Plymouth Albion 24 Titans 17

Rotherham Titans put in a tremendous effort before eventually going down 24-17 to a determined Plymouth Albion side at Brickfields.

Titans collected a losing bonus point for their endeavours, but ultimately what cost them victory was their indifferent start to a game which saw them trail 14-0 inside the first 20 minutes.

Rotherham pretty much bossed the final 50 minutes of an enthralling contest, but the home side showed great determination in defence to hold out for a crucial win.

Titans overall strength was undoubtedly their scrum, which pretty much dismantled the opposition throughout the match. However, their line-out proved to be their Achilles heel as all too often at critical times in the game it let them down badly.

After tries from Albion backs Jon Dawe and Jack Arnott, both of which were converted by full back Matt Shepherd on 17 minutes, it was always going to be difficult for Rotherham to overcome their deficit. But try they did and they are to be commended for their determined approach and never-say-die attitude.

Titans Alex Dolly and Albion’s Shepherd traded penalties late in the half, before deep into injury time Titans number 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor rounded off a sweeping move to score near the posts. Dolly added the extras to send his side in at the break trailing 17-10.

Rotherham’s aim would have been to score first in the second period; however Albion doubled their advantage to 14 points on 54 minutes when a five metre catch and drive was finished off by ex-Titan hooker Davy McGregor, with Shepherd adding the extras.

Undeterred by the set-back Rotherham continued to power forward and enjoyed large spells of dominance, both in terms of territory and possession.

On 67 minutes Titans reduced their arrears to 7 points when Nagle-Taylor dotted down from the tail of a scrum for Dolly to convert the extras. There was some surprise that Albion didn’t receive a yellow card at this juncture as they conceded numerous penalties, as their set-piece crumbled and disintegrated under huge Titans pressure.

However, the score set up the game nicely for an excitingly tense finish; but as hard they tried Rotherham were just unable to convert their dominance into points. Ironically in the 87th minute Albion received a yellow card for their repeated transgressions, but all too late to make any real significance on the game.

Commenting post-match Titans Joe Barker explained, “Based on the full 80 minutes and if you look at the stats overall I think the better side lost today and as such we are very disappointed with the outcome. However, we weren’t the better team in the first 30 minutes, despite showing glimpse of what we are capable of we trailed 14-0 and ultimately that indifferent start cost us the game.

“You just can’t get into the opponents red zone as often as we did and lose the ball, whether that is at line-outs, at the breakdown or whatever. We dominated for long periods but our errors cost us the win.

“But to be fair to the boys they showed tremendous resilience and character to keep coming back, no matter what happened during the game; a lot of stuff didn’t go our way but the boys were outstanding in their efforts to keep on battling against all the obstacles in their way and I’m proud of them for that.”

Referee: Veryan Boscawen

Attendance: 1100

Yellow Card: Swain (Albion)

Titans: Nagle-Taylor (2T), Dolly (P, 2C)

Plymouth Albion: Dawe (T), Arnott (T), McGregor (T), Shepherd (P, 3C)

Titans: 15 Alex Dolly, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Ellis Abrahams, 12 Joe Barker (Cooke 40), 11 Connor Field, 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Connor Dever, 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Jack Bergmanas (Thomson 50), 3 Will Dennis, 4 Jamie Ure (Preston-Routledge 50), 5 Kieran Frost, 6 Luis Ball (Cotterill 56), 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Ali Thomson, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Dan Preston-Routledge, 19 Tom Cotterill, 20 Jamie Cooke.

Plymouth Albion: 15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Josh Skelcey, 13 Jon Dawe (Powell 74), 12 Dean Squire, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Connor Eastgate, 9 Cameron Setter (Snow 64), 1 James Kenny (Pullinger 67), 2 Ashlee Crouch (McGregor 46), 3 Dan Pullinger (Norton 56), 4 Lewis Pearson, 5 Dan Swain, 6 George Mills, 7 Flynn Elworthy (Tuima 64), 8 Herbie Stupple (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Davy McGregor, 17 Rusi Tuima, 18 Will Norton, 19 Joe Snow, 20 Dan Powell.

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Titans 22 Esher 12

Rotherham Titans returned to winning ways with a worthy 22-12 win over an impressive Esher outfit at Clifton Lane.

A disjointed first half performance from Rotherham, in difficult blustery conditions, was quickly forgotten as they put in a powerful second half shift, which saw replacement number 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor score a hat trick of tries.

The bonus-point victory was based on an impressive second half scrum effort from the South Yorkshire side, as the platform it set undoubtedly led them to a deserved victory.

Rotherham started the game in bright fashion and quickly took the lead on 6 minutes when tight head prop and skipper for the day, Rikki Stout, barged his way over from a catch and drive five metres from the line. Callum Irvine hit the post with his conversion attempt from out wide in difficult conditions.

Although Titans continued to have good territory and possession the visitors defended with good intensity and forced the home side into errors in handling.

Eventually Esher made their way into Titans territory and after a number of phases they worked the ball across field for outside centre Dan Rowland to dive over in the corner for an unconverted try. Rotherham would have been disappointed with their defensive efforts for the score.

Esher took confidence from their success and enjoyed the better of the latter stages of the half, although there would be no more points added as the teams went in at the break at 5-5.

The visitors would have come out for the second period full of confidence and with a strong wind now at their backs they would probably have been favourites to win the game.

However, at half time Rotherham made a number of changes to their pack which would eventually make the difference at the end.

Before that though it was Esher who took the lead 8 minutes into the second half when loose head prop Matt Lowes crashed over from the tail of a driving maul. Impressively from the touchline Owen Waters added the extras to extend his side’s advantage to 12-5.

Rotherham then showed good character to force their way back into the game and as their scrum started to demonstrate its dominance the confidence levels grew.

On 56 minutes replacement number 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor collected from the base of a scrum five metres out, before charging his way over for Titans second try. This time Callum Irvine impressed from the tee in the difficult conditions to level the scores.

From here on in the momentum of the game shifted and Titans always looked as though they would go on to grab the win. On 68 minutes Titans re-took the lead from a five metre line-out which saw Nagle-Taylor touch down from the tail.

Then three minutes from time the impressive Nagle-Taylor was on hand again. This time from a scrum close to the line Connor Dever popped an inside pass to the number 8 for his hat-trick and to secure the bonus point win.

Commenting post-match Joe Barker explained, “We did struggle in some areas in the first half, but what we did do in that period was tire them in the way we played and we did actually play some good rugby too. At times it maybe didn’t come off, but we knew we had it in us and we defended really well.

“In the second half we showed that when it does all click we can get over the line and we scored four tries to get the bonus point win.

“After the last couple of weeks and the disappointment of those results, to get a five point win at home is really pleasing. The lads have been putting it in hard in training and we’ve been very honest with ourselves within the group and everyone has taken ownership for their roles.

“Esher had a big pack, but we managed to move them around and that had an effect in the second half. The ball was in-play a lot today and that too had an effect.

“We had a positive influence from the bench and Seb made a huge impact when we brought him on in the second half. Obviously he’s very powerful off the back of the scrum and massive credit to the front five for setting the platform for Seb to do what he did.

“So we’re delighted to get the win, but we must now quickly switch our focus on to Plymouth. They are a much-improved side from when we played them earlier in the season; it will be a tough game of rugby, but one we are capable of winning if we get everything right.”

Referee: Harry Walbaum

Attendance: 534

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Nagle-Taylor (3T), Stout (T), Irvine (1C)

Esher: Rowland (T), Lowes (T), O Waters (1C)

Titans: 15 Sam Allan, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Harry Dunne (Dolly 69), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jamie Cooke, 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Connor Dever, 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Ali Thomson (Bergmanas 40), 3 Rikki Stout (Capt.) (Dennis 56), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge (Ure 40), 5 Kieran Frost, 6 Luis Ball, 7 Tom Cotterill (Poole 58), 8 Zak Poole (Nagle-Taylor 40).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Jamie Ure, 19 Seb Nagle-Taylor, 20 Alex Dolly.

Esher Rugby: 15 Callum Monks, 14 Joe Beckett, 13 Dan Rowland, 12 Tom Cheeseman (Fluker 38), 11 Tom James (Irving 29), 10 Owen Waters (Cheeseman 57), 9 Jack Walsh, 1 Matt Lowes (Mines 46) (Zeiss 69), 2 Rhodri Tanner (Hope 46) (Tanner 69), 3 Cameron Zeiss (Lowes 55), 4 Andy Hore, 5 Devin Montgomery, 6 Cameron Gentles, 7 Charlie Gossington (Capt.), 8 Robert Dudley-Jones (Moore-Aiono 54).

Replacements: 16 Devlin Hope, 17 Oliver Mines, 18 Izzy Moore-Aiono, 19 Kariym Irving, 20 Andrew Fluker.

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Titans 23 Loughborough Students 29

Rotherham Titans suffered a disappointing 29-23 home defeat to bottom placed side Loughborough Students.

A penalty try, a Harry Dunne try and 11 points from the tee from Alex Dolly managed to salve a bonus point for the South Yorkshire side.

However, that was little consolation for a team who have grand ambitions in National 1 and who for the second week in succession will look inwards at why they didn’t come away with a victory over a bottom-end placed side in the division.

The first 30 minutes went according to plan for Rotherham; an early penalty from Alex Dolly and a penalty try from a pack which demonstrated great dominance at the set scrum saw the hosts comfortably race into a 10-0 lead.

However, not for the first time recently Titans were unable to convert their pressure into points and when 6 minutes before the break Loughborough’s full back Tim Bitirim charged through to score with little interference, the alarm bells started to ring.

Deep into first half injury time Dolly added a second penalty, but within a minute of the restart Titans yet again offered little resistance as Bitirim went over in the corner for his second try. The conversion from Charlie Reed was added to give the visitors a surprise 14-13 lead.

Dolly and Reed then traded penalties before on the hour mark Harry Dunne finished off a good Titans move which saw the centre go over for his seventh try of the season. Dolly’s extras gave the hosts a 6 point lead and a base from which to kick on and seal the game.

However, that wasn’t to be as two tries from the visitors inside the final 6 minutes from Bitirim and replacement prop Ben Christie meant Rotherham had to settle for an unsatisfactory losing bonus point.

Speaking afterwards a disappointed Joe Barker explained, “That was not good enough and that’s not Rotherham. We were very patchy and although we were good at times, we weren’t good enough for long enough and we were inconsistent.

“I would also say in the four games since Christmas we haven’t performed well. Some of our lads have got to have a look at themselves off the pitch so we can perform on the pitch, because it’s not been good enough as a squad.

“It always hurts when you lose, but this one hurts so much more because we were poor. We can no longer use the excuse of being a new squad and we can’t have any excuses for this one.

“Certain individuals didn’t get their jobs right; as a team once we got into our defensive sets we were completely fine, but at times some individuals just switched off and that isn’t good enough.

“At 10-0 up we should have finished the game off but we didn’t and we paid for that. To say I’m disappointed is an understatement; we’ve let ourselves down and we’ve let the club down today.”

Referee: John Meredith

Attendance: 582

Yellow Card: Boye (Loughborough)

Titans: Pen Try, Dunne (T), Dolly (3P, C)

Loughborough Students: Bitirim (3T), Christie (T), Reed (P, 3C)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Harry Dunne (Dever 62), 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Dan Richardson (Williams 62), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (47), 4 Luis Ball, 5 Kieran Frost, 6 Tom Cotterill (Preston-Routledge 70), 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Jessie Williams, 18 Will Dennis, 19 Dan Preston-Routledge, 20 Connor Dever.

Loughborough Students: 15 Tim Bitirim, 14 Will Attfield, 13 Alex Glashan (Capt.), 12 Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, 11 Will Brown, 10 Charlie Reed, 9 Jack Moates (Watson 60), 1 Keston Lines (Christie 50), 2 Harry Newborn (Adams 50), 3 Andrew Boye (Lines 65), 4 Cameron Boon, 5 Sam Bailey, 6 Thibaud Flament, 7 Musa Yusuff, 8 Ogwenesuvwe Obano (Van Der Ploeg 34).

Replacements: 16 Oliver Adams, 17 Ben Christie, 18 Adrian Van Der Ploeg, 19 Callum Watson, 20 Matt Edwards.

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Sale FC 13 Titans 12

Rotherham Titans endured a bad day at the office as they crashed to a disappointing 13-12 defeat away to Sale FC.

Titans crossed the whitewash twice through Kieran Frost and Henry Roberts, with Ellis Abrahams adding a conversion to collect a losing bonus point.

Missing 11 points from the tee didn’t help the Titans cause and they will now look to bounce back against Loughborough Student at Clifton Lane on Saturday.

Titans have had their fair share of closing out tight games in their favour and have enjoyed the huge satisfaction that comes with those outcomes.

This time against Sale they couldn’t do that and instead they left Heywood Road with the bitter taste of regret and to make matters worse for Titans it was a game they should have won comfortably.

Titans started much the brighter, but despite this had to wait until the 22nd minute to take the lead through lock forward Kieran Frost, who barged his way over following some good forward pressure from his pack mates. Ellis Abrahams converted to make it 7-0.

Sale showed lots of endeavour but found it difficult to penetrate the Rotherham line; this was until the 34th minute when bulky prop forward used his physical advantages to dot down from the tail of a maul. Scrum half Matt Bradley missed the extras.

Despite Titans having much the better of territory and possession during the first period, to go in at the break leading by only 2 points would have been disappointing for them.

However, they would have been delighted when winger Henry Roberts danced his way through the Sale defence just 4 minutes into the second half for a fine individual try. Crucially the conversion was missed from out wide.

On 53 minutes a poor kick-chase by Rotherham saw the home side move the ball quickly across the field for winger Anthony Bingham to touch down in the corner. Bradley missed the conversion to leave Titans 12-10 to the good.

As the game moved into the final quarter Titans appeared to lose their way somewhat and the all-round advantages they’d enjoyed earlier seemed to be decreasing.

However, when they were awarded a penalty on 62 minutes they had an opportunity to take their lead to 4 points; unfortunately for the South Yorkshire side the opportunity was missed.

As the game entered the final 10 minutes and with a feeling of inevitability about it, the home side were awarded a penalty which Bradley knocked through the sticks to edge his side 13-12 ahead.

The remainder of the contest saw Rotherham throw everything they had at Sale, but credit to the home side as they managed to withstand the huge pressure that came their way to hold out for a crucial victory.

Post match a disappointed Joe Barker explained, “We should have controlled the game better than we did and we probably should have been a lot further ahead at half time. We scored first in the second half with a good try and we should have kicked on from there, but instead of doing that we let them back into the game.

“Overall our performance just wasn’t good enough today; we weren’t ruthless enough to finish it off and we were slack in the small areas and although we were good in other aspects of the game, the small detail killed us today.

“Credit to Sale they finished the game off and they came back at us and scored a good try to be fair, but that came about from our poor kick-chase and it is disappointing because these lads have got it in them but they’ve got to be there mentally on the day and they’ve got to stay in it for 80 minutes.

“You have to be constantly on it and you have to make sure you’re doing the small things every bit as much as the bigger things and if everyone was doing that today we would have got the result, but that wasn’t the case and that’s the disappointing thing.”

Referee: Nick Wood

Attendance: 632

Yellow Card: Ball (Titans)

Titans: Frost (T), Roberts (T), Abrahams (1C)

Sale FC: Kelly (T), Bingham (T), Bradley (1P)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Ellis Abrahams (Dunne 55), 11 Henry Roberts, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Connor Dever (Dolly 47), 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Jack Bergmanas (Thomson 55), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 53), 4 Luis Ball, 5 Kieran Frost (Keys 40), 6 Tom Cotterill, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Ali Thomson, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Conor Keys, 19 Harry Dunne, 20 Alex Dolly.

Sale FC: 15 Jonty Rawcliffe, 14 Elliot Hodgson (Owen 70), 13 Jack Moorhouse, 12 Johnny Leota, 11 Anthony Bingham (Hodgson 77), 10 Matt Sturgess, 9 Matt Bradley, 1 Dan Birchall, 2 Neil Briggs (Taylor 47), 3 Joe Kelly (Aigbokhae 47), 4 Will Davies (Priestley-Nangle 67), 5 Matt Postlethwaite, 6 Andy Hughes (Capt.), 7 David Seymour, 8 Ryan Parkinson (Ailes 67).

Replacements: 16 Adam Aigbokhae, 17 Christian Taylor, 18 Stone Priestley-Nangle, 19 Tom Ailes, 20 Chris Owen.

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Titans 21 Birmingham Moseley 20

Rotherham Titans showed tremendous character to snatch a dramatic 21-20 victory over Birmingham Moseley in the 94th minute with a converted try in the final play of the game.

When Moseley hooker Ryan Roach scored his hat trick driving maul try with 3 minutes remaining, to put his side 20-14 ahead, it looked a long way back for the Titans.

However, this young Titans squad showed incredible desire, character and determination to battle right to the end and their efforts were rewarded when flanker Zak Poole barged his way over following a period of enormous pressure close to the line.

Ellis Abrahams then kept his cool to slot over the conversion to send the Titans faithful into raptures.

No one would have expected so a tight, dramatic finish to a game in which the Titans started so brightly and in control. They pinged out of the box from the off and scored their first try on 4 minutes.

Good line speed by the South Yorkshire side forced Moseley into a handling error which Seb Nagle-Taylor pounced on and proceeded to gallop in from 40 metres to score under the sticks. Ellis Abrahams added the extras for a perfect start.

Rotherham continued to go about their work with lots of energy and intensity and on several occasions manoeuvred themselves into great scoring positions. Unfortunately for them a combination of poor decision making and execution combined with a tenacious opposition defence meant they were unable to breach the try line.

When Titans lost at Moseley earlier in the season, they conceded 4 tries, all of which came from the driving maul and all of which were scored by the hooker Adam Caves.

In this game Moseley were to score 3 tries and again all would come via the driving maul and again all would be scored by the hooker; only this time the hooker was Ryan Roach.   

If you have a particular strength why wouldn’t you use it? And so on 20 minutes the visitors levelled matters with their first, which centre James Williams converted.

Despite each side’s best endeavours no more points were added in the first 40 and the teams went in at the break at 7 each.

Rotherham had enjoyed the better of things during the first half but in the opening period of the second half Moseley worked themselves back into the game; this culminated with their second maul try on the hour mark – Williams missed the conversion.

However, within 5 minutes Titans bounced back with a brilliant training ground move which saw Moseley duped and scrum half Connor Dever dance his way through to score under the posts. Abrahams converted to nose Rotherham 14-12 ahead.

Frustrating for the home side they conceded a penalty almost from the restart and their lead lasted for under 2 minutes as National 1’s leading points scorer James Williams added the 3-pointer to give his side a 15-14 lead.

The contest descended into a fragmented stop-start affair which made it difficult for either side to play much rugby. However, as the clock ticked down Moseley appeared to seal victory, when Ryan Roach dived over for his third maul try. Crucially for Rotherham however, Williams narrowly missed the conversion.

In a massively tense finish which saw 14 minutes of added time, this was mainly due to Moseley relentlessly giving away penalties and which also saw lock Lewis Bean yellow carded for his part, Titans eventually bundled their way over through flanker Zak Poole, ably assisted by Luis Ball.

You could have heard a pin drop as Ellis Abrahams teed up the conversion and when the inside centre calmly struck his effort through the sticks the Titans faithful inside the ground went wild with delight.

Commenting post-match a relieved Joe Barker explained, “It was a very close match; one I think the team who played the better rugby came out on top. I think at times they managed the game situation better than us as they slowed it down to a pace they were comfortable to play at.

“They were strong in the set piece and they were strong up front like we knew they would be; but they slowed the game right down and we struggled to handle that at times. So to come back like we did was very pleasing.

“We said under the sticks after their third try that we needed to charge down the conversion, because we knew we go and win the game by 1 point. That was the belie3f of the boys even at that stage and I’m so proud of the lads for achieving that.

“It wasn’t the best of games to watch and for a variety of reasons there wasn’t much rugby played and we know we’ve got a lot of areas we need to work on if we want to achieve what we want to achieve, both as a club and as individuals.”

Referee: Alex Thomas

Attendance: 694

Yellow Card: Bean (Birmingham Moseley)

Titans: Nagle-Taylor, Dever, Poole, Abrahams (3C)

Birmingham Moseley: R Roach (3T), Williams (C, P)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Henry Roberts (Field 69), 10 Joe Barker, 9 Connor Dever (Dolly 75), 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Jack Bergmanas (Thomson 52), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 75), 4 Conor Keys (Cotterill 40), 5 Kieran Frost, 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.). 

Replacements: 16 Ali Thomson, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Tom Cotterill, 19 Connor Field, 20 Alex Dolly.

Birmingham Moseley: 15 Mike Penn, 14 Alex Hearle, 13 Ollie Allsopp (Fatiaki 69), 12 James Williams, 11 Louis Roach, 10 Sam Hollingsworth, 9 Rob Lewis (Capt.) (Pointon 75), 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 Ryan Roach, 3 Jay Tyack (Fidler 60), 4 Chukwuma Osazuwa, 5 Lewis Bean, 6 Jacques Le Roux (Cowan 40), 7 Josh Poole, 8 Chris Brightwell.

Replacements: 16 Adam Caves, 17 Tom Fidler, 18 Laurence Cowan, 19 Ravai Fatiaki, 20 Sam Pointon.

Photo courtesy of Rotherham Advertiser

Photo courtesy of Rotherham Advertiser

Rosslyn Park 46 Titans 24

Rotherham Titans suffered a bad day at the office as they were well beaten 46-24 by Rosslyn Park at The Rock.

Rotherham were outscored by 7 tries to 3, with their dot downs coming from Connor Dever, Connor Field and Alex Dolly.

The defeat ends Titans unbeaten 5-match run and the South Yorkshire side will now look to bounce straight back against Birmingham Moseley at Clifton Lane on Saturday.

Titans slow start to the game didn’t help their cause and as the scoreboard pressure mounted Titans found it difficult to get their game going. As a result they went in at the break trailing 15-3 with just an Ellis Abrahams penalty to show for their efforts.

However, when scrum half Connor Dever touched down 2 minutes into the second half Rotherham’s hopes received a boost as with the conversion they reduced their arrears to 15-10

And again after conceding another Rosslyn Park try, a Connor Field converted try on 52 minutes saw Rotherham once more reduce their deficit to 5 points.

The South Yorkshire side couldn’t be criticised for their effort, but too many individual errors meant the home side were given too many opportunities to demonstrate what a good side they are.

On the hour mark former Bristol winger Charlie Amesbury ran through to extend the home side lead and when Titans’ Connor Field was rightly shown a yellow card by an eager James Clarke, the hosts ruthlessly scored two converted tries in his absence to seal the game.

Both sides scored late converted tries, but this was a game the Rotherham players will want to forget and put right as soon as possible.

Speaking after the match Titans head coach, Joe Barker, explained, “I’m very disappointed because we didn’t turn up in the first 30 minutes. I don’t know if we were over eager to do well but we need to take a good look at ourselves individually and as a team because we just weren’t at the races in the opening period.

“When you fall behind early that creates scoreboard pressure and that doesn’t help, but we kept giving them field position. We had boys switching off defensively on the inside and to be fair to Rosslyn Park they’ve got a good squad and they capitalised well on our mistakes.

“However, when we had the ball we put some really good phases together and we scored some outstanding tries and we showed glimpses of what a good side we can be. We also defended really well at times, but then we kept on making little errors and it was those errors that killed us and that just wasn’t good enough.”

Referee: James Clarke

Attendance: 695

Yellow Card: Field (Titans)

Titans: Dever (T), Field (T), Dolly (T), Abrahams (3C, P)

Rosslyn Park: Ellis (T), Gillanders (T), Hayhow (T), Amesbury (T), Marfo (T), Munro (T), Lound (T, 4C, P)

Titans: 15 Tom Allott (Dolly 49), 14 Dan Leake, 13 Harry Dunne (Allott 64), 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Connor Dever (Poole 69), 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Ali Thomson (Bergmanas 62), 3 Will Dennis (Stout 62), 4 Conor Keys (Ure 64), 5 Jamie Ure (Smith-Wano 34), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole (Frost 34), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Kieran Frost, 19 Eru Smith-Wano, 20 Alex Dolly.

Rosslyn Park: 15 Harry Leonard, 14 Connor Hayhow (Marfo 49), 13 Oliver Grove, 12 Joe Munro, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Greg Lound, 9 Jack Gash, 1 Maurice Nwakor-Nwanaebi (Wade 40), 2 Tom Vaughan-Edwards (Gibson 68), 3 Paul Doran-Jones (Maguire 40), 4 Jonathan Mills (Tizard 49), 5 Greg Gillanders, 6 Adam Frampton, 7 Arthur Ellis, 8 Henry Spencer.

Replacements: 16 Karl Gibson, 17 Stewart Maguire, 18 Alistair Wade, 19 Hugh Tizard, 20 Ben Marfo.

Photo courtesy of David E Whittam

Photo courtesy of David E Whittam

Titans 25 Darlington Mowden Park 13

Rotherham Titans put in a powerful forward performance to run out worthy 25-13 winners over Darlington Mowden Park at Clifton Lane, to make it 5 league wins on the spin.

Two tries from winger Dan Leake, one try from number 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor and 10 points from the tee for Alex Dolly secured an important victory for the South Yorkshire side.

Titans remain in fifth spot in the division, but more importantly they are now just four points off the summit with 14 games remaining.

Rotherham took the lead as early as the third minute when Alex Dolly knocked over a penalty from 40 metres on the angle after Mowden were penalised at the scrum.

Former Titan favourite Garry Law levelled matters just 4 minutes later when he also impressed from the tee with a 3-pointer.

Titans regained a lead they wouldn’t relinquish on 11 minutes, when after turning ball over inside the visitors 22 they moved the ball swiftly across the park. The move saw Joe Barker, Connor Field and Alex Dolly all involved before the ball arrived with winger Dan Leake who finished off in the corner. Dolly’s attempted conversion hit the left upright.

Dolly and Law then traded penalties inside the first 20 minutes to leave the score at 11-6, as each side looked to gain the upper hand.

The momentum significantly went the way of the South Yorkshire side on the half hour mark when once again their dominance at the scrum yielded more success.

The speed at which the Mowden pack retreated would have been a concern for their coaches; however their counterparts would have been delighted when Titans number 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor dotted down from the tail. Dolly added the extras to give Titans an 18-6 advantage.

Rotherham looked good value for their lead and they continued to enjoy the majority of territory and possession.

However, just before the break Mowden stunned the home side when a rare foray into the Titans 22 caught them napping as livewire scrumhalf Martin Lithgo took advantage of a lapse in concentration to dive over from the base of a ruck. Law’s conversion sent the sides in at the break with Rotherham leading 18-13.

Titans would have been disappointed to have conceded such a sloppy try at the end of the first half and Titans came out for the second period looking to put things right.

This they did after just two minutes; from a Mowden clearing kick Nagle-Taylor collected and made 20 metres up field to give Titans some positive momentum. Then following several phases the ball arrived with Joe Barker who popped a nice pass inside to Dan Leake who had come in off his wing, he then danced his way through and around the full back to score a fine try under the posts. Dolly’s extras gave Rotherham a 25-13 lead.

Remarkably there would be no more points scored in the game and to be fair to Darlington they offered much more in the second period. So whilst there may have been a slight disappointment in some quarters that a bonus point hadn’t been secured, the overall feeling in the Titans camp was one of delight.

Commenting post-match Titans Joe Barker explained, “That’s five wins out of the last game games, obviously we tried to get the bonus point, but unfortunately that didn’t come our way and that happens.

“We grafted away but we didn’t actually play that well. We dominated them in one aspect of the game which was the scrum; we scored two good tries in open play and another good scrum try again.

“We didn’t really get to do what we wanted to do and credit to them for that, they defended us quite well. At times we couldn’t find the space and we couldn’t break them down and they slowed our ball down very well; which meant we had to kick the ball away to try and get some field position because we couldn’t with ball in hand.

“However, when we did get quick ball we scored tries and we looked very threatening and at the end of the day a win is a win and we’re delighted to have won 10 of our last 12 games going into the Christmas break and we’re very excited about what we can achieve going into the New Year.”

Referee: Dan Parrott

Attendance: 684

Yellow Card: Purkiss-McEndoo (DMP), Keys (Titans)

Titans: Leake (2T), Nagle-Taylor (T), Dolly (2P, 2C)

Darlington Mowden Park: Lithgo (T), Law (2P, 1C)

Titans: 15 Alex Dolly, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams (Cooke 68), 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Connor Dever (Allott 72), 1 Dan Richardson (Williams 78), 2 Jack Bergmanas (Thomson 55), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 49), 4 Conor Keys, 5 Kieran Frost, 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Ali Thomson, 17 Jessie Williams, 18 Will Dennis, 19 Tom Allott, 20 Jamie Cooke.

Darlington Mowden Park: 15 Chris McTurk, 14 Ollie Walker (Asher-Wood 55), 13 Callum Mackenzie, 12 Warren Seals (Walker 63), 11 Shaun McCartney, 10 Garry Law, 9 Martin Lithgo, 1 Charley Purkiss-McEndoo (Duff 37), 2 Jordon Poole, 3 Ralph Appleby, 4 Dave Fisher (Brady58), 5 Talite Vaioleti (Brown 66), 6 George Stokes (Duffy 75), 7 Matt Heaton (Capt.), 8 Joe Craggs.

Replacements: 16 Danny Brown, 17 Jake Brady, 18 Rory Duff, 19 Joe Duffy, 20 Brandon Asher-Wood.

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Titans 10 Blackheath 7

Rotherham Titans can thank their pack of forwards for delivering an outstanding 10-7 victory over second placed side Blackheath at a freezing-cold Clifton Lane.

The top-of-the-table encounter wasn’t a game for the purists as the conditions didn’t allow for a free-flowing game, but both sides can be proud of their efforts as they gritted it out across the full 80 minutes.

Blackheath enjoyed the better of the first half, with Titans storming back in the second period to fully deserve their hard-earned victory in what was always going to be a low-scoring affair.

Rotherham actually started the game brightest, but were unable to convert their territorial advantage as ‘Club’ showed great determination in defence.

The visitors however gradually worked their way into the game and enjoyed some good moments through their pack as they arguably just had the edge at scrum-time and at the breakdown. Titans’ faltering lineout also helped the visitors to relieve pressure at crucial times.

However, just before the half hour mark Titans fly half Joe Barker was shown a yellow card for foul play. Before his return on 35 minutes Blackheath manoeuvred the ball from a scrum inside the Titans’ 22 to back rower Andrew Daish, who showed good strength to dot down under pressure near the posts. Joe Tarrant’s conversion gave ‘Club’ a 7-0 lead which they would hold going into the half time break.

The early action in the second period saw the visitors maintain their edge; Rotherham did work their way into good field positions, but all too often hurt themselves with silly errors at critical moments.

Arguably the turning point in the game for Rotherham came on 58 minutes. A five metre lineout to Blackheath saw their big pack of forwards set-up a driving maul, which was joined by their backs as they drove towards the Titans line.

Somehow, through sheer grit and determination the South Yorkshire side managed to repel the charge and turn over the ball. Had Blackheath scored at this point it would have been difficult to see a way back for the home team.

Conversely, this tremendous defensive moment seemed to inspire Rotherham and possibly at the same time cast doubt in the away sides mind. Either way 8 minutes later Titans levelled matters when their heroic pack of 8 marched their counterparts backwards at scrum time to force referee Harry Walbaum to award a penalty try.

With the momentum now strongly in Rotherham favour it almost seemed inevitable that they would score next; and this they did 3 minutes from time when another powerful scrum on Blackheath’s ball forced yet another penalty at the set-piece.

From inside the 22 up stepped Alex Dolly to knock over the 3-pointer which sent Titans into the lead for the first time in the game. Blackheath tried to rally late on but never threatened to add to their tally and Rotherham comfortably held on for a tremendous win.

Post-match an elated Joe Barker said, “The win was very satisfying; we knew beforehand what a good side they were and they showed that all afternoon. However, the lads showed pure grit to get us over the line and they just never gave up.

“We have to say a massive thanks to our front row boys and up front I thought we were outstanding. Once our lads started to have some success at scrum time, they smelt the blood and really took them on, and they won us the game today.

“As did our defensive sets; the lads showed terrific togetherness and pure character of what they are about; the dog they showed was exemplary, we’ve had that each week, but today we saw that in full force.”

Referee: Harry Walbaum

Attendance: 620

Yellow Card: Barker (Titans), Stradwick & Daish (Blackheath)

Titans: Penalty Try, Dolly (1P)

Blackheath: Daish (T), Tarrant (1C)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine (Dolly 35), 14 Dan Leake, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Connor Dever, 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 52), 4 Conor Keys, 5 Luis Ball, 6 Eru Smith-Wano, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Jessie Williams, 18 Will Dennis, 19 Alex Dolly, 20 Jamie Cooke.

Blackheath: 15 Joe Tarrant, 14 Jake Lloyd, 13 Alex Pickersgill, 12 Markus Burcham (Capt.), 11 Craig Dowsett (Ackuaku 73), 10 Mark Cooke, 9 Stef Liebenberg (Daly 68), 1 Tom Williams (Young 35) (Dowsett 75), 2 Mike Perks (Fry 68), 3 Danny Herriott, 4 Tom Stradwick, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Andrew Daish, 7 Freddie Owen, 8 Anders Nilsson.

Replacements: 16 Harry Fry, 17 Phil Ackuaku, 18 Billy Young, 19 Jack Daly, 20 Elliott Clements-Hill.

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Bishop's Stortford 20 Titans 22

Rotherham Titans made it 3 wins on the trot as they were made to work hard for their 22-20 victory over Bishop’s Stortford at Silver Leys.

Each side scored three tries, with Eru Smith-Wano, Jamie Ure and Seb Nagle-Taylor dotting down for the South Yorkshire side. Scrum half Alex Dolly added 2 conversions and centre Ellis Abrahams knocked over a penalty.

Based on this performance it’s surprising Bishop’s Stortford are not higher-placed in the league and were well worth their losing bonus point, as were Rotherham their win.

Indeed the home side got off to a flyer after just 9 minutes when flanker Dan Elsom finished off a sweeping cross-field move after Bishops created an overlap out wide. Fly half George Cullen impressively added the extras from close to the touchline to give his side a 7-0 lead.

Titans responded with good energy and soon had a try themselves, as on 14 minutes Eru Smith-Wano dotted down from a catch and drive 10 metres from goal. Alex Dolly narrowly missed on the right side with his conversion attempt.

In an entertaining contest back came Bishops immediately from the restart. The ball was worked to full back Nick Hankin who showed terrific pace to dance his way through the Titans defence to score a scintillating try. Surprisingly Cullen missed his conversion as the strong wind pushed his effort onto the left upright leaving the score at 12-5.

Rotherham bounced back again and on the half hour mark levelled the game when Alex Dolly converted another Titans catch and drive, this time finished off by second rower Jamie Ure.

Almost against the run of play Bishops nosed themselves ahead again just 4 minutes later when this time Cullen made no mistake from the tee, after Rotherham were penalised for not rolling away at the breakdown just outside the 22 and in front of the posts.

Rotherham had been the better side throughout and they finally got the scoreboard to recognise this, when two minutes before the break they took the lead for the first time in the match.

Following a period of forward dominance Alex Dolly found number 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor who came into the line at pace to collect from around 30 metres out to barge his way through to score under the posts. Dolly tagged over the extras to make it 19-15 to Rotherham at half time.

The second period saw both sides put in massive shifts, with each team demonstrating great ambition to play rugby and with each team showing great determination in defence. It was this latter quality which impressed meaning the half would be a low-scoring affair.

On 62 minutes Titans extended their advantage 22-15, when centre Ellis Abrahams knocked over a penalty from inside the 22 after Bishops had been penalised for being offside close to their own line when under massive pressure from the Titans pack.

In the main Rotherham continued to boss the game, but they couldn’t put away the home side as they showed tremendous resilience to stay in the contest.

As the game went into injury time Bishops broke away to score in the corner through replacement back Joss Linney, to make it 22-20 with the conversion attempt to follow.

Unfortunately for the home side Cullen’s effort missed its target and Rotherham held out for a deserved and very important victory.

Commenting post-match Rotherham’s Joe Barker explained, “The boys put in a massive shift against a very good team; Bishop’s showed that if you give them the ball they are going to play from anywhere on this pitch. It’s a very wide pitch and they know how to play on it and it suits the way that they play with the personnel they have.

“They’ve got a great team spirit and they have an outstanding attacking approach and they work very well together in defence.

“However, I have to give massive praise to our lads for grafting it out today. There were times in the second half where we just had to stick in there, which we did and we managed the game really well under pressure. The boys showed terrific character and grit to get through and that’s a good sign for us as a squad moving forwards.

“I was proud of the lads because these are the games you have to win if you have ambitions of being a top-end team. We weren’t at our best but I thought the lads showed great heart to get over the line.

“Now we’ve got to go to the next level because we’ve got a big game next week back at our place against Blackheath and we’re excited about that one. Hopefully they’ll be a great atmosphere at Clifton Lane because a win will be important and we know it’s going to be a challenge.”

Referee: Robert Bourke

Attendance: 402

Yellow Card: Irvine (Titans)

Titans: Smith-Wano (T), Ure (T), Nagle-Taylor (T), Dolly (2C), Abrahams (P)

Bishop’s Stortford: Elsom (T), Hankin (T), Linney (T), Cullen (C, P)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Henry Roberts (Field 75), 10 Joe Barker, 9 Alex Dolly (Dever 57), 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Ali Thomson (Bergmanas 71), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 57), 4 Conor Keys, 5 Jamie Ure (Ball 41), 6 Smith-Wano, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Luis Ball, 19 Connor Field, 20 Connor Dever.

Bishops Stortford: 15 Nick Hankin, 14 Robert Duff, 13 Jimmy Rea, 12 Reuben Bird-Tulloch, 11 Chris Smith (Linney 52), 10 George Cullen, 9 Sam Coleman (Banks 56), 1 Seb Brownhill (Castiglione 45), 2 Sam Crean, 3 Tom McCrone (Brownhill 56), 4 Sokonaia Kalou, 5 Matt Tomlinson (Capt.), 6 James Apperley, 7 Dan Elsom (McCraith 67), 8 Charlie Kingham.

Replacements: 16 Bradley Etherington, 17 Louis Castiglione, 18 Mark McCraith, 19 Joss Linney, 20 Tom Banks.

Photo courtesy of Andy Todd Photography:    https://andytodd.co/bsrfc/8-december-2018/

Photo courtesy of Andy Todd Photography: https://andytodd.co/bsrfc/8-december-2018/

Titans 20 Cinderford 3

Rotherham Titans grafted for the full 80 minutes to secure a well-deserved 20-3 victory over a spirited Cinderford side in tough conditions at Clifton Lane.

The low-scoring encounter saw Titans’ centre Harry Dunne cross the whitewash for a brace of tries - one in each half - whilst scrum half Alex Dolly added a further 10 points from the tee. A first half Liam Hemming penalty was the visitor’s sole reward for their labours.

The victory sees Rotherham move up to fifth in the table just 6 points behind league leaders Blackheath who visit Clifton Lane in 2 weeks’ time for what is expected to be a humdinger of a game.

In the damp and dreary conditions Titans knew they would have to graft hard against one of the biggest, physical sides in the division and this they did to their credit. Rotherham’s mobile set of forwards regularly moved their opponents around the park, as the South Yorkshire side back their fitness against any team in the division.

On 16 minutes Titans took the lead following a number of phases across the park, which culminated in Harry Dunne collecting on the crash-ball to barge his way over from 5 metres. Alex Dolly tagged over the extras for a 7-0 lead.

Cinderford continued to work hard but found it difficult to penetrate Rotherham’s line as the hosts defended with good intent. However, the visitors did get on the board in the 25th minute when full back Liam Hemming knocked over a long-range penalty after the hosts had entered the maul from the side.

Titans’ work-rate was impressive and it enabled them to gain promising field positions which led to good try-scoring opportunities, but frustratingly for them poor execution at critical times cost them dearly and there were no further scores in the first half.

Rotherham’s good play continued into the second period as they controlled territory and possession and indeed stretched their advantage on 52 minutes when Dolly slotted a penalty in front of the post at the clubhouse end of the ground.

Just before the hour mark Titans effectively sealed the game when they scored a second converted try. Dolly initialised the move around 30 metres from goal by changing the direction of attack, before Seb Nagle-Taylor and Joe Barker got involved which allowed Harry Dunne to collect and dive over near the corner.

Dolly followed his conversion with a successful penalty on 66 minutes to round off the scoring and to give Rotherham a 7th win in their last 9 outings.

Commenting post-match Titans’ Joe Barker explained, “It was a tough game in tough conditions and the way that they play makes it hard for any side to play against them. But credit to the boys, they fronted up and they managed the game very well.

“We defended well against a big side; they were strong at the set piece and they usually score tries in most games, so to keep them out for the full 80 minutes was very pleasing.

“I also thought we kept them out in open play really well and then we just found a way to break them in attack and once we’d done that we got behind them. To come away with the win is pleasing and it’s no more than the boys deserve.”

Referee: Llyr ApGeraint-Roberts

Attendance: 607

Yellow Card: Bergmanas & Cotterill (Titans)

Titans: Dunne (2T), Dolly 2P, 2C)

Cinderford: Hemming (1C)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Alex Dolly (Dever 64), 1 Dan Richardson (Bergmanas 61), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 50), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge, 5 Jamie Ure (Cotterill 48), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Smith-Wano (Poole 64), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Tom Cotterill, 19 Zak Poole, 20 Connor Dever.

Cinderford: 15 Liam Hemming, 14 Sam Smith, 13 Terence Babarinsa, 12 Ed Bogue, 11 Reuben Norville, 10 Danny Pointon (Fenley 64), 9 Alex Frame, 1 Joe Smart (Capt.) (Porter 38), 2 Nathan Taylor, 3 James Elliot (Brockett 57), 4 George Evans (Balding 70), 5 Dale Lemon, 6 Jack Shields, 7 Joe Mullis (Keenan 50), 8 Harry Hone.

Replacements: 16 George Porter, 17 Tim Brockett, 18 Will Keenan, 19 Adam Balding, 20 Ewan Fenley.

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Caldy 29 Titans 33

Rotherham Titans returned to winning ways in dramatic fashion, as they edged an absolute thriller of a game 33-29 against Caldy at Paton Field.

Following an impressive start which saw the Titans race into a 14-0 lead after 12 minutes, an impetuous period followed resulting in them going in at the break trailing by 10 points.

Rotherham then enjoyed the majority of the second half and eventually retook the lead 3 minutes from time to set up a nervy finish. Titans then showed terrific character late on to hold out under the sternest pressure from the home side to edge the 10-try thriller.

Titans may have thought they were in for a comfortable afternoon after full back Callum Irvine and centre Harry Dunne breezed in for two early converted tries. However, the home side weren’t about to roll over for their South Yorkshire visitors.

Showing tremendous heart and determination they powered back into the game to score four tries before the break.

Caldy’s first try on 18 minutes came from number 8 JJ Dickinson, brother of former Titan Sam; JJ showed terrific footwork to dance through the Rotherham defence to dot down near the corner.

Six minutes later a catch and drive five metres from Titans’ line resulted in centre Mike Barlow crashing over, whilst Caldy’s third try on 33 minutes came from back rower Jack Collister following a series of pick and goes inside the Rotherham 22.

The bonus point try for Caldy came just before the break when lock forward Martin Gerrard crashed over from a catch and drive close to the Titans line.

Rotherham left the field shell-shocked as they went in for their half time oranges trailing 24-14. However, following some frank words at the interval Titans came out in determined fashion and with good intensity about their work.

The intensity paid off within 2 minutes as following a number of phases the ball arrived with Callum Irvine who popped a pass to Zak Poole in support, the mobile flanker charged in from 20 metres to finish off a fine team try. Dolly’s conversion from in front of the posts narrowed the gap to 24-21.

Rotherham’s bright start to the second period was undone when deep inside the Caldy 22 a pass was intercepted by winger Nick Royle who proceeded to gallop 80 metres down the right wing to score in the corner.

Titans’ response to that disappointment was admirable. The South Yorkshire side showed terrific character as they redoubled their efforts to bombard the visitors with great energy and ambition.

The pressure eventually took its toll on Caldy in the 55th minute when the ball was spread wide to Dan Leake, the winger showed good skill and strength to beat the defence to score in the corner for an unconverted try to leave Titans trailing 29-26.

Rotherham continued to press forward and pretty much camped themselves inside the Caldy half; yet the hosts showed great resilience as they repeatedly kept out the visitors.

Finally on 77 minutes the crucial breakthrough for Rotherham was made by Seb Nagle-Taylor from a line out on the Caldy 22. The hosts backed-off at the set piece allowing the number 8 to show good awareness to charge through to score next to the posts. Dolly added the extras to give Titans a 33-29 lead.

The final throws of the match saw Caldy with a scrum 5 metres from the Titans line. However, full credit must be extended to the Rotherham pack as they disrupted the host’s set piece to steal the ball and clear their lines to seal a deserved victory.

Commenting post-match a delighted Joe Barker said, “We came out of the gates well and in the first 15 minutes we were very professional and we played some outstanding rugby. Unfortunately we then lose our discipline, which was disappointing because we’d spoken about not doing that in the week and as a result they score four tries and we go in at half time 10 points down.

“At the break we had a few harsh words and then we came out firing at the start of the second half which saw us score an outstanding try. We again start to play some outstanding rugby and we build massive pressure, but unfortunately we throw an interception and they run 90 metres to score.

“What was great to see on the back of that was the character shown by the boys; they didn’t get downhearted by the interception, they kept working hard and they bounced back to score 2 more tries.

“At the death we were under massive pressure close to our own line from their scrum, but our young front row were outstanding, especially when you consider they were up against a Championship quality front row and to come out on top in that situation shows a lot of character and we are delighted to come away with the win against a very good Caldy side.”

Referee: James O'Brien

Attendance: 352

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Irvine (T), Dunne (T), Poole (T), Leake (T), Nagle-Taylor (T), Dolly (4C)

Caldy: Dickinson (T), Barlow (T), Collister (T), Gerrard (T), Royle (T), Jones (2T)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Harry Dunne (Dever 53), 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Dan Richardson (Bergmanas 64), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Will Dennis (Stout 6) (Dennis 69), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge (Cotterill 32) (Preston-Routledge 69), 5 Jamie Ure, 6 Luis Ball (Smith-Wano 54), 7 Zak Poole (Cotterill 75), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Tom Cotterill, 19 Smith-Wano, 20 Connor Dever.

Caldy: 15 Rhys Hayes, 14 Nick Royle, 13 Gavin Roberts, 12 Mike Barlow (Othuha 69), 11 Luke Hibberd, 10 Lewis Barker (Vasey 61), 9 Ben Jones, 1 John Whittaker (Salisbury 53) (Whittaker 73), 2 Ted Stagg, 3 Rob O'Donnell, 4 Martin Gerrard, 5 Tom Sanders (Capt.), 6 Jack Collister, 7 Nyle Davidson (Ridgway 69), 8 JJ Dickinson.

Replacements: 16 Callum Ridgway, 17 Derek Salisbury, 18 James Othuha, 19 Michael Cartmill, 20 Richard Vasey.

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Titans 14 Cambridge 25

Rotherham Titans somehow managed to turn what should have been a comfortable win over Cambridge into a disappointing 25-14 defeat at Clifton Lane.

Rotherham went in at the break cruising to a comfortable 11-0 lead and having created a number of opportunities could have put the game to bed inside the first half.

This combined with the fact that the visitors had virtually offered nothing in terms of attacking threat and there wouldn’t have been too many inside the ground at half time willing to back against the home side.

So full credit must be given to Cambridge, who after scoring a breakaway try on 46 minutes, went on to arguably be the better side on the day and Rotherham will have to analyse why that was if they are going to get back on the winning trail.

Titans’ points in the first period came initially midway through the half when Seb Nagle-Taylor collected a pass close to the line from Alex Dolly, before showing tremendous strength and desire to crash over the line for an unconverted try.

Dolly stretched Titans advantage by adding penalties on 30 and 40 minutes respectively to send Rotherham in at the break with a comfortable 11-0 cushion of a lead.

The opening exchanges in the second half followed a similar pattern with Rotherham in the ascendancy. That was until the 46th minutes when just 10 metres out a Titans pass went astray; the loose ball was hacked on by Cambridge centre James Ayrton before full back Mike Ayrton collected and galloped 60 metres to dot down under the posts. Lawrence Rayner added the extras to make it 11-7.

Around the hour mark Alex Dolly sandwiched a penalty in between two from Cambridge replacement Jack Green, to leave Rotherham 14-13 ahead, but the momentum of the game had changed and the visitors started to look dangerous and threatening.

With almost a sense of inevitability Cambridge took the lead 9 minutes from time when following a period of forward pressure the ball was spun out to the backs, with it eventually arriving with winger Sam Yawayawa who touched down in the corner for an unconverted try.

Time was running out as Titans tried to retrieve the advantage they’d enjoyed for much of the match. As 80 minutes approached on the clock Rotherham cleared their lines, but the kick was too long allowing Cambridge plenty of time to run back at the home side.

This they did through winger Nana Asiedu who ran in from 70 metres unopposed to score under the posts to wrap up the match. Green slotted the extras from in front to seal an unexpected win for the visitors.

Commenting on the game a disappointed Joe Barker said, “That was very frustrating. The first half was a good one and we should have taken more points, but we still came in at half time 11-0 up. We even continued to dominate in the opening stages of the second half and at no point did they look like scoring a point, not even from a penalty.

“But as soon as they scored that full length try, I don’t know if our energy went or we stopped doing what we were good at, but we started to give penalties away because we were trying to force things rather than sticking to the system and being consistent.

“The first half worked so well because we stuck to our system and built pressure and pressure brings points; but we stopped doing that and we went back to trying to chase something rather than building it and then we end up making little errors that we didn’t make in the first half.

“Our discipline then killed us and we stopped defending the maul and we didn’t have as much dominance in the scrum and that’s credit to them because they took their chances and they played the referee very well. I think we could have handled him a lot better; he had certain ways of refereeing the game and we have to adapt to the referee and we didn’t do that very well.”

Referee: Daniel Collins

Attendance: 644

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Nagle-Taylor (T), Dolly (3P)

Cambridge: M Ayrton (T), Yawayawa (T), Asiedu (T), Rayner (1C), Green (C, 2P)

Titans: 15 Sam Allan (Irvine 34) (Dever 65), 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Dan Richardson (Bergmanas 70), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Will Dennis (Stout 66), 4 Conor Keys (Ball 57), 5 Jamie Ure, 6 Tom Cotterill, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Luis Ball, 19 Connor Dever, 20 Callum Irvine.

Cambridge: 15 Mike Ayrton (Capt.), 14 Nana Asiedu, 13 James Ayrton, 12 Matt Hema (Rayner 73), 11 Sam Yawayawa, 10 Lawrence Rayner (Green 55), 9 Kieran Duffin, 1 Henry Peck (Ibrahim 24) (Peck 72), 2 Alex Rayment (Ruddock 58), 3 Jack Higgins, 4 Gillan Benoy, 5 George Bretag-Norris, 6 Jake McCloud, 7 Keifer Laxton (Rawlings 52), 8 Stephen Hipwell (Conquest 55).

Replacements: 16 Cameron Ruddock, 17 Ben Ibrahim, 18 Rob Conquest, 19 Louis Rawlings, 20 Jack Green.

Picture Courtesy of Darren George

Picture Courtesy of Darren George

Ampthill 22 Titans 8

Rotherham’s five match winning streak came to an end as they crashed to a 22-8 defeat away to Ampthill at a blustery Dillingham Park.

Titans overall performance compared to recent efforts was disappointing and they will look to use this experience as a learning curve when the league recommences in two weeks’ time.

The uniqueness of the set-up at Dillingham Park and the slope of the ground was certainly handled better by the home team. However, had Titans taken some opportunities they created, particularly in the first half, they may well have made it 6 wins in a row.

The defeat leaves Rotherham fifth in the table, 4 points off the summit, but with 20 games remaining in National 1 there’s still everything to play for in this longest of seasons.

The game itself saw Titans make the worst start possible as Ampthill touched down after just 65 seconds through winger Nigel Baker. However, had Rotherham collected a loose ball on the ground from the kick off, it’s unlikely the home side would have scored after one minute.

Nevertheless, Rotherham began to settle into the game and enjoyed periods of territory and possession in the hosts half as they tried to make the most of the slope and strong wind.

Following a powerful drive up to the Ampthill line on 13 minutes it looked as though Roth would open their account; unfortunately for them they lost the ball at the crucial moment 3 metres from goal.

On 19 minutes had the final pass to Henry Roberts been an accurate one, the winger would have strolled in for one of his easiest dot downs of the season.

On 22 minutes had Seb Nagle-Taylor not unluckily spilled the ball forward diving over to score Rotherham would have secured their first points and on 32 minutes had another errant pass out wide not occurred, Titans very well may have touched down there too.

Titans did however get on the board after 34 minutes when Ellis Abrahams knocked over a penalty on the angle from 35 metres. Rotherham had turned down 2 other kicks at goal earlier in the game.

As the half drew to a close Rotherham pressed further looking to add to their total, but a resilient home defence made sure there would be no further score and Titans went in at the break trailing 7-3.

Both teams stayed out on the pitch at half time rather than walking back through the woods to the clubhouse. This new on-the-pitch half time team discussion didn’t hinder Rotherham one jot, as they took the lead 2 minutes into the second period.

Jamie Cooke collected the ball out wide on the right before showing excellent pace and power to run through Ampthill’s defence for a fine try. Abrahams narrowly missed the conversion as the strengthening wind pushed the ball across the face of the sticks.

To be fair however, Rotherham’s opportunities were limited in the second half as the hosts utilised the conditions well. The vastly experienced Ampthill pack trundled around the field to good effect and their backs looked sharp when given the ball; all of which meant Titans had to defend hard for long periods.

On 66 minutes Rotherham’s line was breached when scrum-half Euan McKirdy collected from the back of a maul to snipe round to score next to the posts from 5 metres out. Fly half Josh Sharp added the extras from in front to give the hosts a 14-8 advantage.

Things got worse for Rotherham on 72 minutes when Eru Smith-Wano was shown a yellow card for what the referee said was a no arms tackle. This was Titans second yellow card of the game after Connor Field was shown his on 14 minutes. From the resulting penalty Josh Sharp added the 3 points from 40 metres out to extend his sides lead to 17-8.

As the game went into injury time some sloppy defending by Rotherham allowed Ampthill to run in to score the final points of the game through Josh Sharp, who converted his own try.

Commenting post-match a disappointed Joe Barker explained, “The result is a tough one to take, but ultimately it will do us a world of good. We’ve been on a bit of a roll these last few weeks and sometimes you have to go through some tough results and this is one of those.

“This is now a challenge for us as a group; strong people come out of these situations stronger. You have to have good character to come through these moments and I believe this group has bags of it and there’s no doubt they will bounce back from this.

“I think defensively we were really strong and they gained field position through silly things and some of those things were outside of what we can control, but we still need to handle that.

“However in attack we didn’t get into many phases as we didn’t have the ball too often. Our fitness levels and commitment was outstanding once again and that’s a positive which will stand us in good stead going forwards.”

Referee: George Selwood

Attendance: 385

Yellow Card: Field & Smith-Wano (Titans)

Titans: Cooke (T), Abrahams (P)

Ampthill: Baker (T), McKirdy (T), Sharp (T, P, 2C)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Connor Dever (Dolly 50), 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Ali Thomson (Bergmanas 70), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 39), 4 Tom Cotterill (Keys 53), 5 Jamie Ure, 6 Luis Ball (Smith-Wano 50), 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Conor Keys, 19 Eru Smith-Wano, 20 Alex Dolly.

Ampthill: 15 Ciaran Whyte (Foster 74), 14 Spencer Sutherland, 13 Oli Morris, 12 Sam Hanks, 11 Nigel Baker, 10 Josh Sharp (Whyte 79), 9 Euan McKirdy (Williams 64), 1 Soane Tongauiha (Culverhouse 77), 2 Aleki Lutui (Walliker 40), 3 Matt Collins (Lutui 58), 4 Carl Burgess (Molitika 58), 5 Billy Johnson (Capt.), 6 Syd Blackmore, 7 Joe Bercis (Burgess 70), 8 Ma'ama Molitika (Allman 40).

Replacements: 16 Olly Walliker, 17 Jack Culverhouse, 18 William Allman, 19 Gavin Williams, 20 Will Foster.

Ampthill v Roth match pic 3-11-18.JPG

Titans 25 Plymouth Albion 14

Rotherham Titans made it 5 wins on the bounce as they ran out 25-14 winners over Plymouth Albion at a windy Clifton Lane.

For the fifth consecutive game Titans secured the four-try bonus point and have now collected 25 points from their last five outings.

Titans’ four tries came through Seb Nagle-Taylor, Henry Roberts and a brace from Harry Dunne. Alex Dolly added a conversion and a penalty in the blustery conditions.

The victory for Rotherham on a bitterly cold  afternoon at the Lane moves them into second spot in the league behind Old Elthamians, by way of games drawn; but with 21 games remaining everything is up for grabs for a number of teams in this most unpredictable of divisions.

The game itself saw Roth nose themselves ahead on 10 minutes when scrum half Alex Dolly successfully knocked over a tricky penalty from distance, after Albion had infringed at a line out on their 10 metre line.

However, the South West side responded well to falling behind and within 4 minutes went ahead themselves when Captain Herbie Stupple dotted down from a catch and drive close to the Titans line. Full back Matt Shepherd added the extras to give Albion a 7-3 advantage.

The game settled and both sides enjoyed periods of possession with each creating opportunities and half chances. However, at this stage in the contest resilient and tenacious defending ensured no line was breached.

On the half hour mark that changed when a dominant Titans scrum powered up to the Albion line before number 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor picked up from the base to bulldoze his way over for Roth’s first try of the game. Dolly impressively nailed the conversion from out wide to edge his side 10-7 ahead.

The second half saw Titans increase their lead on 47 minutes when the backs worked a nice try with some slick hands. The ball arrived with Joe Barker, who just briefly held before finding Callum Irvine in support; he in turn made good ground before drawing the last man to feed Henry Roberts on the wing to race in and score a fine try in the corner.

Titans’ confidence began to soar and they started to enjoy periods of dominance as the home crowd shouted for more. Indeed more came just after the hour mark when Barker got himself involved again. This time his pass out the back to Zak Poole was collected well before he drew his man to find Harry Dunne, who in turn charged in to score Roth’s third try in the corner.

As the game drew towards its close there was late drama in stoppage time. Four minutes into added time Plymouth made sure of a nervy ending when following a sustained period of forward pressure on the Titans line the ball came out to winger Jon Dawe who showed good strength to power over. Shepherd’s conversion made it a 6-point game.

From being in a relatively comfortable position for most of the second period, suddenly a Titans victory which seemed so certain appeared to be under threat.

However, in the final play of the game Rotherham sealed the win with a bonus point try. From turnover ball inside the Albion half the ball arrived with Barker who threw a long pass out to Harry Dunne who jinked back inside to score and round off a perfect afternoon for the home side.

Commenting post-match Rotherham head coach Joe Barker explained, “To come away with five points from such a close game is very pleasing. I think it was a case of who buckled first under the pressure because both teams had a strong pack and were strong defensively and to be fair both sides played some good rugby at times.

“What pleased me the most however was how the boys handled the pressure in a tight game. Plymouth were on our line a number of times but other than on a couple occasions the boys were outstanding in keeping them out. The boys showed tremendous character and I am proud of every one of them.

“Even though we have a very young group here they are learning and gaining experience quickly; they have a great spirit and want to play for each other and that’s a great sign going forwards in terms of taking this club where it needs to be.”

Referee: Joe James

Attendance: 621

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Dunne (2T), Nagle-Taylor (T), Roberts (T), Dolly (1C, 1P)

Plymouth Albion: Stupple (T), Dawe (T), Shepherd (2C)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Alex Dolly (Dever 59), 1 Dan Richardson (Bergmanas 75), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 71), 4 Tom Cotterill (Keys 66), 5 Jamie Ure, 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole (Smith-Wano 75), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Conor Keys, 19 Eru Smith-Wano, 20 Connor Dever.

Plymouth Albion: 15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Jon Dawe, 13 Teegan Minkley, 12 Connor Eastgate, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Dan Mugford (Squire 57), 9 James Tait (Setter 66), 1 Will Norton (Chapman 75), 2 Jamie Salter (McGregor 66), 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Dan Swain (Westlake 59), 5 Kieran Westlake (Pearson 57), 6 Rusi Tuima, 7 George Mills, 8 Herbie Stupple (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Davy McGregor, 17 Lewis Pearson, 18 Dean Squire, 19 Luke Chapman, 20 Cameron Setter.

Titans v Albion_16.jpg

Esher Rugby 15 Titans 45

Rotherham Titans made it four wins on the trot as they scored 7 tries in a 45-15 drubbing to overwhelm a tenacious Esher side at Molesey Road.

Titans secured the four try bonus point inside a pulsating first half performance, before running in another 3 dot downs in the second half.

The victory sees Rotherham move into fourth spot in the table, just 2 points behind league leaders Caldy after 8 games and with all to play for in what will be a very long and demanding season.

The game itself saw Esher enjoy spells of possession, particularly in the first half; however, a massively impressive defensive display from Rotherham, which exuded commitment and desire, kept the hosts at bay for much of the match.

Rotherham showed a ruthless edge to their game and were clinical in taking opportunities when they arrived, the first of which came along after just 4 minutes.

Seb Nagle-Taylor was on hand to charge down a clearing kick on halfway before racing through to hack on and collect, he then delivered a delightful back-of-the-hand pass to Joe Barker in support, allowing him to race in from 20 metres to dot down. Alex Dolly added the extra 2 points from the tee.

Esher’s only score of the first half came on 11 minutes when fly half Owen Waters knocked over a straightforward penalty after Rotherham had infringed at the breakdown.

Titans soon extended their advantage though, when 4 minutes later winger Henry Roberts collected a high ball on the Esher 10 metre line and proceeded to show good pace to charge around the home defence to score Roth’s second try, with Dolly tagging over the extras.

Things got even better for the Titans 10 minutes later when Nagle-Taylor intercepted a pass just inside his own half before showing impressive pace to gallop in from 55 metres, whilst evading the home winger’s chase down from Kariym Irving, to score under the posts. Dolly made it three from three from the tee.

Five minutes before the break and Rotherham secured the try bonus point when from a scrum close to the line Nagle-Taylor collected from the base before feeding Dolly who scampered up the blind side to score in the corner. Unfortunately for him his conversion from the touchline narrowly missed its target and Roth went in at the break 26-3 to the good.

If Esher were to work their way back into the game it was vital they scored first in the second period. However, that wasn’t to be as it took Rotherham just 18 seconds to open their second half account!

From the kick-off Titans gathered and Alex Dolly reacted quickly to fire a pass inside to Nagle-Taylor who came into the line at full throttle and proceeded to charge through to score Rotherham’s fifth try of the match. Dolly tagged over the extras.

On an afternoon where almost everything went the way of the Titans, things improved further when Connor Dever picked up from the base of a scrum close to the Esher line, before snipping up the blind side to touch down in the corner. Dolly’s touchline conversion just missed its target to leave Rotherham 38-3 to the good.

A slight blight on a terrific afternoon for the Titans came when front rower Jack Bergmanas received a yellow card for a high tackle. The subsequent 10 minute period saw Esher take full advantage of their numerical advantage as they crossed the whitewash twice through second rower Cameron Gentles and livewire winger Joe Beckett.

However, it was apt when Rotherham rounded things off with the final try of the game.

Following a number of phases where Rotherham’s backs and forwards combined effectively, the ball came out to Henry Roberts who picked a fine line to cut through to score under the posts. Dolly nailed his fifth conversion of the match to end the scoring and send Rotherham on their long journey home with smiles on their faces.

Commenting post-game Titans’ Joe Barker explained, “We knew Esher had a lot of threats in certain areas, but we concentrated on ourselves this week. I thought our work rate and desire was outstanding and that shone through in our defence. The lads wanted to work hard for each other and that got us the points today.

“Esher found it difficult to threaten us because the boys worked so hard to get in the right positions. The lads were always on their feet and worked their socks off in defence and that caused them to make errors and we kept scoring on the back of them.

“I was really pleased with our discipline and because that was good we didn’t allow them the field position they needed to hurt us. We’ve worked hard in training on various aspects of how we want to play and I think we are now seeing the benefits of the squad coming together as a group.

“But no one at Rotherham is getting carried away and we know we’ll face a massive challenge in our next game against Plymouth. So it all starts again on Tuesday night at training and we’ll work harder, that’s the only way we’re going to get better.”

Referee: Jack Lewars

Attendance: 509

Yellow Card: Bergmanas (Titans)

Titans: Nagle-Taylor (2T), Roberts (2T), Barker (T), Dever (T), Dolly (T, 5C)

Esher: Gentles (T), Beckett (T), Waters (P, C)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker (Dever 45), 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Dan Richardson (Poole 70), 2 Ali Thomson (Bergmanas 55), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 41) (Stout 70), 4 Jamie Ure, 5 Tom Cotterill (Keys 60), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole (Thomson 68), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.) (Smith-Wano 50).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Conor Keys, 19 Eru Smith-Wano, 20 Connor Dever.

Esher Rugby: 15 Lloyd Davies (Simpson 45), 14 Kariym Irving, 13 Dan Rowland (Davies 68), 12 Basil Strang, 11 Joe Beckett, 10 Owen Waters, 9 James Brooks (Fluker 45), 1 Matthew Lowes, 2 Devlin Hope (Clements 55), 3 Henry Paul (Head 25) (Paul 70), 4 Graham Logan, 5 Cameron Gentles, 6 Harrison Collins (Hore 55), 7 Rob Dudley-Jones, 8 Izzy Moore-Aiono.

Replacements: 16 Brad Clements, 17 George Head, 18 Andrew Hore, 19 George Simpson, 20 Andy Fluker.

Henry Roberts Scores v Esher.jpg

Titans 32 Chinnor 26

Rotherham Titans put in an outstanding team performance to run out 32-26 winners over what had been pre-match top-of-the-table side Chinnor.

Titans secured the maximum points on offer as they outscored their opponents by 5 tries to 4, but had to withstand some late Chinnor pressure on their own line to eventually hold out for a deserved win.

On a blustery afternoon at Clifton Lane it was the visitors who nosed in front when following a series of pick-and-goes inside the Titans 22, the ball was flung out to centre Alex Dancer who showed good strength to power over from close range. Former Titans favourite Caolan Ryan added the extras to make it 7-0.

Rotherham soon came back and narrowed the gap on 7 minutes when scrum half Alex Dolly knocked over a penalty from the edge of Chinnor’s 22.

Dolly was in the thick of it again 7 minutes later when from a five metre line out he got himself involved in a driving maul before dotting down from the tail. He then composed himself to nail the conversion against a difficult crosswind to give Roth a 10-7 advantage.

Chinnor came into the game as league leaders and they proved what a capable side they are when they bounced back within five minutes to retake the lead after flanker Joe Dancer touched down from a driving maul and Ryan converted.

Rotherham are also starting to show they too are developing into a very decent side and with 5 minutes remaining in the half took control when they crossed the line twice.

Firstly, following good work from the pack Roth took play up to the visitor’s line before the ball came out to the backs, which allowed Joe Barker to throw a long miss-pass out to winger Connor Field who dived over in the corner. And then in the final play of the half from a catch and drive five metres out, hooker Ali Thomson crashed over from the back of the maul to give the hosts a 22-14 half time lead.

It was important for Rotherham to maintain their momentum in the second period as Chinnor have showed all season what a good side they are and if they are given an opportunity they will take it. However, Rotherham made a perfect start to the second period as they scored their bonus-point fourth try inside five minutes.

The try evolved from an Alex Dolly’s box kick which bounced kindly for Roth and allowed Connor Field to collect just inside the touchline. The powerful winger then galloped down the flank and held off a powerful last-ditch tackle from Ryan before dotting down near the corner flag.

Things got even better for Rotherham just 3 minutes later when a sweeping move which started on the edge of their own 22, when they stripped the ball from Chinnor, culminated in centre Ellis Abrahams scoring Titans fifth try of the game following good work in the build from Callum Irvine and Jamie Ure. Dolly’s conversion just drifted across the face of the posts in the swirling wind, which left Rotherham with a healthy 32-14 advantage.

Again the visitors showed tremendous resilience as they fought back tenaciously; on 51 minutes following a number of phases from the pack the ball was flipped out to the backs who worked the ball across the field for full back Craig Holland to score an unconverted try.

Twelve minutes from time and Chinnor set up a tense finale when they pounced on an opportunistic moment in the game. Rotherham were camped on the visitor’s line and looked to be about to put the game to bed when a pass 2 metres from the Chinnor line went astray. The loose ball was hacked downfield which saw winger Reon Joseph race through to collect and score under the sticks. Ryan’s successful conversion made it a 6-point game and everything to play for.

The final embers of a pulsating game of rugby saw Chinnor put Rotherham under huge pressure with a scrum 5 metres from the Titans line. However, the home pack showed tremendous character and technique to win a free kick and see out the remaining minute to deservedly win the game.

Speaking afterwards Titans Joe Barker explained, “It was an outstanding win from the boys, we were in total control for 50 minutes but credit to Chinnor they came back at us. We managed the game pretty well throughout however and there’s no doubt the lads deserved the win.

“It was pleasing to see the lads handle the pressure at the end when they were on our line and I think our boys showed everyone just how much character they have. The lads are putting in huge shifts every Tuesday and Thursday in training and that character is built in those sessions.”

Referee: Jamie Leahy

Attendance: 617

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Field (2T), Thomson (T), Abrahams (T), Dolly (1T, 2C, 1P)

Chinnor: A Dancer (T), J Dancer (T), Holland (T), Joseph (T), Ryan (3C)

Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Dan Richardson (Bergmanas 67), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Will Dennis (Stout 61), 4 Jamie Ure, 5 Tom Cotterill (Petrowitsch 67), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Eru Smith-Wano (Poole 36), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Zak Poole, 19 Anton Petrowitsch, 20 Connor Dever.

Chinnor: 15 Craig Holland, 14 Reon Joseph, 13 Alex Dancer, 12 Danny Barnes (Capt.), 11 James Neal, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Josh Barton (Goodfellow 67), 1 Matt Beesley (Price 51), 2 Dan George, 3 Jack Gilding (Davis 48), 4 Cameron Gray, 5 Jack Ramshaw (Oliver 57), 6 Joe Dancer, 7 Ben Manning (Bell 48), 8 Tom Burns.

Replacements: 16 George Davis, 17 Tom Price, 18 George Oliver, 19 Rob Bell, 20 Greg Goodfellow.

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Loughborough Students 5 Titans 38

Rotherham Titans secured their first away success of the season in impressive fashion, as they ran in 6 tries in a 38-5 win over Loughborough Students at University Stadium.

All six Rotherham tries came through the backs as they took advantage of a strong platform set up by the pack.

To be fair to Loughborough they battled for the full 80 minutes and made life difficult for the Titans throughout. Indeed the Students could have gone ahead on 12 minutes had full back Tim Bitirim been more accurate with his penalty attempt.

However, five minutes later Titans got the scoreboard moving when impressive centre Ellis Abrahams carved his way through the home defence to score, with Alex Dolly adding the extra 2 points.

On the half hour mark Titans’ scrum half Connor Dever reacted the quickest from a penalty awarded to Rotherham; his hasty tap-and-go caught the opposition napping which resulted in the half back’s first try for the club.

Just before the break and Dever was in the thick of it again as he broke through the home defence to take play close to the try line before being brought to ground. However, centre Harry Dunne was on hand to collect and show incredible strength and desire to bulldoze his way over for Titans third try. Dolly converted to send the visitors in at the break 19-0 to the good.

Just four minutes into the second period and Rotherham secured the four-try bonus point. A clever dummy from Dolly was bought which enabled him to make good ground into the Students 22, before he found Joe Barker in support who in turn threw an unorthodox pass out wide for Connor Field to dive over in the corner.

Just after the hour mark Loughborough deservedly got on the board for their efforts, when a cheeky move up the short side from a line out saw hooker Harrison King cross the whitewash in the corner. Titans would have been disappointed to have been caught out by the move.

To re-establish control took the South Yorkshire side just 3 minutes. Replacement back Connor Irvine collected the ball on the 10 metre line before proceeding the carve his way through the home defence before offloading 5 metres out to Dolly who accepted with style to score Titans fifth try of the game. After dusting himself down his converted his own try.

The final score of an entertaining contest came 8 minutes from time when from the base of a ruck close to the line, Callum Irvine threw an outrageous dummy which all around bought enabling him to score Rotherham’s sixth try of the match. Dolly rounded off a good afternoon from the tee with his fourth conversion.

Commenting post-game a delighted Joe Barker explained, “The lads put in a good performance, a lot of stuff we have been working on in training clicked for us and that was pleasing.

“We know we’ve got plenty in our armoury; we showed that in the first 40 minutes last week against Sale, but today under these difficult wet conditions the lads were outstanding for pretty much all of the game.

“They really stuck to our game plan, they didn’t overplay and when we did play it was at the right time in the right areas of the pitch.

“Overall it was a good performance and we know there’s still a lot to come out. We did make a few mistakes, but that’s actually exciting for us as a group, because we know when we eliminate some of those we can become a very good side in National 1.

“Now it’s about showing consistency; all the good sides in any division are consistent in their performances. We have to get back into training next week and review what went well and what didn’t; then we fix those and go to the next level.

“We play Chinnor next and they are at the top of the league because they are a very good side. We’ll need to find a new level if we are going to compete against them and that’s exciting for everyone at the club.”

Referee: Dave Sutherland (SRU)

Attendance: 314

Yellow Card: Preston-Routledge (Titans)

Titans: Abrahams (T), Dever (T), Dunne (T), Field (T), Irvine (T), Dolly (T, 4C)

Loughborough Students: King (T)

Titans: 15 Alex Dolly, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams (Dever 77), 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Connor Dever (Irvine 55), 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Ali Thomson (Bergmanas 67), 3 Will Dennis (Stout 61), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge, 5 Tom Cotterill (Ure 67), 6 Eru Smith-Wano, 7 Zak Poole (Ball 55), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Jamie Ure, 19 Luis Ball, 20 Callum Irvine.

Loughborough Students: 15 Tim Bitirim, 14 Will Brown, 13 Alex Glashan (Attfield 55), 12 Matthew Edwards (Capt.), 11 Austin Beckett (Attfield 65), 10 Mark Dixon, 9 Callum Watson, 1 Sam Grahamslaw (Christie 40), 2 Harrison King, 3 Andrew Boye, 4 Sam Bailey (Grahamslaw 45), 5 Owen Lloyd, 6 Henri Lavin (Bailey 57), 7 Victor Keunen, 8 Ogwenesuvwe Obano (Reed 76).

Replacements: 16 Jamie Cox, 17 Ben Christie, 18 Max Hill, 19 Charlie Reed, 20 Will Attfield.

Loughborough v Roth pic_1.jpg

Titans 32 Sale FC 27

Rotherham returned to winning ways as they showed tremendous character to seal a dramatic 32-27 bonus point win over Sale FC at a bright and sunny Clifton Lane.

Having led for much of an entertaining contest, in which both sides endeavoured to play attacking rugby; Rotherham found themselves behind with 5 minutes remaining until Ellis Abrahams collected an interception pass to score under the posts.

Alex Dolly converted and then added a penalty in injury time as the Titans registered their first 5-point victory of the season.

The game started in bright sunshine and with a firm surface underfoot conditions were perfect for an entertaining, fast-paced encounter and to be fair, both sides attempted to deliver just that.

Although the visitors nudged themselves ahead after 3 minutes through a Chris Johnson penalty, it was Rotherham who enjoyed the early exchanges as they raced into a 7 point lead inside the first quarter of the game.

Following an Alex Dolly penalty which levelled matters, Titans manoeuvred themselves inside the Sale 22 before the pack bulldozed their way over the line for prop Will Dennis to touch down on debut. Dolly tagged over the extras to give Rotherham a 10-3 lead.

Sale looked energetic and played with tempo as they tried to work themselves back on terms, but Rotherham matched them for energy and repeatedly snuffed out potential danger.

Eventually Titans added to their tally when big second rower Dan Preston-Routledge barged his way over the line with a little help from his pack mates. Dolly’s conversion stretched the Titans advantage to 17-3 just before the break.

As the game entered the sixth minute of stoppage time Titans allowed the visitors an opportunity to get back into the game when having taken the ball back inside their 22, they kicked-out on the full to give Sale a line-out 10 metres from their line.

From the resulting passage of play Sale set-up a driving maul which powered its way towards the line for replacement forward Dan Birchall to dot down. The try was converted by Johnson with the last kick of the half.

Rotherham came out for the second period determined to build on their success of the first half and this they did on 48 minutes when replacement centre Ellis Abrahams charged down on the Sale 22, before popping a pass to Seb Nagle-Taylor, who then showed terrific strength and determination to power his way over next to the sticks. Surprisingly the reliable Dolly missed the conversion to leave his side 22-10 ahead.

With nothing to lose now, the visitors upped their intensity and enjoyed a period of dominance which saw them score two converted tries through prop Adam Aigbokhae and Captain Andrew Hughes; which sandwiched a penalty from Johnson in the space of 17 minutes to give Sale an unexpected 27-22 lead.

As the game drew to a close it appeared as if Rotherham were going to suffer another hard-luck story. However, five minutes from time Rotherham pressed hard inside the Sale 22 which culminated in Ellis Abrahams picking of a pass from Sale’s replacement fly half, Kieran Wilkinson, to race in and score Titans bonus point try. Dolly converted and added a penalty in stoppage time to seal an important victory.

Post-game a delighted Joe Barker explained, “I am really satisfied with the five point win, I think we showed what we have as an attacking team today and we played some good rugby.

“It was good for the fans to see that; we’d been working on that all week, we brought the game plan in on Tuesday and the lads have worked very hard on it this week.

“At times the boys played some outstanding rugby, but we’ve just got to be a bit more consistent now. I think we showed that in the first half, but in the second half we didn’t quite perform to the same level.

“I also think the lads showed a tremendous amount of character to come back at the end in the manner they did. You can’t teach that and I’m proud that the boys have got that inside them and they showed that today.”

Referee: Veryan Boscawen

Attendance: 534

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Dennis (T), Preston-Routledge (T), Nagle-Taylor (T), Abrahams (T), Dolly (2P, 3C)

Sale FC: Birchall (T), Aigbokhae (T), Hughes (T), Johnson (2P, 2C), Bradley (1C)

Titans: 15 Alex Dolly, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Harry Dunne (Abrahams 7), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jamie Cooke, 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Connor Dever, 1 Dan Richardson (Bergmanas 60), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Will Dennis (Stout 50), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge (Keys 64), 5 Conor Keys (Ure 55), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole (Cotterill 60), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Rikki Stout, 18 Jamie Ure, 19 Tom Cotterill, 20 Ellis Abrahams.

Sale FC: 15 Jonty Rawcliffe, 14 Paolo Odogwu, 13 Connor Doherty, 12 Jack Moorhouse (Dunne 72), 11 Aaron Reed, 10 Chris Johnson (Wilkinson 60), 9 Matthew Bradley, 1 Adam Aigbokhae, 2 Neil Briggs (Taylor 58), 3 Simon Griffiths, 4 William Davies, 5 Matt Postlethwaite (Priestley-Nangle 64), 6 Andrew Hughes (Capt.) (Postlethwaite 68), 7 Dave Seymour, 8 Tom Ailes (Birchall 37).

Replacements: 16 Dan Birchall, 17 Christian Taylor, 18 Kieran Dunne, 19 Stone Priestley-Nangle, 20 Kieran Wilkinson.

Titans v Sale FC_12.jpg

Birmingham Moseley 28 Titans 22

Rotherham’s high error count and a lack of discipline saw them fall to a disappointing 28-22 defeat against a rugged Birmingham Moseley side at a wet and windy Billesley Common.

Rotherham did however collect a bonus point for their 6 point loss and will look to get back to winning ways this week at home to Sale FC.

There were periods where Rotherham looked the better side, but a lack of discipline ultimately lead to their downfall, as Moseley cashed in with four driving maul tries through hooker Adam Caves.

Titans actually made a bright opening and quickly raced into a 10-0 lead following a Dan Leake try and a penalty and conversion from Alex Dolly.

However, Moseley’s pack of forwards reduced the arrears on 12 minutes when hooker Adam Caves crashed over from the tail of a maul close to the line.

Titans’ Dolly and Moseley’s James Williams then traded penalties before Caves bulldozed his way over again to level the scores at 13 apiece.

The game began to form a pattern where Rotherham tried to play some rugby, whilst the home side appeared to be content with their pack keeping the ball close as they rumbled around the park.

Three minutes before the break Dolly added his third penalty for Rotherham from in front of the sticks as Moseley’s slow retreat saw them pinned for being offside.

However, the final play of the half saw Caves secure his hat trick try from another driving maul close to the Titans line to send the hosts in at the break 18-16 to the good.

With the game finely balanced the first score of the second period would be vital; unfortunately for Rotherham Adam Caves scored his fourth try of the game from a maul just two minutes in, with Williams adding the conversion to stretch the home sides lead to 25-16.

To be fair Rotherham never stopped working hard as they tried to claw their way back into the game and this they did when either side of the hour mark Alex Dolly struck two fine penalties to reduce the arrears to 25-22 with 14 minutes remaining.

Both sides defended well in the final quarter as each team pushed for victory. However, in the final play of the game Moseley won a penalty at a scrum inside the Titans 22 and Williams nailed the conversion to end matters.

Commenting post-game Titans Joe Barker explained, “It was a disappointing result and there’s no doubt about that, but other than in the driving mauls I thought we were defensively strong. The only way they got into our half was through our poor discipline and our errors. We gave away far too many penalties which gave them field position and they used their maul to good effect.

“I think our decision makers, our 9, 10 and 15 controlled our kicking game very well and I think we dominated both halves in terms of that.

“However, if you can’t hold your discipline, scrums and mauls then you are going to find it hard to win games of rugby and these are areas that we have to sort out.

“It wasn’t a game for the purists and the weather conditions didn’t make it easy for either side. We have a young squad here, but they’re going to have to learn and learn quickly and we are going to have to sort it out at training.

“More than half the tries we have conceded this season have come via the driving maul and that’s an area we obviously need to sort out. We knew coming into the game we had a light back five as all four of our second rows are injured. But I can’t complain in terms of the boy’s effort, but sometimes weight wins when you’re in the row.”

Referee: Matt Turvey

Attendance: 736

Yellow Card: Baffour-Awuah (Moseley)

Titans: Leake (T), Dolly (5P, 1C)

Birmingham Moseley: Caves (4T), Williams (2P, 1C)

Titans: 15 Alex Dolly, 14 Dan Leake (Cooke 34), 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Henry Roberts, 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Connor Dever, 1 Jack Bergmanas (Richardson 53), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (Dickinson 63), 4 Anton Petrowitsch, 5 Tom Cotterill (Preston-Routledge 63), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).

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

Birmingham Moseley: 15 Sam Hollingsworth, 14 Charles Baffour-Awuah, 13 Oliver Allsopp, 12 Sam Hayward, 11 Sam Atkin, 10, James Williams, 9 Rob Lewis (Capt.) (Pointon 61), 1 Tom Fidler (Tyack 76), 2 Adam Caves, 3 Jay Tyack (Boyce 60), 4 Buster Lawrence, 5 Lewis Bean, 6 Laurence Cowen, 7 Josh Poole, 8 Chris Brightwell (Le Roux 61).

Replacements: 16 Jamie White, 17 Jonah Boyce, 18 Jacques Le Roux, 19 Sam Smith, 20 Sam Pointon.

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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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