Rotherham Titans 12
Rotherham’s players will be sitting uncomfortably as they watch the match video of this unforeseen and unexpected defeat from a match winning position at Clifton Lane.
Rotherham, leading 12-8 from the 60th minute to the 73rd, collapsed spectacularly as Nottingham scored 24 points in only eight minutes.
The turning point was the referee’s decision to show a yellow card against Rotherham’s replacement scrum half Charlie Mulchrone.
From then on, disaster struck. Nottingham amazingly scored three converted tries on 74, 77 and 79 minutes and then to add to Rotherham’s misery, the Meadow Lane club struck a second penalty on 82 minutes.
No one could believe the spree which brought about the Titans’ seventh defeat in 13 Championship games.
Their defence, which had until the deluge been effective overall, could not cope with speed and skill of Nottingham’s backs, and centre Tim Streather in particular who scored, almost unopposed, a thrilling try from 50 metres on 79 minutes.
Reduced to 14 men at such an important stage, the sin-binning of Charlie Mulchrone, who has made such a good impression in his first Championship season, made a huge difference.
Nevertheless, Rotherham’s players should be concerned that they conceded two tries which could have been stopped on 74 and 79 minutes.
To lose by 20 points a game in which they were strongly placed raises questions about how the team’s defence will deal with similar sides who attack with genuine pace during the rest of the campaign.
Rotherham’s full back Garry Law once again kicked expertly and his penalties on 17, 27, 46 and 60 minutes put his team in, potentially, a match winning position.
The forwards, too, such as Toby Freeman, Alex Rieder, Carl Kirwan and Latu Makaafi, fought hard and won sufficient ball, but Nottingham defended well to prevent their line being crossed.
So as the game entered its final and deciding point, Rotherham were handily placed; but while Nottingham had been restricted to one try before the blitz, the feeling lingered they were capable of so much more..and so it
As he prepares for this Saturday’s game at Plymouth in the British and Irish Cup coach Alex Codling will be anxiously waiting to see the report on Irish centre Eamonn Sheridan who suffered a nasty bang on the head.
Rotherham Titans: Law, F Mulchrone, Sheridan, Blackett, Homan, McKinney, Williams, Gadd, Stagg, Davies, Freeman, Thomas, Makaafi, Kirwan, Rieder. Reps: Hannan, Kilbane, Denman, Dacres, Baines, Howard, C Mulchrone.
Penalties: Law 4.
Referee: Andy Gregory