Cornish Pirates 53
Rotherham Titans 21
Rotherham’s directors are expected to announce the appointment of a new coach to succeed Andre Bester later this week, and on the evidence seen in Penzance, where the Titans were thrashed by eight tries to two, the sooner the better.
Centre Lee Blackett, who has done a fine job steadying the ship following the departure of Bester, cannot be expected to take on too many burdens,which is why a new coach must be in place well before the next Championship game against Leeds at Clifton Lane in a fortnight.
Titans fell behind by 22-9 at the interval after Pirates controlled possession and territory, but no one could have predicted that Rotherham would then go on and conceded another five in the second half during which their defence crumbled.
After a weak first half in which they were kept in the contest to some extent by the goal kicking of fly half Garry Law, who dropped two goals in the first minute and then in the 27th, and a penalty Titans did produce a recovery with the forwards at last showing some fight and purpose.
Replacement hooker Ted Stagg, who has the knack of scoring tries this season, popped up to add two more on 52 and 65 minutes.
Rotherham were being beaten comfortably and were going to lose, but at least the scoreline of 36-21 looked fairly respectable.
However, the improvement was not to last and the Rotherham defence was too brittle to withstand the speed and the power of Pirates’ counter-attacks.
Conceding tries on 47,60,70,80 and 82 minutes, Rotherham revealed precisely why a new coach must be named quickly and one who can work with Blackett to stiffen the defence and one who can build on the skill of the pack which Bester coached so expertly.
Rotherham should have scored a third try late in the second half, but forward Toby Freeman stepped into touch.
Backs Eamonn Sheridan and James McKinney should be fit again for the Leeds game in which Rotherham can be expected to show much more force and attacking instinct than was seen at Penzance.
Meanwhile, officials and players at Clifton Lane are delighted and proud that hooker Dan Baines has been picked for the Championship squad for this Saturday’s representative game against the New Zealand Maoris at Doncaster. The game at Castle Park kicks off at 12.05.
Titans: F Mulchrone, Homan, Blackett, Gill, Doneghan, Law, C Mulchrone, Cahill, Baines, Davies, Freeman, Sanderson, Rieder,Ellyatt,Kirwan. Reps: Stagg, Gadd, Denman, Dacres, Taylor, Styles, Williams.
Scorers: Tries: Stagg 2.Conversion:Law.Penalty: Law. Drop goals: Law 2.