Rotherham’s thrashing of Bedford by eight tries to two - 42-15 - at Goldington Road, which included a thrilling hat trick by winger Curtis Wilson, was perfectly timed.
A win was required after leaving London Scottish pointless on the opening day of the new Championship season and a week before the first home game at Clifton Lane this Saturday against Plymouth, the Titans whetted their supporters’ appetite.
In addition to Wilson’s hat trick, his tries were produced on 31, 70 and 78 minutes, Rotherham’s flair and speed also delivered two tries for hooker Tom Cruse and one each for winger James Broadley, and centres Jack Roberts and Chris Harris, his first for the club.
Rotherham’s excellent victory should have been bigger, but astonishingly they missed 17 points with the boot. Fly half James McKinney-normally so accurate-failed with six conversions, Jordan Davies kicked a penalty attempt just short, and Tom Barrett also missed a conversion.
However, with four tries in each half, Rotherham’s enterprise, solid defending against Bedford’s pack and a polished performance on his full Championship debut by full back Lloyd Hayes, revealed how dangerous Rotherham can be.
“ The boys showed a great response to the Scottish result, but it must be backed up against Plymouth,” said coach Lee Blackett.
“I’m really proud. We fronted up right from the outset and worked hard from the first to the 80th minute. Hayes on his full debut showed what a good player he can be, we have belief in him and it was a tough choice as to whether Lloyd should play because Sean Scanlon (ankle) could probably have made it.”
Wilson’s speed which ruined Bedford’s defence proved he is one of the most dangerous finishers in the league.
“I was lucky to pick up a few loose balls to score. Bedford are a good team and we worked hard all week to target their weaknesses.
“We are determined to keep on improving. On an individual note, I’m pleased with my fitness and in a recent test smashed my targets,” said Wilson.
Blackett is also delighted with the efforts of his four recruits from Newcastle Falcons who are on loan-Ben Morris, Sean Robinson, Andy Davies and Chris Harris whose quality in the centre stood out at Bedford
“ Rotherham’s style of play suits my game because I like to get my hands on the ball,” explains Harris.
“We showed a massive improvement against Bedford, there was a huge focus on defence and we made our breaks and finished them off.
“Rotherham play some really good rugby, fling the ball around and make breaks. That’s our game,” added the Cumbrian.