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)
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.