Rotherham Titans 34 Bedford Blues 19: Worry over Clifton Lane lease spoils Titans’ day

Sean Scanlon opens the scoring for the Titans  in the first minute
Sean Scanlon opens the scoring for the Titans in the first minute
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Rotherham Titans’ return to winning ways was marred by a fresh controversy that endangers their future.

The owners of their Clifton Lane ground, The Rotherham Athletic Company, have issued terms of a new lease that applies from the end of September.

But Titans directors insist that if the conditions were met by the club, professional rugby at Championship level would not be financially viable in the town.

Senior officials argue that restrictions placed by the proposed new lease would seriously damage the club and force it to leave its traditional home where rugby has been played for almost 80 years.

Titans say they are hoping that a satisfactory agreement can be reached because they would be reluctant to move to another ground.

Senior officials are also stressing they are ready to engage in talks with the Athletic Company and their legal representatives.

But unless, a deal can be put in place the club will be forced to consider alternative venues.

One strong possibility would definitely be Abbeydale, home of Sheffield RUFC.

The ground successfully staged Rotherham’s promotion play-off game against Bristol in the spring, and with alternatives in Rotherham few and far between, switching to Sheffield would need to be discussed.

It is also thought that if the Titans moved to Abbeydale, the probability of much needed extra sponsorship would turn into reality, and it is also understood that a major international bank would back the Titans if they moved to Sheffield.

The uncertain future of the club at Clifton Lane will be debated by anxious supporters tomorrow evening at their weekly Titans Tuesday event at the clubhouse.

Controversial events off the field did not prevent the team producing an impressive display in the Championship; Rotherham’s win by five tries to three stopped the rot of consecutive defeats in the league at home.

Titans, fifth in the table, can still finish in the top four and again secure a place in the promotion play-offs.

Moving the ball stylishly, tries in the first half from hooker Tom Cruse, winger Sean Scanlon and second row forward and skipper Tom Homes set up at half time lead of 22-19 in a close contest.

Solid defence by Rotherham and a powerful performance from their pack then created two more tries in the second half on 55 and 76 minutes for flanker Jack Preece and centre Jack Roberts.

Although Rotherham full back Lloyd Hayes, received a yellow card, overall the discipline was much better during a much improved effort in which fly half Tom Barrett, on his full Championship debut, played confidently and kicked three conversions and a penalty.