Rotherham Titans’ chances of reaching the knockout stages in the British and Irish Cup look to be over after Saturday’s 45-10 defeat at home to Ealing Trailfinders in the third round of matches.
They have away trips to Ealing and Connacht to come with a home tie against Richmond sandwiched in between.
Defeat came despite a fine first-half effort which saw them go in level 10-0 at the break. Indeed, they took the lead after just five minutes through outside centre Drew Cheshire, pictured.
His line-breaking try was well worked, initially through the forwards and then quick hands through the backs allowed Cheshire to scythe through the Ealing defence to score a fine try which Lee Millar converted. Miller completed the home scoring with a penalty at the end of the half.
But their hopes were dashed when the visitors scored four tries in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Titans coach Andy Key said: “The boys were outstanding in the first half; unfortunately we came up against a better and more resilient side in the second.
“It was a difficult second 40 minutes for us; we said at half time we needed to shore-up our inside defence and make sure we didn’t allow them as much space. Going in 10-10 at the break, having had a reasonable amount of the game and with the boys showing good character in the way they kept their shape was very pleasing.
“We knew a good side like Ealing would come back at us in the second half, we tried to work as hard as we could to try and retain the ball, but I think that’s where we slipped up a little bit. We didn’t quite control the ball as well as we had in the first half and they got more possession and more front foot ball.
“There were a couple of guys really stood out. Jonny Murphy was outstanding in all departments, his work rate around the field was tireless in everything he did and Charlie Maddison led from the front as he normally does.”
* Titans: Foley, Cooke, Cheshire, Thomas, Hamilton (Henry ht), Millar, Vieira, Tom Williams (Toby Williams 60), Murphy, Palmer (Foster 64), Louw, Lasis (Borrowdale 32, Peters 47), Grange, Maddison (capt), Burns (Calladine 67).