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
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.