A NEW chapter in Rotherham’s history - without controversial coach Andre Bester - opened remarkably on a successful note, and considering the background of turmoil at the club in the week before the South Yorkshire derby, the Titans’ win by five tries to three was an achievement to relish for their supporters.
The team showed immense character, a quality which was immediately praised after Rotherham’s triumph over Doncaster at Clifton Lane by directors Martin Jenkinson and Nick Cragg.
The next few days promise to be as important as any in the club’s recent history.
The aim is that a successor to Bester will be appointed in time to prepare the side for this Sunday’s Championship match at Cornish Pirates.
The recruitment of the right man is essential for the Titans’ immediate future and their ambition to regain their place in the Premiership.
The clear favourite appears to be Alex Codling, the former Barking, London Welsh and London Scottish coach.
The other priority facing the club is the urgent need to tackle the serious injury crisis which meant that Rotherham had only 22 fit players for the derby.
It is understood that contact with clubs in the Midlands has been made with a view to signing three or four forwards who are required at Clifton Lane so that the club remain competitive in the Championship and the British and Irish Cup.
Rotherham’s win, the fourth in eight league games, earned a maximum of five points which kept them in mid-table; during a forceful second half effort, which built on the earlier try by hooker Ted Stagg, Rotherham scored four more tries, two by winger Peter Homan and one each for the impressive Mulchrone brothers, Charlie and Fergus, both touching down for the first time in the league.
In a contest which was closer than the score suggested, Doncaster trailed 13-8 at the interval and then recovered to 18-15, but spoiled their chances by losing possession.
Worryingly for them, Doncaster drop to bottom place in the Championship whereas Rotherham can look ahead confidently under a new coach.
“After a difficult week, I am really proud of the boys who did not let things affect them. I can’t respect them enough,” said temporary Head Coach Lee Blackett.
Doncaster’s competitive forwards caused several anxious moments for Rotherham and by letting in three tries, it showed that lineout weaknesses have to be resolved.
But Brett Davey, Doncaster’s coach, was less than pleased: “We made mistakes at key moments and the ball was ripped off us in contact too often.
“We played quite well in patches, but there were passages when we didn’t concentrate long enough.
“It was most frustrating and it took us too long to understand how we needed to play.”
Titans: F.Mulchrone, Homan, Blackett, Nonu, Doneghan, Law, C.Mulchrone, Kilbane, Stagg, Denman, Freeman, Sanderson, Ellyatt, Kirwan, Rieder. Reps: Cahill, Gadd, Davies, Dacres, Gill, Styles, Williams.
Tries: Homan 2, Stagg, C.Mulchrone, F.Mulchrone.
Conversions: Law 2.
Penalties: Law 3.
Knights: Lennard, Flockhart, Mama, Tincknell, Lewis, Luke, Hallam, Davies, Buckley, McGovern, Challinor, Parsons, Boyde, Rawling, Planchant. Reps: Bermanas, Francis, Hoy, Pailor, Munro, Simpson, Sowrey.
Tries: Rawling 2, Lewis.
Referee: Steve Lee.