Rotherham Titans 17
ROTHERHAM Titans lost their unbeaten home record and were defeated for the second time in the British and Irish Cup as they were made to suffer for a poor first half performance at Clifton Lane.
While the Titans came back strongly in the second half and scored two excellent tries by forwards Barney Maddison and Ben Wade to cut Nottingham’s lead to only 19-17, Rotherham had earlier failed to take other chances.
Coach Andre Bester made changes to the side which had beaten Esher at the weekend in the Championship and will have been disappointed that his reserves failed to deliver, especially in the first half.
Rotherham lacked urgency as Nottingham punished costly errors. Their full back, James Stokes, put over three penalties and, indeed, struck another two after the break on 54 and 79 minutes to ensure the Titans’ defeat.
The second half improvement showed by Rotherham came far too late and once Nottingham had gone in front by 19-3, it seemed unlikely that the Titans would be strong enough to fightback.
However, their forwards stepped up the pressure and created promising opportunities on Nottingham’s line.
Flanker Maddison, one of the few players to enhance his reputation, crashed over on 62 minutes and 10 minutes later forwards coach Wade, who had come on as a replacement, scored from a drive by the pack.
The recovery, badly needed, was built on by Rotherham’s goal kicker, Dave Marshal, as he converted Wade’s try, reducing Nottingham’s lead to only 19-17 with eight minutes of normal time remaining.
The momentum was now with the Titans and although the side was composed of players on the fringe of the first team, nevertheless, they had put themselves into a position from where the game should have been won.
But, fatally, Rotherham were penalised late in the second half, a, mistake that ultimately proved to be their downfall and killed stone dead the commendable revival.
The fifth penalty taken by Stoke stretched Nottingham’s lead to 22-17 and confirmed Rotherham’s second defeat in the competition following the loss at Leeds last month.
Rotherham have two games remaining in the British and Irish Cup against Swansea on Saturday November 12 and then at Clifton Lane against Ulster on Thursday November 17.