Richmond 35 Titans 5

Rotherham Titans suffered a disappointing defeat to Richmond in round 2 of the British & Irish Cup, as they went down 35-5 at the Athletic Ground.

The defeat will be a difficult one to take for the South Yorkshire side after they totally dominated the opening 30 minutes of the match, much of which was spent camped in the hosts 22.

And although Rotherham winger Jamie Cooke scored a good try on 11 minutes, which allowed him to demonstrate impressive speed and clinical finishing, Titans ultimately will be disappointed they were unable to add to their tally during this dominant 30 minute spell.

Indeed, had they taken only half the opportunities created during this period, the final outcome would likely have been very different!

However, credit must be given to the hosts as they resolutely defended wave after wave of Titans pressure. The intensity and effort of the Richmond defence is to be applauded and ultimately this set the platform for victory.

As the game went into the final 10 minutes of the first half, Richmond finally escaped from their own 22 and worked the ball downfield into Titans territory. A period of forward pressure ensued as the hosts crept ever closer to the Titans line.

However, despite some good initial defensive work from the Titans close to their line, livewire scrum half Rhodri Adamson was alert enough to spot a gap in the Titans defence to dive over from the base of a ruck. Rob Kirby converted to give the hosts a 7-5 lead on 35 minutes.

Titans were probably still stunned when they came out for the second half and no doubt Richmond were buoyed by their late success in the first period.

Within 10 minutes of a sloppy restart, Rotherham found themselves 21-5 down following tries from winger Jono Woodward and fly half James Swan, both of which were converted by Kirby.

Rotherham were now rocked and the hosts took total control of the game as two more converted tries were added either side of the hour mark from flanker Toby Saysell and replacement front row forward Ross Grimstone.

Titans did muster a late flurry, but ultimately it was too little too late and the visitors were left to ponder the what ifs on the journey back up the M1.

Post-match Titans Andy Key reflected, “I was pleased with the opening 30 minutes of the game, we scored a good try and we applied the right sort of pressure in the right areas of the field. Our whole pressure, whether it was in attack or defence was outstanding and we stopped them playing which was very pleasing.

“The only disappointment in that opening 30 minutes was the amount of time we spent in their half and their 22 and we didn’t convert it into even more points. But I can’t fault what we did, we had a game plan to go in against them and we executed that reasonably well, not always as we’d have liked to have done, but to be honest we did enough to know we could have won this game.

“There was a 12 minute period just before half time and then just after the break where unfortunately we conceded three tries and by conceding those tries we gave ourselves too much to do. Then all of a sudden we’re looking down the barrel at 21-5 which was really tough for us to take at that time.”

Referee: Mike Hudson

Attendance: 623

Yellow Card: Tarrant (Richmond), Maddison (Titans)

Titans: Cooke (T)

Richmond: Adamson (T), Woodward (T), Swan (T), Saysell (T), Grimstone (T), Kirby (5C)

Titans: 15 Ben Foley, 14 Wesley Hamilton (Millar 49), 13 Yiannis Loizias, 12 Joe Barker (Capt.) (Vieira 68) (Murphy 76), 11 Jamie Cooke, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Will Porter, 1 Tom Williams (Foster 73), 2 Jonny Murphy (Maddison 50), 3 Brandon Palmer (Pope 59), 4 James Lasis (Postlethwaite 50), 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Tom Willis, 7 Adam Peters, 8 Tom Burns (Calladine 65).

Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Jake Pope, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Tom Calladine, 21 Francisco Vieira 22 Lee Millar.

Richmond: 15 Rob Kirby, 14 Jono Woodward, 13 Cameron Mitchell, 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Jordan Simpson-Hefft (Freeman 61), 10 James Swan (Gabbitass 51), 9 Rhodri Adamson (Grant 65), 1 Jeremy Cunnew (Goodrick-Clarke 49), 2 Jason Phipps (Grimstone 49), 3 Craig Trenier (Tarrant 49), 4 Will Warden (Crawford 65), 5 Alex Humfrey, 6 Jesse Liston (Trenier 76), 7 Toby Saysell, 8 Jake Parker.

Replacements: 16 Ross Grimstone, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Max Crawford, 19 Callum Grant, 20 Freddie Gabbitass, 21 Martin Freeman, 22 Joe Tarrant.

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Titans 28 Connacht Eagles 23

Rotherham Titans started their British & Irish Cup campaign in winning fashion as they beat Connacht Eagles 28-23 in an entertaining encounter at Clifton Lane.

Following an indifferent first half from the Titans which saw them trail at the break 23-10, they stormed back in impressive style to nil the Eagles in the second half to run out worthy winners.

In a lively opening 10 minutes there was little to choose between the sides as Connacht’s Luke Carty and Titans’ Caolan Ryan traded penalties.

However, as the first quarter elapsed the visitors scored the first try of the game; good work at the line out saw the ball arrive with Connacht’s big number 6 Naulia Dawai who crashed over menacingly. Carty tagged over the extras.

Back came Rotherham though as they tried to put some intensity into their performance. From a line out close to the visitors’ line, the Titans pack collaborated to drive forward with real urgency. Charlie Maddison was on hand from the tail of the maul to dive over for a good pack try. Ryan levelled the game at 10 apiece with a neatly taken conversion.

Rotherham then appeared to ‘switch-off’ which allowed the Eagles to take advantage and following some forward pressure close to the titans line, the ball was fed out wide for hooker Dave Heffernan to dive over in the corner. Carty stuck a marvellous conversion from the touchline to put the visitors 17-10 ahead.

As the first half drew to a close Connacht began to enjoy some dominance which forced Rotherham into conceding a number of penalties. From two such misdemeanours in injury time fly half Carty slotted over two further successful kicks to draw the half to an end.

Rotherham however came out for the second period with an urgency scarcely seen in the first 40. Titans raised the tempo of their work which saw the visitors repeatedly forced onto the back foot.

Eventually on 54 minutes and following a dominant period from the home pack, the ball arrived with winger Ben Foley who somehow managed to leap over a number of Connacht defenders to dot down in the corner for an unconverted try.

The momentum had now shifted massively in Rotherham’s favour as they continued to power forward. Titans’ work-rate was rewarded on the hour mark when man-of-the-match candidate Tom Burns powered over following some great mauling from his pack-mates. Ryan’s conversion drew the host’s to within a point at 22-23.

Spurred on Rotherham went in search of their first win of the season. Now it was the visitors turn to start racking up the penalty count. From such a penalty Titans nosed ahead for the first time in the game when Caolan Ryan calmly slotted over on 71 minutes.

Rotherham impressed during the latter stages as they managed the game well without panicking as Connacht attempted to run the ball whenever possible.

The game was sealed in the eight minute of injury time when Ryan stepped up to knock over his third successful penalty of the match and when referee Elgan Williams blew for time there was huge joy and relief all around Clifton Lane.

Commenting post-match Titans Andy Key explained, “I’m delighted to get our first win of the season, but I’m more delighted for the boys. We facilitate the process of actually putting them into positions and we help to make them better players, but at the end of the day they have to prove that to themselves and the main area to do that is on a match day.

“But I thought today our composure and the way we reacted to a poor first half performance and to come back in the way we did was very good, especially in how we controlled the final 10 minutes.

“Tom Burns had a very good game, he set a good target and he showed a never-say-die attitude. His leg drive into contact to make sure we could get every yard possible was outstanding.

“I was also massively impressed with the two lads from Wasps who came in this week. Both Will Porter and Tom Willis showed there’s some great young talent out there.

“Will controlled things at the base and he kept the tempo high when we needed it to be and he got to the breakdown early and distributed the ball well. Then when Tom came on he only knows one direction and he set a good platform. So I was really pleased with those two boys.”

Referee: Elgan Williams

Attendance: 417

Yellow Card: None

Titans: Maddison (T), Foley (T), Burns (T), Ryan (2C, 3P),

Connacht: Dawai (T), Heffernan (T), Carty (2C, 3P)

Titans: 15 Ben Foley (Cooke 70), 14 Wesley Hamilton, 13 Yiannis Loizias, 12 Luke Peters, 11 Drew Cheshire, 10 Caolan Ryan, 9 Francisco Vieira (Porter h-t), 1 Tom Williams (Opedo 68), 2 Charlie Maddison (Capt.) (Murphy 70), 3 Andrew Foster (Palmer h-t), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Guy Borrowdale (Willis 52), 6 Matt Postlethwaite, 7 Adam Peters, 8 Tom Burns.

Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Brandon Palmer, 18 Nathaniel Opedo, 19 Tom Willis, 20 Will Porter, 21 Lee Millar 22 Jamie Cooke.

Connacht Eagles: 15 Matthew Byrne, 14 Niyi Adeolokun (Leavy h-t), 13 Stacey Ili, 12 Kieran Joyce, 11 Colm de Buitléar, 10 Luke Carty, 9 Conor McKeon (Kerins 70), 1 Dominic Robertson-McCoy, 2 Dave Heffernan, 3 JP Cooney (Kenny 51), 4 Gavin Thornbury (Murray 68), 5 Peter Claffey, 6 Naulia Dawai (O’Toole 70), 7 Paul Boyle, 8 Harley Fox (Huxford 65).

Replacements: 16 Pat O’Toole, 17 Conor Kenny, 18 Niall Murray, 19 Cian Huxford, 20 Stephen Kerins, 21 Morgan Codyre, 22 Adam Leavy.

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Bedford 34 Titans 14

Rotherham Titans put in a much improved performance against Bedford Blues before ultimately going down 34-14 at Goldington Road.

Overall Rotherham had the lion’s share of territory and possession, particularly in the first half where they would have been disappointed to go in at the break pointless after such a dominant display.

Titans’ forwards impressed hugely as they drove the Blues backwards on numerous occasions, but unfortunately for them they were unable to turn that pressure into points.

Bedford however gave Rotherham a lesson in clinical finishing as on just about the only three occasions they entered the Titans 22 they scored three tries; two came the way of rapid scrum half Jordan Burns, whilst winger Dean Adamson ran in the third on the stroke of half time. Harry Sheppard converted all three tries to add to his earlier penalty on 12 minutes which opened the scoring sequence.

Rotherham continued to enjoy periods of territory and possession throughout the second period and were rewarded for their endeavours on 55 minutes when winger Jake Henry barged his way over in the bottom left corner, following some quick hands from the Titans backs. Caolan Ryan nailed a superb conversion from the touchline.

Again however the home side demonstrated their ruthless, clinical side as they crossed the whitewash on two further occasions after Rotherham had enjoyed strong periods of pressure.

Dean Adamson helped himself to a second dot down before speedy centre Rich Lane showed a tremendous turn of foot to race away for Bedford’s fifth try of the game.

Gamely, Rotherham continued to battle on, determined to show their undoubted character. Late on, having been camped on the Bedford line for some time, replacement hooker Charlie Maddison dived over to earn Titans a deserved second try of the match. Lee Millar converted nicely with the final kick of the game.

Speaking afterwards Titans Andy Key reflected, “We probably had more territory and possession overall and certainly so in the first half, yet we go in at the break 24-0 down. Some of that is probably as a result of the first-up tackles that we missed.

“You have to give Bedford credit; as soon as they got behind us their cutting edge was better than ours. But I thought there was a lot of good things in our forward play; our line out was really good and our drive functioned well and we gave ourselves opportunities.

“I think that’s the difference when you’re a side like us who are really battling for that first win, certain things are going to go right and some things aren’t. Our attack wasn’t quite as sharp as it needed to be, albeit we won the second half 14-10.

“Bedford don’t lose too many games down here, but I felt we competed and we had a really good go at them, but they took their opportunities. You look at where we were on the field at times and maybe we could have made better use of those positions.

“But when that doesn’t go your way you have to make sure you stop them gaining momentum the next time they come at you. We did that for long periods, but when they did get the momentum they scored from it.

“I thought we dominated enough from a forwards point of view and physically at times to get more out of the game and certainly we should have done in the first half. That didn’t happen and as a result going in at 24-0 it’s a big uphill battle thereafter.”

Referee: John Meredith

Attendance: 2,337

Yellow Card: Will Carrick-Smith (Bedford)

Titans: Henry (T), Maddison (T), Ryan (1C), Millar (1C),

Bedford: Burns (2T), Adamson (2T), Lane (T), Sheppard (P. 3C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley (Loizias 69), 13 Luke Peters, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Caolan Ryan (Millar 75), 9 Francisco Vieira, 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 75), 2 Luke Cole (Maddison 55), 3 Matt Shields (Foster 69), 4 Rob Louw, 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 8 Dan Grange (Postlethwaite 43).

Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Matt Postlethwaite, 20 Drew Cheshire, 21 Lee Millar, 22 Yiannis Loizias.

Bedford: 15 Chris Czekaj, 14 Elliot Clements-Hill, 13 Rich Lane, 12 Michael Le Bourgeois (Capt.), 11 Dean Adamson (Hutler 63), 10 Harry Sheppard, 9 Jordan Burns (Dickson 59), 1 Sean McCarthy (Lindsay 55), 2 George Edgson (Parilli-Ocampo 55), 3 Ben Cooper (Spelman 72), 4 Jordan Onojaife (Tupai 59), 5 Will Carrick-Smith, 6 Alex Rae, 7 Ben Adams (Nay 55), 8 Jarad Williams.

Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, 18 Dave Spelman, 19 Paul Tupai, 20 Jack Nay, 21 Lee Dickson, 22 Ryan Hutler.

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Titans 22 Richmond 37

Rotherham Titans put in a disappointing performance as they crashed 37-22 at home to Richmond, as they still search for their first Championship victory of the season.

There were pockets during the game where Rotherham looked dangerous, their driving maul and line out work in particular functioned well. There were also periods in the game where their backs created fine opportunities, but effective defensive work from the visitors, coupled with poor execution ultimately cost Titans the game.

It was Titans who actually started the brighter and deservedly took the lead on 8 minutes through loose head prop Toby Williams, who crashed over from close-range following some sterling work from his fellow pack members.

Rotherham’s lead was short-lived as within 5 minutes Richmond levelled matters when livewire scrum half Luc Jones showed great awareness to skip over.

Undeterred, Rotherham showed good energy and commitment to bounce back before the end of the first quarter. From a Titans turnover the ball arrived with Will Thomas, he made good ground before drawing the last tackle to send in Ben Foley down the right wing for a fine try in the corner.

Again Richmond soon levelled as they mounted a series of pick and goes inside the Titans 22, which resulted in lock forward Chris Davies barging his way over the line.

The visitors now began to enjoy a productive spell which resulted in the home side conceding a number of penalties. Inside the final 7 minutes of the first half Richmond full back Rob Kirby punished Rotherham for their misdemeanours as he knocked over 2 penalty attempts to send his side in at the break with a 20-14 advantage.

Kirby extended Richmond’s lead early in the second period with his third successful kick, after more indiscipline from the home side.

Titans Lee Millar reduced the arrears on 53 minutes from a penalty as Rotherham attempted to re-establish themselves in the game.

Again however, Titans allowed the visitors inside their own 22 and again it was the impressive visiting scrum half Luc Jones who threw an outrageous dummy before racing over for his sides third try of the game.

Rotherham continued to give their best and were not finished yet; following more forward pressure from the pack the ball arrived with Titans Will Thomas who showed good footwork and strength to barge his way over under strong pressure. Millar’s conversion from out wide unfortunately struck the left hand post to leave the hosts 8 points adrift.

Titans continued to make inroads into the Richmond defence and created opportunities inside their half of the pitch. Unfortunately for the hosts they were unable to make the most of these and as the game went into injury time it was Richmond who secured the final score of the game with a bonus-point try from replacement back-rower Toby Saysell.

Commenting post-game Andy Key reflected, “To say we are disappointed with the result doesn’t start to summarise it; we are massively disappointed. Collectively we need to be very disappointed in our overall performance and in our individual performance. That is not a performance by any shadow of doubt.

“I don’t mean to undermined Richmond in anything I say, because they’ve worked exceptionally hard to get themselves into a position where they know what they need to do to win the game and they’ve done that magnificently today.

“They took their chances; I think unfortunately at times we gave them those chances through our mistakes or through our indiscipline and then every time they found themselves in our 22 they came away with points. We didn’t do that.

“When we were inside their 22 and even when they were down a man, a forward, we didn’t do that. I think we are making poor decisions and I think we are making wrong decisions.

“I understand why we probably kicked for goal, but we’d just proved in the corner they’d just binned somebody for going for a drive when there are 8 on the field. Now they’ve got 7 on the field and why we’ve not kicked for the corner and really had a crack at them I do not know.

“We did show snippets in the second half which showed we are more than capable, but 10 minutes here and there will never make a side that can look at his self and say it’s capable of going anywhere other than the bottom of the table and at the moment we are where we are because of our performances.”

Referee: Greg Macdonald

Attendance: 768

Yellow Card: Chris Davies 47 (Richmond)

Titans: Toby Williams (T), Foley (T), Thomas (T), Millar (2C, P),

Richmond: Jones (2T), Davies (T), Saysell (T), Kirby (4C, 3P)

 Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley, 13 Drew Cheshire (Loizias 71), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Rhodri Davies (Vieira 22), 1 Toby Williams, 2 Luke Cole (Dolly 71), 3 Matt Shields, 4 Rob Louw (Boladau 52), 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 8 Dan Grange.

Replacements: 16 Nic Dolly, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Ifereimi Boladau, 20 Francisco Vieira, 21 Caolan Ryan, 22 Yiannis Loizias.

Richmond: 15 Rob Kirby, 14 Martin Freeman (Simpson-Hefft 72), 13 Cameron Mitchell, 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Jono Woodward, 10 Freddie Gabbitass, 9 Luc Jones (Gibbs 74), 1 Jeremy Cunnew (Goodrick-Clarke 70), 2 Jason Phipps (Grimstone 62), 3 Craig Trenier (Tarrant 62), 4 Will Warden (Capt.) (Humfrey 66), 5 Chris Davies, 6 Jesse Liston (Saysell 66), 7 Jack Allcock, 8 Jake Parker.

Replacements: 16 Ross Grimstone, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Alex Humfrey, 19 Jamie Gibbs, 20 Jordan Simpson-Hefft, 21 Toby Saysell, 22 Joe Tarrant.

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Pirates 62 Titans 47

Spirited Titans fall short in Penzance

Rotherham Titans put in spirited performance in a high-scoring thriller of a match, before ultimately losing out 62-47 to Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field.

Titans played their full part in this barn-stormer of a Championship fixture and collected their first point of the campaign as they ran in seven tries.

Titans scrum half, Rhodri Davies, caught the eye in particular and was arguably man-of-the-match having raced in for a hat-trick of tries to cap-off a fine individual performance.

Pirates also enjoyed a productive try-scoring afternoon as they ran in 8 tries in a game which produced 109 points.

The game started in disastrous fashion for Rotherham, as within 5 minutes they shipped two converted tries through Pete Laverick and Alex O’Meara, to trail 14-0 after some indifferent work in defence.

Stunned by Pirates’ opening salvo, Titans regrouped and responded almost immediately as scrum half Rhodri Davies collected a neat pass from Will Thomas to race in for the visitors opening dot down.

A whole 6 minutes would elapse before the next score, but when it did, it came from Pirates nippy winger Kyle Moyle who showed good footwork to score his side’s third try.

Before the hosts secured the four-try bonus point on 19 minutes through hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie, Rotherham were awarded a penalty try after further good work down the right hand side from their Welsh Wizard Rhodri Davies, who was prevented from scoring by a high tackle from Alex Day. Day received 10 minutes in the sin bin for his transgression.

On 23 minutes Titans reduced their arrears to 7 points when a neat backs move was finished off by centre Luke Peters in the far right corner, with Lee Millar striking a terrific touchline conversion.

Titans had the opportunity to draw closer moments later after their pack forced a penalty, unfortunately for Millar this time his effort just drifted across the face of the posts.

Just after the half hour mark Pirates extended their lead when fly half Laurence May tagged over a 3-pointer.

Despite half time drawing near there was still time for each side to add a further score in this frenzied first half. For the hosts Kyle Moyle cut a great line to burst through at pace for his second try, before deep into injury time Tom Williams bulldozed his way over from close range to secure the Titans with their first point of the season.

The second period was as unrelenting as the first as the glut of tries continued to flow. Within 13 minutes of the restart each side secured a further two tries; Cowan-Dickie and Nicolas De Battista crossed for the hosts, whilst Rhodri Davies demonstrated tremendous footwork and speed to cross the whitewash twice more to complete his hat-trick.

And when, with 19 minutes remaining Titans replacement hooker, Luke Cole, crashed over for a converted try, Titans trailed by just 5 points as the overworked scoreboard signalled 52-47.

However, any hopes the Titans had of a memorable win in Penzance were effectively dashed late on when referee Dean Richards awarded the hosts a penalty try, and with the final kick of a pulsating encounter, Pirates replacement Will Cargill knocked over a penalty from in front of the sticks.

Commenting afterwards Titans Andy Key reflected, “I Think today was more about our character, we’ve got this never-say-die approach and a great attitude and I think today the boys showed that. But we also know from a realistic point of view we can’t afford to let as many tries in as we did.

“So whilst the fact we can score 47 points is very good, by the same token we conceded 62 points and that’s not acceptable.

“We have been working hard on our defence for the whole of the season and there are times when I think individually we defend or tackle well, but at the moment we are struggling to pick up and understand perhaps collectively who it is we need to hit.

“That’s disappointing because there’s been a lot of time and energy spent on that in training, but I take my hat off to the boys because they didn’t at any stage say they can’t get back into the game and they were always in with a sniff; it’s just a little bit disappointing in the end that we come away not have collected the second bonus point.

“However, we have taken a step in the right direction, there’s stuff we are doing in the pack which is now paying dividends, we are opening up sides and from that perspective we can be pleased.

“We always look at our performances and it’s about trying to be proud of them. If we look after the simple things and the little things then the big performances will come.

“We got a lot of things right today, we were a bit critical over the last few weeks because we’ve been creating chances but not finishing them off. Today we’ve made those chances and we’ve finished them off and to score 7 tries in any game is a pretty good feat and to score 47 points and not win the game is a bit difficult to swallow.”

Referee: Dean Richards

Attendance: 1,241

Yellow Card: Day (Pirates)

Titans: Davies (3T), L Peters (T), Tom Williams (T), Cole (T), Penalty Try, Millar (4C), Ryan (1C).

Cornish Pirates: Moyle (2T), Cowan-Dickie (2T), Laverick (T), O’Meara (T), De Battista (T), Penalty Try, L May (7C, P), Cargill (P).

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley (Cheshire 76), 13 Luke Peters, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Lee Millar (Ryan 52), 9 Rhodri Davies (Vieira 71), 1 Tom Williams (Toby Williams 50), 2 Jonny Murphy (Cole 16), 3 Matt Shields (Foster 64), 4 James Lasis (Burns 52), 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 8 Dan Grange.

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Francisco Vieira, 21 Caolan Ryan, 22 Drew Cheshire.

Cornish Pirates:  15 Toby May, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Pete Laverick, 12 Nicolas De Battista (Capt.), 11 Kyle Moyle, 10 Laurence May, 9 Alex Day, 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 3 Christian Judge, 4 Rupert Cooper, 5 Josh Caulfield, 6 Dan Lee, 7 Matt Bolwell, 8 Tom Lawday.

Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Tom Duncan, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Mike Pope, 21 Will Cargill, 22 Dan Koster.

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Titans 21 Hartpury 32

Titans beaten by Hartpury

Rotherham Titans put in a much-improved all-round performance against new boys Hartpury, before ultimately losing out 32-21 at Clifton Lane.

Indeed Rotherham started the game very brightly and controlled much of the game in the opening 15 minutes and having created several try-scoring opportunities, they would have been disappointed to only have led the game 3-0 on the quarter hour mark with a Lee Millar penalty kick.

Eventually Hartpury established a foothold in the game and stunned Rotherham by scoring 19 points in a 15 minute spell, as they ran in 3 tries scored by Harry Randall, Elias Caven and Harry Cochrane, two of which were converted by Jacob Perry. The Titans will have been disappointed with the space and opportunities given to the visitors during this spell.

The second period saw the host’s all-round game improve significantly as the held the upper hand throughout the 40-minute period, eventually winning the half 15-13.

Titans reduced their arrears on 47 minutes after back rower Adam Peters, making his first Titans start, bulldozed his way over from close range, after some sterling work from his fellow pack members.

Jacob Perry and Lee Millar then traded penalties, before Titans added their second try on 63 minutes when a barnstorming run down the left wing saw Jake Henry gallop over the whitewash. Millar tagged over the extras to leave Rotherham trailing by a point; 22-21.

With the momentum now firmly in Titans favour, they would have been confident of claiming their first win of the season.

However, credit must be extended to the visitors as they regrouped to score the match winning try on 75 minutes through replacement prop Tom Heard. Replacement kicker James Williams converted and knocked over a penalty 3 minutes later to seal the match.

Speaking after the game Titans Andy Key reflected, “The result was a frustrating one because we brought a lot to the game today; I thought our first 15 minutes was right up there and that’s exactly how we want to play. We put them on the back foot, but we were unable to finish off the opportunities that we created.

“Then arguably it was the next 25 minutes what did it for us; we gave them far too much space and far too many opportunities. They came into our 22 on four occasions and each time they went away with points. Whilst crediting them for that, we need to be looking hard at the way we were during that spell.

“We said at half time there’s no way we can allow ourselves to defend like that and allow them to come in and score in the manner they did. I think we saw the improvement from the boys in the second half, they upped everything including physicality, commitment, pace in the game and our fitness was there right up until the end.

“So whilst we were really pleased with the second half performance, you look at the final score and it is still a defeat. However, going forward, if we can start games and go forward in the manner we did in the second half for the whole game, then we really will be on the up.”

Referee: Jack Makepeace

Attendance: 882

Yellow Card: Harden (Hartpury)

Titans: A Peters (T), Henry (T), Millar (3P, C)

Hartpury: Randall (T), Caven (T), Cochrane (T), Heard (T), Perry (P, 2C), Williams (P, C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Drew Cheshire, 13 Luke Peters, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Toby Williams, 2 Luke Cole, 3 Matt Shields, 4 James Lasis, 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 8 Dan Grange.

Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Francisco Vieira, 21 Caolan Ryan, 22 Ben Foley.

Hartpury: 15 Mike Wilcox, 14 Harry Cochrane, 13 Nick Carpenter, 12 Luke Eves, 11 Elias Caven, 10 Jacob Perry, 9 Harry Randall, 1 Dan Murphy, 2 Will Tanner, 3 Rupert Harden, 4 BJ Edwards, 5 Rhys Oakley, 6 Rob Langley, 7 Mat Gilbert, 8 Iain Grieve.

Replacements: 16 Luke Stratford, 17 Mike Flook, 18 Tom Heard, 19 Joe Quinn, 20 Darrel Dyer, 21 James Williams, 22 George Boulton.

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Doncaster 44 Titans 0

Titans beaten by local rivals

Rotherham Titans are still looking for their first points of the season after suffering a disappointing 44-0 loss to fierce local rivals Doncaster Knights who ran in 6 unanswered tries at Castle Park.

The match was the 25th league game between the sides, but the first in which either side has failed to register a score.

From the start Doncaster imposed themselves on the Titans. Within 2 minutes following a powerful drive, which saw the hosts rumble in excess of 40 metres up to the Titans line, Michael Heaney broke before subsequently back rower Alex Shaw barged over for the first score.

Heaney was in the thick of the action again shortly after, when following more impressive work from the Knights pack he picked up from the base to snipe over for his sides second score on 11 minutes.

Rotherham managed to steady the ship somewhat and enjoyed a period of possession, but all too often found penetrating the hosts defence a difficult challenge.

Doncaster eventually bounced back and in between two Simon Humberstone penalties, centre Andy Bulumakau raced over for Knights third dot down to send his side in at the break 25-0 to the good.

The second period saw the hosts continue to pressure Rotherham from the start and five minutes in they secured the bonus point try when fly half Simon Humberstone weaved his way over the whitewash.

Before the hour mark Knights extended their advantage when Andy Bulumakau raced over for his second try and to round off a disappointing derby afternoon for Rotherham, Junior Bulumakau added a sixth try in added time.

Reflecting post-match Rotherham’s Andy Key said, "We need to have faith in what we're trying to do will bring success," adding, "We proved that in pre-season against some good sides.

"Against Doncaster we stood off a bit at times when we needed to pile in. We were waiting to see what happens rather than reacting beforehand and as a result too many times we found ourselves on the back foot and it became tough work.

"Then in the second half we started to pick up two or three injuries and make replacements we might not have wanted to do at that particular time, but that's the game.

"Our set piece scrum continues to go OK but our lineout struggled a bit. We missed some first-up tackles which put us on the back foot.

"It wasn't good enough by any stretch of the imagination. We allowed Doncaster to dictate the contact area, there were too many turnovers and silly mistakes in crucial areas, whether under pressure or when we were starting to create it. We went through three or four phases at times and then all of a sudden we go and make mistakes. 

"I do think there is a lot more about our team than the score line suggests but if we continue (in that way) then other sides will think they can do us just on frailty."

"I take my hat off to Jake Henry. I thought he stood up and really showed exactly what was required, either on the front carrying or in defence and credit to the lad."

Referee: Ian Tempest

Attendance: 1,389

Yellow Card: None

Titans:

Doncaster: Andy Bulumakau (2T), Shaw (T), Heaney (T), Junior Bulumakau (T), Humberstone (T, 2P, 3C), Cusack (1C)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Jake Henry, 13 Luke Peters, 12 Joe Barker (Loizias 61), 11 Drew Cheshire, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Toby Williams (Lasis 78 HIA), 2 Luke Cole (Murphy 54), 3 Matt Shields (Foster 66), 4 James Lasis (A Peters 45), 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Dan Grange, 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.) (Tom Williams 66), 8 Ifereimi Boladau (Burns 53).

Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Adam Peters, 20 Tom Burns, 21 Francisco Vieira, 22 Yiannis Loizias.

Doncaster Knights: 15 Charlie Foley, 14 Junior Bulumakau, 13 Andy Bulumakau, 12 Will Owen, 11 Tyson Lewis, 10 Simon Humberstone (Cusack 59), 9 Michael Heaney (James 54), 1 Richard List (Bergmanas 50), 2 Ben Hunter (Nelson 58), 3 Colin Quigley (Sproston 69), 4 Matt Challinor, 5 Tom Hicks (Eames 55), 6 Alex Shaw, 7 Michael Hills (Capt.), 8 Aaron Carpenter (Hill 54).

Replacements: 16 David Nelson, 17 Jack Bergmanas, 18 Joe Sproston, 19 Morgan Eames, 20 Jason Hill, 21 Tom James, 22 Declan Cusack.

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Titans 10 Nottingham 46

Titans suffer opening day defeat

Rotherham Titans began their Greene King Championship campaign with a disappointing home defeat as they went down 46-10 to a highly-competitive Nottingham side.

Although deserved winners, the score line slightly flattered the visitors as Rotherham made a couple of silly mistakes to gift the Green & Whites two tries.

Indeed Rotherham enjoyed the better of the first 30 minutes as they led 10-5 following a superb Drew Cheshire try, with fly half Lee Millar adding a penalty and a conversion to Nottingham’s Ben Brownlie touchdown on 16 minutes.

Unfortunately for the hosts on 34 minutes, a miss-pass on their own line resulted in Tiff Eden collecting to dive over for an easy try. He then he dusted himself down to knock over the extras to nudge Nottingham ahead and before half time arrived Eden added to his tally with a neatly taken drop goal and with the last kick of the half he slotted over a penalty to send the visitors in with an 18-10 lead.

Despite Titans best endeavours, which were full of spirit and effort in the second half; it was Nottingham who demonstrated what a good side they are by running in four converted tries, as the Titans were unable to add to their score.

Former Titans Ben Morris and Sean Scanlon would have enjoyed crossing the whitewash; Ben Brownlie’s second try was sandwiched in between and replacement front rower Jacob Farnworth put the cherry on top late on as he scored Nottingham’s sixth try of the match.

Commenting afterwards Titans Andy Key said, “It’s certainly not the result we were looking for by any stretch, but I do think there were a lot of positives that we can take from the game. Certainly the way we attacked at times as we got ourselves onto the front foot, but I have to take my hat off to Nottingham as they have a very organised defence.

“In this modern game, if you get your defence right you are part way to winning games and I think that’s where we came a little bit unstuck today. Nottingham’s defence and energy levels in stopping us I thought was the decider.

“We put ourselves under unnecessary pressure by trying things when probably we shouldn’t have done. We gave them two silly tries, one in each half; so when you’re doing that and making some mistakes you’re not helping yourself.

“We are a young side and we’re only into our fourth game including pre-season and I know the boys are really disappointed; I think our energy levels and our fitness levels show there is more to come. A few things here and there can be the difference between the game being a lot closer than what it was today.”

Referee: Michael Hudson

Attendance: 1,017

Yellow Card: None

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

Nottingham: Brownlie (2T), Morris (T), Scanlon (T), Farnworth (T), Eden (T, P, 5C, D-G)

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Yiannis Loizias (Henry 62), 13 Luke Peters, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Drew Cheshire, 10 Lee Millar, 9 Rhodri Davies (Vieira 68), 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 62), 2 Luke Cole (Maddison 59), 3 Matt Shields (Foster 59), 4 Rob Louw (Lasis 30), 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Dan Grange (Burns 68), 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 8 Ifereimi Boladau.

Replacements: 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 James Lasis, 20 Tom Burns, 21 Francisco Vieira, 22 Jake Henry.

Nottingham: 15 Sean Scanlon, 14 Billy Robinson, 13 Oli Evans, 12 Gearoid Lyons (Hakalo 60), 11 Jack Spittle, 10 Tiff Eden, 9 Murray McConnell (Veenendaal 54), 1 Tom West (Sio 57), 2 Ben Brownlie (Farnworth 62), 3 Ben Hooper (Burke 24), 4 Tom Holmes (Everard 57), 5 Danny Qualter, 6 Ben Morris (Capt.), 7 Jordan Coghlan, 8 Josh Poullet (Buckley 40).

Replacements: 16 Jacob Farnworth, 17 Aniseko Sio, 18 Rory Burke, 19 Shane Buckley, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Darryl Veenendaal, 22 Vili Hakalo.

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Titans start pre-season with comfortable win

Rotherham Titans began their pre-season campaign at the Abbeydale Sports Ground, where they secured a comfortable 61-0 victory over local club Sheffield.

The game was split into 3 sections where two 20 minutes periods sandwiched a 40 minute half.

Both sides utilised their squads to the full and the game provided both teams with some ideal preparation before the respective league campaigns start over the first weekend in September.

Sheffield made the Titans graft hard in the opening period and Rotherham were made to work hard on their defence as the National League 2 North side pressed with urgent intent.

However, the Titans defence was up to the task and with great resilience and tenacity they ensured the home side did not breach the whitewash. Equally, Titans opening efforts in attack were repelled as they tried unsuccessfully to put the phases together in their first run-out of the season. All of which meant the scores stayed at 0-0 after the first period.

That was as good as it got for the hosts.

The remaining hour of the contest saw Titans up the tempo and intensity of their game, which in turn resulted in them scoring nine tries through a combination of powerful forward play and quick and incisive work from their backline.

Scrum half Rhodri Davies and centre Luke Peters in particular caught the eye in the backs, whilst Luke Cole and Toby Williams put a shift in for the pack.

In charge of the Titans for the first time, new head coach Andy Key explained post-match, “I was delighted with how the game went, but it was more about how we created the tries, there was probably three or four that were very well executed. We had very clear objectives going into the game and I’m very pleased in the way the boys executed those objectives.

“I take my hat off to Sheffield and to be fair in the first 20 minutes, where it was 0-0, they put us under a little bit of pressure. I think it was more that we were a little bit fresh; it was our first outing and they got amongst us and they upset our rhythm.  

“I think however, once we got into our stride and started to move the ball and increase the pace of our game, it then became a bit of a struggle for them to live with it. But massive credit to Sheffield, they didn’t stop putting in the work right up to the final whistle.

“Our defence was outstanding, not just our organisation and our ability to get into position and a lot of that comes through the due diligence that you have at the breakdown, but our hits as well.  

“Our ability to make some of the hits and then look to turn the ball over was good; however, the slight negative within that is we made a lot of big hits, but we probably didn’t turn the ball over as many times as we wanted to.

“However, on the whole we can’t be too disappointed with the way we defended and to nil a side is always pleasing.”

Check out the match photos HERE