Rotherham Titans claimed their second successive 5 point win with a worthy 29-5 victory over a tenacious Caldy side at a sunny Clifton Lane.
Two tries by Jack Bergmanas and one each from Callum Irvine and Ali Thomson, plus nine points from the boot of Alex Dolly proved to be enough to secure the points for Rotherham.
Titans’ victory ensured they did the ‘double’ over their North West opposition this term, having triumphed 33-29 at Paton Field earlier in the season.
In fact the only side to date Titans haven’t registered a win against in National 1 is top of the table side Ampthill; only Old Elthamians in second place, who the Titans face on the last day of the season can emulate that.
The game itself saw Rotherham enjoy long periods of territory and possession and ultimately run out healthy winners, achieving their third biggest margin of victory this season.
However, they did have to wait for an Alex Dolly penalty on 17 minutes before they eventually got the scoreboard moving; the Sydney-born scrum half nailed his impressive effort from out wide on the left hand side.
The pressure Titans forwards exerted on Caldy inevitably paid off shortly after when in the space of 10 minutes Rotherham hooker Jack Bergmanas crashed over for a brace of tries. Both stemmed from catch and drives close to the line and both were expertly converted by Dolly to see Titans race into a 17-0 lead.
The one disappointment during the match for Rotherham came in the final play of the first half when Caldy full back Lewis Barker ran in all too easy for his side’s only points of the game, which sent the Titans in at the break leading 17-5.
The second period resumed in similar fashion to the first and the Caldy boys have to be credited as their defence repeatedly held out the home side under the sternest of pressure.
However, on the hour mark after another sustained period of pressure, one in which the Titans retained the ball for multi-phases, the inevitable breach of the defensive line was exploited when fly half Callum Irvine skipped through to dot down under the posts. Dolly’s converted to make it 24-5.
With the result now effectively in the bag, the one question which remained unanswered is would the home side be able to score a bonus-point try. The Titans faithful had to wait until 2 minutes from time for the answer, which eventually came from replacement hooker Ali Thomson who crashed over from the tail of a maul in the corner to round off an effective Rotherham performance.
Commenting on his sides victory post-match, Joe Barker explained, “I don’t think we’ve had a game like this one for a while, where we were fairly comfortable for pretty much the full 80 minutes. There were times when Caldy did put us under pressure, but we managed to weather those periods when they came and I don’t think we spent too much time in our own 22.
“I was pleased with how the boys controlled the game, obviously we still have lots of areas where we can improve but that will always be the case in rugby. I thought defensively we were really strong, as conceding only 5 points in a game would suggest.
“Our penalty count was pretty low too and that helps to keep the opposition out of your 22. Our attack started to flow better in the second half and we showed some good variety, after our pack had done some great work in the first half. And without being too picky I think we left at least another 2 tries out there; but we’ll take the result and build towards Cinderford.”
Referee: John Meredith
Yellow Card: Nagle-Taylor (Titans)
Red Card: Salisbury (Caldy)
Titans: Bergmanas (2T), Irvine (T), Thomson (T), Dolly (P, 3C)
Caldy: Barker (T)
Titans: 15 Dan Leake, 14 Henry Roberts (Allan 63), 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Harry Dunne (Abrahams 50), 11 Connor Field, 10 Callum Irvine, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Dan Richardson, 2 Jack Bergmanas (Thomson 50), 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 49), 4 Dan Preston-Routledge (Ure 70), 5 Jamie Ure (Cotterill 40), 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole, 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).
Replacements: 16 Ali Thomson, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Tom Cotterill, 19 Sam Allan, 20 Ellis Abrahams.
Caldy: 15 Lewis Barker (Dickinson 79), 14 Nick Royle, 13 Luke Hibberd, 12 Mike Barlow, 11 Rory Hardman, 10 Rhys Hayes, 9 Jake Squirrel (Jones 73), 1 John Whittaker, 2 Callum Ridgway (O'Donnell 47), 3 Derek Salisbury, 4 Jack Collister (McGowan 73), 5 Tom Sanders (Capt.), 6 David Jones (Crowe 60), 7 Nyle Davidson (Ridgway 65), 8 JJ Dickinson (Cross 74).
Replacements: 16 Rob O'Donnell, 17 Louis McGowan, 18 Stuart Cross, 19 Harrison Crowe, 20 Ben Jones.