PLYMOUTH ALBION COULDN’T STOP THE TITANS WINNING STREAK AT CLIFTON LANE LOSING 25 -14.
It’s the fifth consecutive win for newly relegated Rotherham Titans and although Albion put up a good fight they were unable to break the winning streak.
The victory for Rotherham on a bitterly cold afternoon at Clifton Lane moves them into second spot in the league behind Old Elthamians, but with 21 games remaining everything is up for grabs for a number of teams in this most unpredictable of divisions.
The game saw Rotherham nose themselves ahead on 10 minutes when scrum half Alex Dolly successfully knocked over a penalty from distance, after Albion had infringed at a line out on their 10-metre line.
However, Albion responded well to falling behind and within 4 minutes went ahead themselves when Captain Herbie Stupple dotted down from a catch and drive close to the Titans line. Matt Shepherd added the extras to give Albion a 7-3 advantage.
The game settled and both sides enjoyed periods of possession with each creating opportunities and half chances. However, at this stage in the contest resilient and tenacious defending ensured no line was breached.
On the half hour mark that changed when the Titans scrum powered up to the Albion line before their number 8, Seb Nagle-Taylor picked up from the base to bulldoze his way over for Rotherham’s first try of the game and they nailed the conversion from out wide to edge 10-7 ahead.
The second half saw Albion come out attacking, but after a confident series of plays on Rotherham’s line Albion conceded a penalty giving Titans possession and as a result increased their lead on 47 minutes when Henry Roberts ran in and scored a try in the corner.
Play continued in a fairly evenly matched game, but there was 5-minutes stoppage on 50 minutes when Dan Mugford went off after an awkward fall from a tackle.
Then just after the restart Albion were punished again when Harry Dunne charged in to score Rotherham’s third try, the score now standing at 20-7.
As the game drew towards its close there was late drama in stoppage time. Four minutes into added time Albion managed a sustained period of forward pressure on the Titans line and the ball came out to winger Jon Dawe who showed good strength to power over. Matt Shepherd’s conversion made it a 6-point game.
From being in a relatively comfortable position for most of the second period, a Titans victory which seemed so certain appeared to be under threat.
However, in the final play of the game Rotherham sealed the win with a bonus point try. From turnover ball inside the Albion half the ball arrived with Barker who threw a long pass out to Harry Dunne who jinked back inside to score to give the home side their fifth win in a row.
Referee: Joe James
Yellow Card: None
Titans: Dunne (2T), Nagle-Taylor (T), Roberts (T), Dolly (1C, 1P)
Plymouth Albion: Stupple (T), Dawe (T), Shepherd (2C)
Titans: 15 Callum Irvine, 14 Henry Roberts, 13 Harry Dunne, 12 Ellis Abrahams, 11 Connor Field, 10 Joe Barker, 9 Alex Dolly (Dever 59), 1 Dan Richardson (Bergmanas 75), 2 Ali Thomson, 3 Rikki Stout (Dennis 71), 4 Tom Cotterill (Keys 66), 5 Jamie Ure, 6 Luis Ball, 7 Zak Poole (Smith-Wano 75), 8 Seb Nagle-Taylor (Capt.).
Replacements: 16 Jack Bergmanas, 17 Will Dennis, 18 Conor Keys, 19 Eru Smith-Wano, 20 Connor Dever.
Plymouth Albion: 15 Matt Shepherd, 14 Jon Dawe, 13 Teegan Minkley, 12 Connor Eastgate, 11 Jack Arnott, 10 Dan Mugford (Squire 57), 9 James Tait (Setter 66), 1 Will Norton (Chapman 75), 2 Jamie Salter (McGregor 66), 3 Dan Pullinger, 4 Dan Swain (Westlake 59), 5 Kieran Westlake (Pearson 57), 6 Rusi Tuima, 7 George Mills, 8 Herbie Stupple (Capt.).
Replacements: 16 Davy McGregor, 17 Lewis Pearson, 18 Dean Squire, 19 Luke Chapman, 20 Cameron Setter.