In an extraordinary derby at Headingley where Rotherham Titans were slaughtered in the first half by six tries to one, Yorkshire Carnegie resisted a Titans recovery and confirmed their status as genuine candidates for the promotion play-offs in the spring, winning 56-26
Titans trailed 35-0 after just 25 minutes but hit back bravely to earn a losing bonus point with tries by prop Tom Williams in the first half and lock Oli Curry, scrum half George Tresidder and number eight Tom MacDonald in the second.
Astonishingly,given their poor display earlier when they were being thrashed 42-7 at the interval, Rotherham won the second half by 19-14.
Rotherham recovered because the pack won territory and decent ball to attack.
With his team surely heading for the play-offs, coach Bryan Redpath was highly satisfied with the result and his second win against Rotherham in the Championship this season but added: “Credit to Rotherham.They got a sniff and they made opportunities.”
Rotherham, relieved there is no relegation this season, can take some satisfaction in their fight-back in the second half.
“We played with enthusiasm and we’ve a bonus point.But I have to be disappointed because you have to play well in the first half at this level,” said coach Justin Burnell.
“Carnegie started so quickly, bad habits occurred and if you drop off tackles, you’ll get punished.”
Carnegie started sensationally scoring a thrilling try from the kick-off as Elder completed a devastating move with less than a minute gone, and if that wasn’t bad enough,Rotherham’s defence was smashed again a minute later.This time winger Taylor Prell finished a slick attack and with fly half Joe Ford converting both tries, a lead of 14-0 rapidly appeared.
A one sided contest, at this stage, grew when Carnegie’s pack created ball for right winger Jonah Holmes to cross Rotherham’s line unopposed on five minutes.
Astonishingly, the Titans were being humiliated at 21-0, and then their hopelessness deteriorated further as Carnegie grabbed a bonus point in the 10th minute with prop Lewis Boyce being driven over.
Following Ford’s fourth conversion, he kicked eightin total, Carnegie led 28-0.Thankfully, Rotherham’s forwards began to win some ball, but again the pace and power of Carnegie broke through for a fifth try.
Skipper Burrows charged ahead and then fed scrum half Alex Davies to touch down in the 24th.Now trailing 35-0, Rotherham finally opened their account.Their pack won a line out and exploiting rare possession, pushed over prop Tom Williams and with fly half Lee Millar kicking the first of three conversions, Rotherham no longer looked helpless.
Carnegie, though, increased their ruthlessness by setting up more space for Prell to score his second and with it a lead of 33 points.
Towards the end of a remarkable first half, Carnegie,42-7 in front, Rotherham’s pack gave themselves a glimpse of a second try but it vanished quickly as the referee penalised them at their scrum, but at least the second 40 minutes showed a huge improvement.
However, a defeat by eight tries to four in a Yorkshire derby is a serious set-back.
Yorkshire Carnegie: Elder, Holmes, Lucock, Casson (McColl 40), Prell, Ford, Davies, Boyce(O’Donnell 69), Nilsen, Faletau(Thraves 40), West, Smith(Myerscough 60), Mayhew,Bainbridge(Stedman 49), Burrows.
Rotherham Titans: Thomas(Walsh 52), Wilson(Foley 31), Owen, Barker, Millar, Tresidder, Tom Williams(Toby Williams 49), Madison(Graham 28), Rees(Herriott 69), Normandale(D. Oliver 59), Curry, Lawrence, Calladine, MacDonald.
Referee: Andrew Jackson.