Jersey 44 Rotherham Titans 27: Titans safe despite defeat

Michael Keating scored two tries for Titans in Jersey.  Picture Scott Merrylees
Michael Keating scored two tries for Titans in Jersey. Picture Scott Merrylees
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Now that their fears of relegation are over following recent Championships wins against Bedford and Nottingham, alongside Doncaster’s victory at bottom club Moseley, Rotherham Titans can step up their plans for next season.

The most important issue is to try to make sure that coach Justin Burnell agrees to stay at Clifton Lane.

Although Rotherham lost in Jersey by six tries to three, it was clear to see the progress that has been made since Burnell’s arrival in February.

Two tries by winger Michael Keating and one by prop Lewis Thiede, plus 12 points from the boot of fly half Will Robinson, genuinely frightened the Channel Islanders at St Peter who saw their 31-13 lead slashed to 34-27 as Rotherham fought back impressively.

Indeed, with only 12 minutes remaining, Rotherham had the momentum following tries on 62 and 68 minutes by Thiede and Keating who completed an outstanding move by the backs to score his second. However, chances of an improbable win disappeared as Jersey stopped the rot to score 10 points in the later stages.

Just when it seemed that Rotherham might achieve a shock win, or at least a losing bonus point, frustratingly, they flew home with nothing despite showing great character and several solid performances by individuals such as wingers Keating and Jack Hayes, half backs Andy Davies and Robinson and replacement centre Will Owen.

The pack, too, fought hard with notable contributions from Jack Preece, Barney Maddison and Toby Salmon.

Rotherham’s last home Championship match is a week on Saturday against London Scottish followed seven days later by the final contest of the season at Ealing Trailfinders.

Rotherham Titans: Goodwin, Keating, Gill, Barker, Hayes, Robinson, Davies, Williams, Preece, Tampin, Holmes, Salmon, Maddison, Birch, Ryan. Replacements: Owen, White, Cromie, Thiede, Sinclair, Redfern, Edgson.

Scorers: Tries: Keating 2, Thiede. Conversions: Robinson 3. Penalties: Robinson 2.

Referee: Michael Hudson.