Rotherham Titans wing Ben Foley won’t forget his appearance in the British and Irish Cup against London Welsh at Old Deer Park in a hurry.
As early as the second minute, Foley scored a superb try which set up a strong first half performance by Titans who led 15-7 at the interval.
Rotherham’s second try on 34 minutes by flanker Dan Thomas, who ran 30 metres to score on his debut, emphasised their control and once fly half Lloyd Evans added the conversion to go with his earlier penalty, the Titans were comfortably the best side.
Then in a flash, the contest turned London Welsh’s way. In the first minute of the second half, a dump tackle by Foley on centre Joe Lewis was judged to be dangerous by the referee, Adam Leal, who showed the Rotherham winger a red card, leaving Titans with only 14 men for the last competed 39 minutes.
So it was not surprising that Welsh took a firm grip on the game and scored five tries to take advantage of their understrength opponents.
Still, Rotherham continued to compete with Evans, like Thomas on loan from Gloucester as a dual registered player, prominent in kicking three more penalties on 46, 50 and 59 minutes.
Towards the end of the second half, Rotherham had the chance to break through again but the opportunity could not be taken as they lost control of the ball near the Welsh line.
“We played all the rugby in the opening half and Ben’s tackle was not deliberate,” said skipper and centre Joe Barker.
“London Welsh’s victory was bigger than it should have been because it’s tough with only 14 men. I was happy with the way we stuck to the job when we were undermanned.
“We are improving all the time and it’s coming together gradually and there’ve been signs in the last two games against Doncaster and London Welsh how good we can be.
“Dan Thomas scored a cracking try, Lloyd Evans had another good game at 10.He controls the game well and kicks his goals and my colleague in the centre Cameron Hudson showed that he has the potential to be a really good player.”
Rotherham return to Championship action this Saturday at Clifton Lane against Cornish Pirates and are not scheduled to play in the B and I Cup again until they host Munster A in December.
Rotherham have now played two ties in the Cup, and having won one and lost one, are second in Pool 2 on four points.
Rotherham Titans: C. Foley, B.Foley, Hudson, Barker, Henry, Evans, Dudman, Tom Williams, Cole, Rees, Curry, Hicks, Batley, Thomas, MacDonald.Replacements: Maddison, Toby Williams, McNulty, Tyas, Sanderson, Tresidder, Thomas.
Scorers: Tries: B.Foley, Thomas. Conversion: Evans. Penalties: Evans 4.
Referee: Adam Leal.