Rotherham enjoyed one of their great triumphs in the club’s recent history by winning the toughest of Yorkshire derbies at Headingley last night.
The remarkable victory in the Championship, Rotherham’s fourth this season in six matches in the league, was the product of outstanding defence and amazing character which shone from start to finish.
The clash between the two Yorkshire rivals was settled not just be defence and effective tackling, but also by two penalties in each half.
Centre Jordan Davies struck a thrilling kick from the half way line to give the Titans the lead after 17 minutes and then after just eight minutes into the second period, fly half James McKinney, who had a fine game in which his tactical kicking excelled, hit a simple penalty following Rotherham pressure towards the Yorkshire Carnegie line.
Arguably the turning point in the match came late in the first half when winger Curtis Wilson stopped a certain try by Carnegie centre Jon Clarke who was through and only a yard from the line.
But a last second ankle tap tackle stopped Clarke in his tracks allowing Rotherham to survive and cling to a narrow lead.
The Titans started the second half, leading 3-0, but were down to 14 men only following a yellow card against Davies, but they withstood this handicap, carried on defending solidly and when Carnegie attempted to attack, they were forced into making mistakes which delayed any progress.
The Rotherham pack in which forwards Tom Cruse, Toby Williams and Alex Rieder stood out, but they were by no means alone, contained any threats and when their line was under attack kept out Carnegie’s assaults.
One Rotherham player who grabbed his chance to impress was centre Joel Gill who took over from Jack Roberts after his move to Leicester Tigers.
Gill tackled non-stop and played a major role in Rotherham’s first win at Headingley since the spring of 2007.
This win moves Rotherham up one place in the Championship table to fourth on 18 points.