Spirited Titans fall short in Penzance

Rotherham Titans put in spirited performance in a high-scoring thriller of a match, before ultimately losing out 62-47 to Cornish Pirates at the Mennaye Field.

Titans played their full part in this barn-stormer of a Championship fixture and collected their first point of the campaign as they ran in seven tries.

Titans scrum half, Rhodri Davies, caught the eye in particular and was arguably man-of-the-match having raced in for a hat-trick of tries to cap-off a fine individual performance.

Pirates also enjoyed a productive try-scoring afternoon as they ran in 8 tries in a game which produced 109 points.

The game started in disastrous fashion for Rotherham, as within 5 minutes they shipped two converted tries through Pete Laverick and Alex O’Meara, to trail 14-0 after some indifferent work in defence.

Stunned by Pirates’ opening salvo, Titans regrouped and responded almost immediately as scrum half Rhodri Davies collected a neat pass from Will Thomas to race in for the visitors opening dot down.

A whole 6 minutes would elapse before the next score, but when it did, it came from Pirates nippy winger Kyle Moyle who showed good footwork to score his side’s third try.

Before the hosts secured the four-try bonus point on 19 minutes through hooker Tom Cowan-Dickie, Rotherham were awarded a penalty try after further good work down the right hand side from their Welsh Wizard Rhodri Davies, who was prevented from scoring by a high tackle from Alex Day. Day received 10 minutes in the sin bin for his transgression.

On 23 minutes Titans reduced their arrears to 7 points when a neat backs move was finished off by centre Luke Peters in the far right corner, with Lee Millar striking a terrific touchline conversion.

Titans had the opportunity to draw closer moments later after their pack forced a penalty, unfortunately for Millar this time his effort just drifted across the face of the posts.

Just after the half hour mark Pirates extended their lead when fly half Laurence May tagged over a 3-pointer.

Despite half time drawing near there was still time for each side to add a further score in this frenzied first half. For the hosts Kyle Moyle cut a great line to burst through at pace for his second try, before deep into injury time Tom Williams bulldozed his way over from close range to secure the Titans with their first point of the season.

The second period was as unrelenting as the first as the glut of tries continued to flow. Within 13 minutes of the restart each side secured a further two tries; Cowan-Dickie and Nicolas De Battista crossed for the hosts, whilst Rhodri Davies demonstrated tremendous footwork and speed to cross the whitewash twice more to complete his hat-trick.

And when, with 19 minutes remaining Titans replacement hooker, Luke Cole, crashed over for a converted try, Titans trailed by just 5 points as the overworked scoreboard signalled 52-47.

However, any hopes the Titans had of a memorable win in Penzance were effectively dashed late on when referee Dean Richards awarded the hosts a penalty try, and with the final kick of a pulsating encounter, Pirates replacement Will Cargill knocked over a penalty from in front of the sticks.

Commenting afterwards Titans Andy Key reflected, “I Think today was more about our character, we’ve got this never-say-die approach and a great attitude and I think today the boys showed that. But we also know from a realistic point of view we can’t afford to let as many tries in as we did.

“So whilst the fact we can score 47 points is very good, by the same token we conceded 62 points and that’s not acceptable.

“We have been working hard on our defence for the whole of the season and there are times when I think individually we defend or tackle well, but at the moment we are struggling to pick up and understand perhaps collectively who it is we need to hit.

“That’s disappointing because there’s been a lot of time and energy spent on that in training, but I take my hat off to the boys because they didn’t at any stage say they can’t get back into the game and they were always in with a sniff; it’s just a little bit disappointing in the end that we come away not have collected the second bonus point.

“However, we have taken a step in the right direction, there’s stuff we are doing in the pack which is now paying dividends, we are opening up sides and from that perspective we can be pleased.

“We always look at our performances and it’s about trying to be proud of them. If we look after the simple things and the little things then the big performances will come.

“We got a lot of things right today, we were a bit critical over the last few weeks because we’ve been creating chances but not finishing them off. Today we’ve made those chances and we’ve finished them off and to score 7 tries in any game is a pretty good feat and to score 47 points and not win the game is a bit difficult to swallow.”

Referee: Dean Richards

Attendance: 1,241

Yellow Card: Day (Pirates)

Titans: Davies (3T), L Peters (T), Tom Williams (T), Cole (T), Penalty Try, Millar (4C), Ryan (1C).

Cornish Pirates: Moyle (2T), Cowan-Dickie (2T), Laverick (T), O’Meara (T), De Battista (T), Penalty Try, L May (7C, P), Cargill (P).

Titans: 15 Will Thomas, 14 Ben Foley (Cheshire 76), 13 Luke Peters, 12 Joe Barker, 11 Jake Henry, 10 Lee Millar (Ryan 52), 9 Rhodri Davies (Vieira 71), 1 Tom Williams (Toby Williams 50), 2 Jonny Murphy (Cole 16), 3 Matt Shields (Foster 64), 4 James Lasis (Burns 52), 5 Byron Hodge, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Tom Calladine (Capt.), 8 Dan Grange.

Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Francisco Vieira, 21 Caolan Ryan, 22 Drew Cheshire.

Cornish Pirates:  15 Toby May, 14 Alex O’Meara, 13 Pete Laverick, 12 Nicolas De Battista (Capt.), 11 Kyle Moyle, 10 Laurence May, 9 Alex Day, 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 3 Christian Judge, 4 Rupert Cooper, 5 Josh Caulfield, 6 Dan Lee, 7 Matt Bolwell, 8 Tom Lawday.

Replacements: 16 James Fish, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Tom Duncan, 19 Toby Freeman, 20 Mike Pope, 21 Will Cargill, 22 Dan Koster.

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