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
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.