Rotherham Titans got their home National 1 campaign off to a winning start, as they impressed with a 31-20 victory over Sale FC at Clifton Lane on a glorious late-summers afternoon.
Titans outscored their Cheshire-based opponents by four tries to two, with a brace of touch downs in each half. Winger Ben Robins and fly half Sam Hollingsworth dotted down in the opening 40, with Harry Newborn and Anthony Maka crossing the whitewash in the second period.
Rotherham however didn’t have things all their own way and to be fair to Sale it was them who came out firing from the off, as they looked dangerous with their big ball-carriers making some hefty yards.
During this opening 10 minutes salvo Titans were made to graft hard and it was their steely determination to keep the visitors out which impressed.
Their resilience in defence paid off in the twelfth minute when a loose pass from Sale was hacked downfield by Titans winger Ben Robbins, he interchanged with Harry Dunne before diving over for an exciting score.
The excitement levels rose again for the hosts on 22 minutes when half back Sam Hollingsworth collected a clearing kick on the halfway line and proceeded to race past six defenders to score a scintillating try under the sticks.
Sale’s only points in the first period came via the boot of fly half Chris Johnson with two accurate kicks from the tee.
Rotherham continued to impress after the break and effectively wrapped-up the match by the hour mark following two further tries, this time from the pack.
On 49 minutes Hooker Harry Newborn crashed over from the tail of a catch and drive from five metres out before impressive back rower Anthony Maka barged over after a sustained period of forward pressure on the visitor’s line.
Disappointingly for the hosts a lapse in concentration at the death saw the visitors run in two consolation tries from full back Jonty Rawcliffe and fly half Chris Johnson.
Nevertheless Rotherham can be very pleased with their efforts and will now travel to Plymouth next week with confidence levels in a good place.
Commenting afterwards, Titans’ Martin Jenkinson said, “We are delighted with the result, we still have work-ons and there will always be those, but the adage today is that it’s not the side which does all the good work that wins the game; it’s the side which makes the fewest mistakes and the error count for us today was low and in our favour.
“It was pleasing to get the pushover try from the maul, because without that in the modern game you’re never really going to accomplish much and we saw some individual brilliance with a couple of the other tries.
“I think we have to acknowledge Harry Newborn and Anthony Maka’s performances. The carries from Anthony Maka were crucial, he made a lot of the hard yards and Harry Newborn was work-rate was exceptional and the accolades go out to those two.
“Hopefully every week from now on we are going to see a step-up as the side comes together. We are a young side and we want to continue to work on our fitness, physicality and enthusiasm.”
Referee: Andrew Jackson
Yellow Card: None
Titans: Robbins (T), Newborn (T), Maka (T), Hollingsworth (T, 4C, P)
Sale FC: Rawcliffe (T), Johnson (T, 2C, 2P)
Titans: 15 Sam Allan, 14 Ben Robbins, 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Harry Dunne, 11 Connor Field (Bunting 64), 10 Sam Hollingsworth, 9 Connor Dever, 1 Toby Williams (Whitfield 60), 2 Harry Newborn (Defelitto 67), 3 Will Dennis (Ward 64), 4 Elliott Ward, 5 Kieran Frost, 6 Lewis Wilson, 7 Zak Poole (Capt.), 8 Anthony Maka (Laxton 67).
Replacements: 16 Agustin Defelitto, 17 Harry Whitfield, 18 Reece Ward, 19 Keifer Laxton, 20 Morgan Bunting.
Sale FC: 15 Jonty Rawcliffe, 14 Tom Brady, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Johnny Leota (Toa 50), 11 Patrick Ah Van (Moorhouse 59), 10 Chris Johnson, 9 Matthew Bradley, 1 Jake Pope (Matthews 59), 2 Juan Rivas (Longmore 20), 3 Mathew Talaese (Pope 64), 4 William Davies, 5 Matt Postlethwaite, 6 Jake Barron (Priestley-Nangle 64), 7 Andrew Hughes, 8 Jarad Williams.
Replacements: 16 Ollie Longmore, 17 Dan Matthews, 18 Stone Priestley-Nangle, 19 Jeremy Toa, 20 Jack Moorhouse.