Rotherham Titans – 11/04/2015

26Rotherham Titans

25Doncaster Knights

2:00 pm · April 11, 2015

Titans 26 Knights 25.

It was a battle of the set pieces as the Knights line out and Titans scrum provided all of the day’s six tries but it was the hosts who triumphed, 26-25, to be crowned Yorkshire Regiment Trophy Champions.

The Titans won what was a typically tense derby encounter, with the lead swapping hands several times over the 80 minutes. The Knights fought back valiantly from an ominous 11 point deficit to lead early in the second period but had to watch on as their opponents lifted the silverware for a second week running.

The game’s outcome, combined with results elsewhere, was positive for both parties. The Titans retake the coveted fourth play-off spot and the Knights are now safe from relegation but it will be the home side feeling the cheerier as they make their way home from Clifton Lane having completed a double of derby wins on the season.

In sunny but blustery conditions the hosts started brightly, aided considerably by Donny indiscipline. Having enjoyed the lion share of possession in the opening ten minutes James McKinney ensured Roth made an imprint on the scoreboard with two successful penalties.

Despite the early pressure it was Donny who touched down first. Following a scrum penalty the Knights were able to establish a solid driving maul, something highlighted in Lee Blackett’s programme notes, and with a little help from the backs the pack crashed over. Former Titans favourite and Knights Club Captain Matt Challinor awarded the score.

The hosts reacted fiercely to the try and registered ten unanswered points in the games next fifteen minutes.

Firstly, McKinney converted following a scrum penalty and then the Titans looked to seek advantage through the driving line out after the Knights gave away in penalty deep in their own 22m when kicking the ball clear would seem to have made more sense.

The Roth pack drove quickly but it seemed as if Donny had just about stopped them but referee Andrew Small ran under the sticks for a penalty try and yellow carded Colin Quigley for bringing down the maul.

The closing stages of the first half belonged to the Knights; they patiently edged their way into the Roth half, with greater care for possession than had been shown up to that point. Having won awarded penalty advantage Brad Field tried a delicate grubber kick towards Tyson Lewis, the attempt was unsuccessful and Roberts put the penalty to the corner. There was an air of inevitability as the Knights crashed over, this time hooker Ben Hunter got the score and Dougie Flockhart added the extras.

Donny were not done and added a third try before the interval, back to fifteen men they received another boost as the Rotherham loose head Robin Hislop was yellow carded for a professional foul at a ruck. Roberts struck the penalty to touch and from the Titans twenty-two the Knights packed marched through their Roth counterparts to get over the line, this time skipper Hills touching down. Dougie could not add the extras but the Knights went in to the changing rooms with a one-point lead.

The Knights secured a four-try bonus points almost immediately after the restart with, you guessed it, a try from a driving lineout and it was Hills who got over again. Flockhart put the conversion wide but the Knights now held a six-point lead.

Rotherham almost fashioned an immediate response and only some poor execution, twinned with desperate defence, prevented an early second half score. Twice the Titans gave away free kicks for accidental offside having got to within a metre of the Knights line. Donny continued to protect their line but were coming under increased pressure at the scrum and just after the hour mark referee Small had enough and awarded a second penalty try of the day to Rotherham. Former Knights Tom Barrett converted to put the hosts ahead by a point.

Ollie Stedman created a fine chance shortly after as he carried powerfully and broke through the home defences. With the line beckoning the number eight lost control of the ball and Rotherham recovered.

The game was finely poised entering the closing stages and both coaches looked to seek advantage from their bench. The Knights seemed to find joy through their pack and carrying in the tight where as Rotherham looked dangerous when they managed to put some width on the ball.

The next score of the game came with just over ten minutes left to play, a well-struck Dougie Flockhart penalty from his own half meant the Knights lead 23-25 but Barrett cancelled it out almost immediately, 26-25. The replacement fly-half tried an audacious drop goal moments later but the prevalent wind took hold and it fell wide.

The Knights tried to mount a late charge but when a pass from Ume Fosita to WillGriff John was judged forward the home side put the ball to touch to end the game.

It was a creditable performance from the Knights but unfortunately they could not hold on and fell to a sixth straight defeat to their derby rivals.

Match Statistics

Titans: 15 Sean Scanlon (Capt.), 14 Michael Keating, 13 Lloyd Hayes, 12 Jordan Davies, 11 Curtis Wilson, 10 James McKinney (Tom Barrett 28’), 9 Dan White, 1 Robin Hislop (Toby Williams 65’), 2 Tom Dunn (Tom Cruse 43’), 3 Mark Tampin (Lewis Thiede 60’), 4 Ben Thomas (Perry Parker 42’), 5 Barney Maddison, 6 Max Argyle (Ali Birch 62’), 7 Jack Preece, 8 Alex Rieder.

Replacements: 16 Tom Cruse, 17 Toby Williams, 18 Lewis Thiede, 19 Perry Parker, 20 Ali Birch, 21 Tom Barrett, 22 Mark Cooke.

Tries; Penalty 26’, 60’

Conv; Hayes 27’, Barrett 60’

Pens; McKinney 2’, 5’, 17’ Barrett 70’

Sin Bin; Hislop 37’

Knights: 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) George Catchpole, 12) Mat Clark, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Paul Roberts (Ume Fosita 70’), 9) Brad Field (Bruno Bravo 70’), 1) Richard List (Jack Bergmanas 70’), 2) Ben Hunter (Harry Thacker 54’), 3) Colin Quigley (WillGriff John 60’), 4) Tyler Hotson, 5) Jon Phelan (Will Foden 65’), 6) Matt Challinor, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Ollie Stedman.

Replacement; 16) Jack Bergmanas, 17) WillGriff John, 18) Will Foden, 19) Harry Thacker, 20) Ume Fosita, 21) Bevon Armitage 22) Bruno Bravo

Tries; Challinor 13’, Hunter 35’, Hills 39, 42’

Conv; Flockhart 36’

Pens; Flockhart 68’

Sin bin; Quigley 27’

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