Rotherham Titans showed tremendous character to snatch a dramatic 21-20 victory over Birmingham Moseley in the 94th minute with a converted try in the final play of the game.
When Moseley hooker Ryan Roach scored his hat trick driving maul try with 3 minutes remaining, to put his side 20-14 ahead, it looked a long way back for the Titans.
However, this young Titans squad showed incredible desire, character and determination to battle right to the end and their efforts were rewarded when flanker Zak Poole barged his way over following a period of enormous pressure close to the line.
Ellis Abrahams then kept his cool to slot over the conversion to send the Titans faithful into raptures.
No one would have expected so a tight, dramatic finish to a game in which the Titans started so brightly and in control. They pinged out of the box from the off and scored their first try on 4 minutes.
Good line speed by the South Yorkshire side forced Moseley into a handling error which Seb Nagle-Taylor pounced on and proceeded to gallop in from 40 metres to score under the sticks. Ellis Abrahams added the extras for a perfect start.
Rotherham continued to go about their work with lots of energy and intensity and on several occasions manoeuvred themselves into great scoring positions. Unfortunately for them a combination of poor decision making and execution combined with a tenacious opposition defence meant they were unable to breach the try line.
When Titans lost at Moseley earlier in the season, they conceded 4 tries, all of which came from the driving maul and all of which were scored by the hooker Adam Caves.
In this game Moseley were to score 3 tries and again all would come via the driving maul and again all would be scored by the hooker; only this time the hooker was Ryan Roach.
If you have a particular strength why wouldn’t you use it? And so on 20 minutes the visitors levelled matters with their first, which centre James Williams converted.
Despite each side’s best endeavours no more points were added in the first 40 and the teams went in at the break at 7 each.
Rotherham had enjoyed the better of things during the first half but in the opening period of the second half Moseley worked themselves back into the game; this culminated with their second maul try on the hour mark – Williams missed the conversion.
However, within 5 minutes Titans bounced back with a brilliant training ground move which saw Moseley duped and scrum half Connor Dever dance his way through to score under the posts. Abrahams converted to nose Rotherham 14-12 ahead.
Frustrating for the home side they conceded a penalty almost from the restart and their lead lasted for under 2 minutes as National 1’s leading points scorer James Williams added the 3-pointer to give his side a 15-14 lead.
The contest descended into a fragmented stop-start affair which made it difficult for either side to play much rugby. However, as the clock ticked down Moseley appeared to seal victory, when Ryan Roach dived over for his third maul try. Crucially for Rotherham however, Williams narrowly missed the conversion.
In a massively tense finish which saw 14 minutes of added time, this was mainly due to Moseley relentlessly giving away penalties and which also saw lock Lewis Bean yellow carded for his part, Titans eventually bundled their way over through flanker Zak Poole, ably assisted by Luis Ball.
You could have heard a pin drop as Ellis Abrahams teed up the conversion and when the inside centre calmly struck his effort through the sticks the Titans faithful inside the ground went wild with delight.
Commenting post-match a relieved Joe Barker explained, “It was a very close match; one I think the team who played the better rugby came out on top. I think at times they managed the game situation better than us as they slowed it down to a pace they were comfortable to play at.
“They were strong in the set piece and they were strong up front like we knew they would be; but they slowed the game right down and we struggled to handle that at times. So to come back like we did was very pleasing.
“We said under the sticks after their third try that we needed to charge down the conversion, because we knew we go and win the game by 1 point. That was the belie3f of the boys even at that stage and I’m so proud of the lads for achieving that.
“It wasn’t the best of games to watch and for a variety of reasons there wasn’t much rugby played and we know we’ve got a lot of areas we need to work on if we want to achieve what we want to achieve, both as a club and as individuals.”
Referee: Alex Thomas
Yellow Card: Bean (Birmingham Moseley)
Titans: Nagle-Taylor, Dever, Poole, Abrahams (3C)
Birmingham Moseley: R Roach (3T), Williams (C, P)
Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Dan Leake, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Henry Roberts (Field 69), 10 Joe Barker, 9 Connor Dever (Dolly 75), 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Jack Bergmanas (Thomson 52), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 75), 4 Conor Keys (Cotterill 40), 5 Kieran Frost, 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).
Replacements: 16 Ali Thomson, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Tom Cotterill, 19 Connor Field, 20 Alex Dolly.
Birmingham Moseley: 15 Mike Penn, 14 Alex Hearle, 13 Ollie Allsopp (Fatiaki 69), 12 James Williams, 11 Louis Roach, 10 Sam Hollingsworth, 9 Rob Lewis (Capt.) (Pointon 75), 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 Ryan Roach, 3 Jay Tyack (Fidler 60), 4 Chukwuma Osazuwa, 5 Lewis Bean, 6 Jacques Le Roux (Cowan 40), 7 Josh Poole, 8 Chris Brightwell.
Replacements: 16 Adam Caves, 17 Tom Fidler, 18 Laurence Cowan, 19 Ravai Fatiaki, 20 Sam Pointon.