Rotherham put in a disappointing performance as they went down 11-3 to Richmond on a wet and windy afternoon at the Athletic Ground.
Titans put in the graft, but a string of handling errors throughout, combined with a dysfunctional line-out led to a highly frustrating afternoon for the South Yorkshire side.
The slippery conditions restricted attempts for either side to play any free-flowing rugby and lots of kicking from both teams meant the game was not one for the purists.
In a tight, low-scoring contest, the only points in the first half came from the kicking tee inside the first 15 minutes. Following Lee Millar’s opening effort on 9 minutes, Richmond’s Rob Kirby knocked over 2 of his own shortly after.
Midway through the half Rotherham created a glorious opportunity to cross the whitewash, but unfortunately for them, the final pass was knocked on with the line beckoning. Titans will never know how important that error could have been.
The second half followed in similar fashion as both sides tried to come to terms with a greasy ball. However, on 48 minutes Richmond worked the ball nicely out wide for winger Jono Woodward to score in the right hand corner. Kirby missed his conversion by a considerable margin as the wind increased in strength.
Titans then made some changes which lifted their performance and intensity, both Tom Burns and Jake Henry in particular made good impact upon their arrival.
Late on in the game Rotherham enjoyed some good territory and possession as they pressed deep inside the host’s 22 looking for their first try. However, the home side defended with a steely passion which repeatedly kept out the Titans and their attempts to notch-up 4 wins in a row came to a disappointing end.
Speaking post-match Titans’ Nic Rouse explained, “Our line out has functioned really well for some time, but today I think some of our decision making in that area was a bit poor. That is a learning curve for some of the boys, but I thought the way they applied themselves in the second half was an improvement, which was pleasing.
“Unfortunately though, we made 24 errors in the game and gave away 11 penalties and when you do that you don’t really deserve to win a game of rugby and that was the story today.
“I think we showed we could break them down and we created some try scoring opportunities, but unfortunately we knocked the ball on when we looked to be going over in the first half.
“We were a bit too conservative in the first half at times when it was on for us around the edge; we knew they were going to be narrow and that would create opportunities for us to get around them.
“We’ve gone from playing too much to not playing enough in this game, the improvement the boys have made is still there, but I’m gutted we’ve come down here and we’ve not given the best account of ourselves.
“To be fair to Richmond they managed the game better that we did, but if we had taken the try scoring opportunity in the first half we’d have seen a massive difference.”
Referee: Greg Macdonald
Yellow Card: None
Titans: Millar (P)
Richmond: Woodward (T), Kirby (2P)
Titans: 15 Caolan Ryan, 14 Drew Cheshire (Foley 60), 13 Jamie Cooke, 12 Joe Barker (Jennings 47), 11 Will Thomas, 10 Lee Millar (Henry 69), 9 Rhodri Davies, 1 Toby Williams (Tom Williams 71), 2 Luke Cole (Murphy 47), 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Rob Louw, 5 James Lasis, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Charlie Maddison, 8 Tom Calladine (Capt.) (Burns 60).
Replacements: 16 Jonny Murphy, 17 Tom Williams, 18 Brandon Palmer, 19 Tom Burns, 20 Rory Jennings, 21 Ben Foley, 22 Jake Henry.
Richmond: 15 Rob Kirby, 14 Jono Woodward, 13 Cam Mitchell, 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Jordan Simpson-Hefft, 10 Rory Damant, 9 Jamie Gibbs (Grant 65), 1 Jeremy Cunnew, 2 Ross Grimstone (Phipps 40), 3 Joe Tarrant (Trenier 54), 4 Will Warden (Capt.) (Edwards 68), 5 Max Crawford, 6 Jake Parker, 7 Jesse Liston, 8 Chris Davies.
Replacements: 16 Jason Phipps, 17 Craig Trenier, 18 Myles Scott, 19 Rhodri Adamson, 20 James Swan, 21 Harison Edwards, 22 Callum Grant.