot ball.

“There were a couple of guys who really stood out today; I thought Jonny Murphy was outstanding in all departments, his work rate around the field was tireless in everything he did and Charlie Maddison led from the front as he normally does.”

Referee: Fergus Kirby

Attendance: 289

Yellow Card: Rob Louw (Titans)

Titans: Cheshire (T), Millar (P, C)

Ealing: Lewis Jones (2T), Walker (T), Casson (T), Hart (T), Robling (T), Daniels (T, 5C)

Titans: 15 Ben Foley, 14 Jamie Cooke, 13 Drew Cheshire, 12 Will Thomas, 11 Wesley Hamilton (Henry h-t), 10 Lee Millar, 9 Francisco Vieira (Davies 60), 1 Tom Williams (Toby Williams 60), 2 Jonny Murphy, 3 Brandon Palmer (Foster 64), 4 Rob Louw, 5 James Lasis (Borrowdale 32) (Peters 47), 6 Dan Grange, 7 Charlie Maddison (Capt.), 8 Tom Burns (Calladine 67). 

Replacements: 16 Toby Williams, 17 Andrew Foster, 18 Guy Borrowdale, 19 Adam Peters, 20 Tom Calladine, 21 Rhodri Davies, 22 Jake Henry.

Ealing Trailfinders: 15 Luke Daniels, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Lewis Jones, 12 Lewis Robling, 11 Will Harries, 10 Rory Clegg (O’Conor 62), 9 Grayson Hart (Carter 67), 1 James Gibbons (Sears-Duru 55), 2 Alun Walker (Lawrence 60), 3 Lewis Thiede (Tampin 55), 4 Harry Casson (Capt.), 5 Oli Curry, 6 Rayn Smid (Maddison 70), 7 Dan Temm, 8 Morgan Allen (Llewelyn Jones 60).

Replacements: 16 Rhys Lawrence, 17 Djustice Sears-Duru, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Llewelyn Jones, 20 Barney Maddison, 21 Luke Carter, 22 Piers O’Conor.

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Yorkshire Carnegie 47 Titans 11

Rotherham Titans suffered a disappointing derby day defeat, as they crashed 47-11 to Yorkshire Carnegie in the Greene King IPA Championship at the Emerald Headingley Stadium.

The defeat leaves Rotherham still searching for their first league success after 11 games as they remain bottom of the table at the half way mark in the Championship.

Overall Titans will be disappointed with their performance, particularly in the first half where they appeared to be second best in most departments.

Carnegie dominated for most of the first 40 minutes as they crossed the white wash five times, four of which came direct from driving mauls, with the fifth coming via a driving maul.

Titans had taken the lead after just 3 minutes when fly half Lee Millar nicely converted a penalty. However, the hosts soon settled into the game and within 2 minutes nosed themselves ahead when loose head prop Marc Thomas crashed over from the tail of a maul close to the Titans line.

Carnegie’s advantage was stretched on 12 minutes when following a powerful driving maul the ball came out and was quickly fed to the backs. A cheeky grubber-kick followed which caught out the Titans defence, allowing Pete Lucock to chase through to dot down.

Carnegie’s hooker Joe Buckle then helped himself to a brace of tries as again the home maul drove over the Rotherham line. Sandwiched in between Titans scored a good try through winger Ben Foley after a brief period of possession in the hosts half.

Just after the half hour mark Lee Millar reduced the Titans arrears to 26-11 after he nailed a superb long-range penalty.

However, normal service was resumed by the hosts just before the break when Captain Richard Mayhew crashed over the line from another Carnegie driving maul.

Rotherham improved their performance in the second period, but not enough to make a significant impact on the overall score line.

Early in the second half Carnegie full back Chris Elder went over for a well taken backs try and midway through hooker Joe Buckle secured his hat trick when again from the tail of a driving maul he was on hand to dot down.

Rotherham finished well and had lots of territory and possession and often found themselves deep inside the hosts 22. However, credit to Carnegie; each and every time they found themselves under threat they managed to repel the Titans and keep their line intact.

Speaking post-match a disappointed Andy Key reflected, “We can take some solace from our second half performance; it was a performance which allowed us to put a little bit of pride back into the side, but we can’t start games in the manner we did.

“In the very early stages we actually played quite well,  our kicking game was good, we were playing territory quite well and we scored 3 points to take the lead.

“But then it’s the consequences of some of our mistakes, and we saw today nearly everything that they got came off our mistakes. So that’s hugely disappointing, because to go in at half time 33-11 down is embarrassing.

“I was more pleased with our second half display; but unfortunately we’re still looking at a loss and we still shipped 47 points overall.

“Our defence of the driving maul was also disappointing; when you play Carnegie you know that’s what they’re going to do, so we’re disappointed at allowing them to get into those positions and then in how we deal with it when it came.

“Frustratingly, our defence in both halves at times was excellent, it’s just the guys have to understand that’s what we have to do to succeed in this particular league and it’s not about just doing it now and again.

“So as a group we are all hugely disappointed, but we’ll be back at training next week and we’ll dust ourselves down and we’ll get on with it again.”

Referee: Dean Richards

Attendance: 1,429

Yellow Card: James Thraves (Carnegie)

Titans: Foley (T), Millar (2P)

Yorkshire Carnegie: Buckle (3T), Thomas (T), Lucock (T), Mayhew (T), Elder (T), Homer (6C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Wesley Hamilton, 13 Drew Cheshire, 12 Logan Tibbetts, 11 Ben Foley (Cooke 70), 10 Lee Millar, 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 59), 2 Luke Cole (Murphy 59), 3 Matt Shields (Palmer 61), 4 Matt Postlethwaite (Burns 67), 5 Byron Hodge (Lasis h-t), 6 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Adam Peters. 

Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 James Lasis, 20 Tom Burns, 21 Jamie Cooke, 22 Francisco Vieira.

Yorkshire Carnegie: 15 Chris Elder, 14 George Watkins (Beech 71) (Watkins 74), 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Tom Casson (Burdon 44), 11 Louis Brown (Atkins 59), 10 Pete Lucock, 9 Will Homer, 1 Marc Thomas (Capps 73), 2 Joe Buckle (Newborn 75), 3 Charlie Beech (Thraves 61), 4 Jack Whetton (Bainbridge 52), 5 Mike Myerscough, 6 Richard Beck, 7 Richard Mayhew (Capt.), 8 Ollie Stedman (West 52).

Replacements: 16 Harry Newborn, 17 Charlie Capps, 18 James Thraves, 19 Ben West, 20 Josh Bainbridge, 21 Fred Burdon, 22 Darren Atkins.

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Titans 24 London Scottish 27

Rotherham Titans were denied their first Championship victory of the season as London Scottish winger Craig Holland went over for a try in the tenth minute of injury time to give the visitors a 27-24 victory at Clifton Lane.

The late drama was brutally heart-breaking for the South Yorkshire side, as for much of the contest they had been the better side and would have fully deserved their first win of the season.

However, the result leaves Rotherham 16 points adrift of both Jersey and London Scottish at the foot of the table and with a mountain to climb if they are going to avoid relegation into National One for next season.

The game itself started in worrying fashion for the Titans as inside 5 minutes the Exiles crashed over for their first try through hooker Isaac Miller and with a successful conversion from fly half Jake Sharp to follow, the visitors quickly moved into a 7-0 lead.

Rotherham however didn’t let this early setback deter them as they bounced back quickly with good periods of territory and possession; although they did have to wait until the 22nd minute before getting on the scoreboard themselves.

But when they did they did in some style as the ball arrived with scrum half Rhodri Davies from a line out and the Welshman showed terrific pace and awareness to skip through the Scottish defence to score a fine try. Caolan Ryan added the extras to draw the scores level.

Rotherham continued to enjoy the lion’s share of play as both backs and forwards combined well to keep the visitors under pressure and error-strewn. On the back of that pressure Titans added a well-deserved second try just before the break when Rhodri Davies once again showed his class as he made a blind side break, before accelerating away to score near the posts. Ryan’s extras double Titans lead to 14-7.

And there was just enough first half injury time remaining to allow Ryan to knock over a penalty to send the hosts in at the break with a well-earned 17-7 advantage.

Rotherham would have looked to keep things tight in the opening exchanges of the second period; however, that’s not how it panned out. Within 8 minutes of the restart London Scottish had levelled the game following a Jake Sharp penalty and then a second try from hooker Isaac Miller, which Sharp successfully converted.

The game then tightened up as both sides appeared to realise the importance of the game and each side looked nervous in what they were trying achieve.

However, ten minutes from time it was the visitors who nosed ahead when Sharp calmly slotted over a 3-pointer following Rotherham being penalised for offside.

The tension now within Clifton Lane was palpable, but that was massively eased for the home side five minutes from the end when winger Ben Foley charged down a clearing Scottish kick and hacked on into the try-scoring zone. As he was about to dot down he was taken out off the ball by Scottish replacement Charlie Ingall. The referee immediately awarded a penalty try to give Rotherham a 24-20 lead and yellow carded the offender.

Quite where 10 minutes of injury time came from at the end no one in the ground appeared to know afterwards. However, credit to London Scottish as they never gave up in their attempts to win the game and you could almost hear a pin drop when winger Craig Holland crashed over at the death.

A very disappointed Andy Key commented post-match, “I’m really don’t understand where all the injury time came from at the end, but having said that we haven’t helped ourselves in the game and there were times when our discipline let us down around the offside line.

“I’ve got to bite my lip a little, but I think they’ve got to take a hard look at London Scottish and opportunities that could have come our way with regards to them being offside. I don’t really want to talk about the officials, but once again we have been hurt in the last couple of weeks. We are in control of our own destiny, but we expect things to happen in the middle are in line with what should happen. We got penalised three times for being offside, I think they got penalised once, if that.

“At the end we were in the right area of the field, we were defending them and they knocked the ball on and when we go down to pick it up we get nudged in the back; that should be a penalty to us and it’s as simple as that because you can’t do that.

“I thought we saw a huge shift in performance from the boys and they showed a massive amount of character and I’m really pleased with what they did, I couldn’t have asked for much more. But at the end of the day I think it’s fair to say we’ve only got ourselves to blame; some of that indiscipline gave them opportunities to score some points.”

Referee: Matthew O'Grady

Attendance: 634

Yellow Card: Ingall (Scottish)

Titans: Davies (2T), Penalty Try, Ryan (P, 2C)

London Scottish: Miller (2T), Holland (T), Sharp (2P, 3C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley, 13 Yiannis Loizias (Hamilton 29), 12 Logan Tibbetts, 11 Drew Cheshire, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Tom Williams (Toby Williams 60), 2 Luke Cole (Murphy 54), 3 Matt Shields (Palmer 67), 4 Adam Peters, 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 7 Charlie Maddison (Postlethwaite 72), Tom Burns (Grange 67). 

Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Dan Grange, 21 Lee Millar, 22 Wesley Hamilton.

London Scottish: 15 Fraser Lyle (Ingall 67), 14 Matt Williams, 13 Ross Neal, 12 Ben Mosses, 11 Craig Holland, 10 Jake Sharp, 9 Alex Walker, 1 Derrick Appiah (Christie 72), 2 Isaac Miller (George72), 3 Ewan McQuillin (Cringle 53), 4 Ed Milne, 5 Jonathan Mills (Capt.), 6 Gregor Gillanders, 7 Chris Walker (Marley 73), 8 Joe Atkinson.

Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Ben Onyeama Christie, 18 Phil Cringle, 19 Matt Marley, 20 Max Berry, 21 Ed Hoadley, 22 Charlie Ingall.

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