Outstanding defence enabled Rotherham Titans to leave the South West with four precious points from their second Championship win of the new season.
Rotherham showed outstanding character to survive several late assaults on their line as the Pirates fought back from being 13-0 down at half time after Titans dominated the first half when centre Jordan Davies scored a thrilling try and fly half Will Goodwin kicked a conversion and a penalty.
Davies also kicked a long- range penalty as the Titans took control before the Pirates recovered strongly after the break to score 24 points, three converted tries and a penalty.
Pirates scored tries on 57, 61 and 79 minutes and it seemed that their constant pressure would deny Rotherham their third consecutive win at the Mennaye Field.
However Titans battled right to the end as their line was raided repeatedly.
The pack rose magnificently to the challenge to prevent Pirates breaking through again, and if they can repeat this display in the derby at Clifton Lane on Saturday, Rotherham may well repeat last season’s two league wins over Doncaster.
Rotherham had set up this splendid victory by composed effort in the first hour; after a good start following the penalties by Goodwin and Davies, the pack, in which Barney Maddison and flanker Max Argyle shone, created an opportunity for the tall Rotherham centre to score under the posts on 26 minutes.
At the interval the Titans led 13-0 which they then stretched to 16-3 as Goodwin, on his full Championship debut, put over his second penalty.
On 49 minutes new centre Joe Barker shot through the Pirates’ defence and with Goodwin converting, they had a comfortable lead of 23-3.
Pirates, though, revived powerfully and gradually slashed Titans’ advantage. The home side’s replacements made a big difference and Rotherham were grateful as Goodwin added his third penalty to finish with 13 points on his league debut.
Goodwin, playing at a much lower standard for Chester last season, coped admirably in a game of such high pressure.
Pirates’ three second half tries increased their score from 13-3 to 23-10 and then to 27-17 and threateningly to 26-24 just before injury time.
Although Rotherham repelled one scrum on their line they couldn’t prevent Pirates scoring a third converted try, but deep into added time, they regained possession, kept it and went on to retain the narrowest of leads providing a morale boosting win for new coach Mark Jones.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Hayes, Davies, Barker, Wilson, Goodwin, White, Williams,C. Maddison, Tampin, Oram, B.Maddison, Argyle, Birch, Cree. Replacements: Harris, Hislop, Thiede, Holmes, Calladine, A.Davies, Owen.
Tries: Davies, Barker.Conversions:Goodwin 2.Penalties: Goodwin 3, Davies.
Referee: Luke Pearce.