Rotherham Titans 40
Bedford Blues 32
A splendid second half by Rotherham, during which they scored 31 points to beat the side that had topped the Championship, was one of the best by a Titans’ side in recent seasons.
If their new squad can build on this, the ambition of reaching the top four in the Championship may be a realistic one. This morale boosting result served as excellent preparation for another tough contest, on Friday at Nottingham.
In a magnificent recovery that no one could ever have imagined after a poor first half which saw Bedford leading by 22-9, Rotherham fought back to score four tries, two by the Tongan giant Semisi Taulava, crashing over on 53 and 76 minutes.
It was a tremendous team effort, characterised by relentless aggression and total commitment by the forwards.
Earlier, the fight-back was launched by centre Palepoi Nonu whose try on 42 minutes compensated for his yellow card, the fifth against a Titan in only four Championship matches; during Nonu’s absence Bedford took control with 14 points. In a thrilling climax, Rotherham, now leading by just one point, 33-32, then scored a fourth try; winger Shane Monahan, dashing 30 metres to touch down.
This victory would not have been possible without the accurate goal kicking of Rotherham’s number 10, Garry Law.
Not only did the Scotsman convert all his team’s tries, he also put over, again some from difficult angles, four penalties to finish with a match winning contribution of 20 points.
Bedford’s coach Mike Rayer, admitted: “What a fantastic goal kicker Law is.”
As Rotherham’s new squad begins to gel, expect number eight Taulava, signed from Birmingham and Solihull, to grow in stature and establish himself as one of the most dangerous players in the Championship. “This win shows how good we can be,” Taulava said. “This is a stepping stone, we want to be the best, but there is still a long way to go. I finished off the work of the guys in front of me. This victory shows the determination of everyone and it shows what we are building here. But we will keep our feet on the ground and now think of Nottingham.”
Titans: Hamilton, Monahan, Godfrey, Nonu, Homan, Law, Rhodes, Kilbane, Stagg, O’Donnell, Patrick, Maddison, Copeland, Dougall, Taulava.
Reps: Baines, Hooper, Harris, Griffiths, Dickinson, Williams, Hodgson.
Tries: Taulava 2, Nonu, Monahan. Conversions: Law 4.
Penalties: Law 4. Attendance: 1,487.