London Scottish 21 Rotherham Titans 16: Cruel luck for Titans

James McKinney was foiled by an unlucky bounce. Picture Scott Merrylees
James McKinney was foiled by an unlucky bounce. Picture Scott Merrylees

Rotherham Titans need to get a grip, sooner rather than later, if they are to make a success of the second half of the Championship season which resumes at Yorkshire Carnegie after Christmas.

The Titans played 11 games in the league, and they have still to produce the form they are capable of and play with the conviction that took them into the play-offs in the last two seasons.

Rotherham have dropped to seventh on 27 points with six wins and five defeats, so there’s much to do if they are to appear again in the top four.

They lost their second league match in succession in the cruellest of circumstances at London Scottish who should have been beaten as Rotherham deservedly led by 13-7 with little more than 10 minutes remaining.

Titans, fighting with total commitment from start to finish in a much improved performance, were in touching distance of victory thanks to outstanding defence and a try by flanker Barney Maddison and eight points from the boot of fly half James McKinney.

They led 13-7 for 20 minutes or so, and then within the space of only two minutes, the sight of victory disappeared brutally and rapidly.

On 73 minutes, they failed to deal with a counter attack that resulted in a second try for winger Drew Locke and following the conversion, Scottish seized a 14-13 lead.

But worse was to comeaminute later. Scottish couldn’t believe their luck when McKinney was beaten by a fortunate bounce of the ball which was collected by centre Robbie Fergusson who then passed to fly half Oliver Grove to score a simple try.

The conversion stretched the lead to 21-13 as the debate continued as to whether McKinney should have tried to catch the ball instead of trying to trap it.

The consensus was that the Ulsterman had made a rare error of judgement, a mistake that turned the game in favour of the bhosts.

So Rotherham, despite all their application and striving, were in danger of leaving without a losing bonus point, but on 79 minutes McKinney made amends and struck a third penalty that eventually guaranteed a point that his team deserved.

“We made some silly mistakes but we got a massive reaction from one to 15 and we played with application and spirit,” said Titans’ skipper Tom Holmes

“To lose like that was heart breaking.”

Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Rath, Hayes, Barker, Wilson, McKinney, Davies, Hislop, C.Maddison, Tampin, Holmes, Salmon, B.Maddison, Cree, Argyle.

Reps:Crane, Cromie, Thiede, Gilmour, Calladine, White, Goodwin.

Scorers: Try: B.Maddison, Conversion: McKinney, Penalties: McKinney 3.

Referee: Dean Richards.