Titans’ first away trip of the season ended in disappointment as they went down 42-19 to pre-season favourites Darlington Mowden Park at the Northern Echo Arena.
The hosts deserved their victory as they ran in six tries to Titans three, although the scoreboard has a slightly flattering look to it, as Rotherham felt they were in the game more than the board would suggest.
Rotherham applied pressure on the hosts late on as they went in search of the four try bonus point, however Mowden Park’s defence held firm to deny Rotherham any spoils for their efforts.
Indeed Titans had much the better of the opening 20 minutes of the contest and had they taken the opportunities created, they would have opened up a healthy advantage. Alas for them they did not and the closest they came to opening up their account was a Callum Irvine drop goal effort on 13 minutes which bounced off the uprights.
As the half hour mark approached Mowden established some dominance which saw them score a brace of tries either side of the 30 minute mark through centre Ben Frankland and live-wire scrum half Bruno Bravo, both of which were converted by Warren Seals.
Just before the break Rotherham’s forward pack exerted huge pressure on Park’s line as they looked to cut the deficit on half time. Unfortunately for the Yorkshire side they were turned over and the opportunity was lost.
The second period started in similar fashion to the way the first had ended, as the hosts’ dominance saw them establish a stronghold on the game. As the hour mark was passed Park went over for their third try of the half through replacement Ben Stevenson, after Chris Georgiou and former Titan Talite Vaioleti had crossed the whitewash earlier.
In between Titans got off the mark when replacement prop Dan Richardson showed good power to drive over from close to the line.
Ten minutes from time Rotherham secured further reward as they continued to battle on and not let their heads drop. Titans’ pack, which had put in a sterling shift all game, drove up to Park’s line before Richardson was on hand again to barrel over for his second try of the match.
Five minutes later and Titans hopes of securing a bonus point received a further boost when number 8, Seb Nagle-Taylor finished off another barnstorming forwards drive for his sides third try. Irvine drop goaled the conversion in an attempt to get the game restarted quickly.
Although Rotherham had some possession in the final stages, it was the hosts who brought the curtain down on the game as second rower Jake Brady smashed his way over for Park’s sixth dot down of the match. Seals conversion secured him a 100% success rate from the tee.
Commenting post match Titans head coach, Joe Barker, explained, “There were a lot of positives to build on, but I don’t want to keep saying that and we now need to start demonstrating our potential. The first 20 minutes we had them under massive pressure and I think they were shocked in how we were managing the game.
“Our kicking game was better and our set piece has improved a lot this week. I think Smithy, Jenks and Christian have done an outstanding job with the front five and the pack to get that set piece working and they fronted up today and you could see that with the tries we scored.
“I thought the bench also made a massive impact when we used it. They showed great intensity, tempo and physicality and they changed the way the game was played.
“At times you can see what we are trying to do and we are nearly there, but today there were a few decisions made which proved to be wrong ones. I think that’s just a little bit of inexperience but that will come if we continue to work hard during the week.
“I really believe in this squad and I want our fans to be patient and continue to support the lads like they’ve done all along. It will take a bit of time but we will get there.”
Referee: Harry Walbaum
Yellow Card: Nott (Titans)
Titans: Richardson (2T), Nagle-Taylor (T), Irvine (2C)
Darlington Mowden Park: Frankland (T), Bravo (T), Georgiou (T), Vaioleti (T), Stevenson (T), Brady (T), Seals (6C)
Titans: 15 Harry Davey, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Ellis Abrahams (Field 58), 12 Joe Barker, 11 Connor Field (Dever 46), 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Josh Nott (Dunne 57), 1 Jack Bergmanas (Richardson H-T), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (Dickinson 49), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge (Keys 75), 5 Conor Keys (Petrowitsch 57), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).
Replacements: 16 Dan Richardson, 17 Antony Dickinson, 18 Anton Petrowitsch, 19 Connor Dever, 20 Harry Dunne.
Darlington Mowden Park: 15 Chris Georgiou, 14 Josh Hall (McTurk 66), 13 Jordy Hop, 12 Ben Frankland, 11 Ollie Walker (Stevenson 46) (Walker 72), 10 Warren Seals, 9 Bruno Bravo, 1 Alfie Barron (Harvey 66), 2 Jordon Poole, 3 Ralph Appleby (Darkintis 57), 4 Jake Brady, 5 Talite Vaioleti (Appleby 72), 6 Joe Duffy, 7 George Stokes, 8 Joe Craggs.
Replacements: 16 Ignas Darkintis, 17 Anthony Harvey, 18 Garry Law, 19 Ben Stevenson, 20 Chris McTurk.