Match verdict: Rotherham Titans 24 Ealing 23

Tom Barrett
Tom Barrett

It would be a surprise if the sound of euphoria that erupted around Rotherham Titans’ temporary ground at the end of this match was eclipsed by anything last season.

Despite reaching the play-offs in 2014/15, the Titans had to battle against Ealing Trailfinders and it was only Tom Barrett’s final-minute three-pointer that secured a remarkable 24-23 victory.

Playing in the picturesque Phoenix Park, just down the road from Clifton Lane, the hosts failed to find their fluency versus the newly-promoted outfit.

They did have their chances, with fly-half Barrett, one of those to remain from last season, awry from the tee.

In total, the stand-off missed three penalties and a conversion in the first half, mistakes that epitomised their display in the opening period.

Ealing pounced on the home side’s uncertainty from the kick-off, setting up camp in the opposition half and earning a three-point opportunity, which Alex Davies duly kicked.

Mark Jones’ men responded through Barrett’s drop-goal before a well-worked lineout move ended in Tom Holmes crossing the whitewash.

By that point, Titans had ascertained a certain amount of control, but they failed to maintain their dominance and, following some relentless Trailfinders’ pressure, No 8 Chris York proved unstoppable from close range.

Rotherham then opened the second period sluggishly, conceding three more points, this time from the boot of Tristan Roberts, but they responded with their best spell of the game.

Firstly, Barrett finally found his range from the tee before an excellent attack was finished off by back-rower Tim Cree as the Titans moved 18-13 ahead.

However, Ealing replied with a fine converted try when York sent Arthur Ellis scampering over the line.

Barrett restored Rotherham’s lead but Davies’ late penalty appeared to have snatched the victory.

The home team’s fly-half had other ideas, though, and his late long-range attempt secured a dramatic 24-23 win.