Rotherham Titans – 23/12/2017

19Rotherham Titans

36Doncaster Knights

2:00 pm · December 23, 2017

The Knights recorded a third successive win and made it home and away South Yorkshire derby triumphs against a committed Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane.

The Knights claimed all five points as they turned a 16-14 half time deficit into a 19-36 bonus point win with a fine second half display

The weather was kind, considering the time of year, and both sides looked lively taking advantage of the conditions to put width and pace into their early attacks.

The Knights were quicker out of the blocks and it looked as if they were going to score after just five minutes of play. Unfortunately, during a deep driving lineout possession was spilled when it seemed as if all that was left to do was ground the ball for a try.

Donny maintained the pressure despite the error and got over for the game’s opening score shortly after.

Some smart running lines opened up a hole for Simon Humberstone to attack before offloading Curtis Wilson. The winger made his way deep into the home half before being brought down and from there the Knights executed well. A handful of phases preceded a well timed running line from Will Owen to score against his former side.

The Titans response was swift and impressive, applying pressure almost immediately following the restart. Speedy, organized defence forced a pressure kick out of scrum half Michael Heaney who found touch just outside the Donny 22m.

The Titans used the field position well and Jake Henry cut off his wing with a fine carry to put the Knights on the back foot. From there possession went wide quickly and Ben Foley, brother to Charlie, pulled off a nice bit of handling under pressure to release Drew Cheshire who crossed untouched.

The try really put the wind in the hosts sails and they enjoyed a fifteen-minute period of ascendancy.

Several good attacks made inroads into Donny territory although it has to be said the Knights hamstrung themselves with repeated penalty mistakes. Fly half Caolan Ryan motioned towards the posts seemingly with every penalty that went his sides way, not surprising as he slotted three first half penalties including one long range attempt from on the half way line.

Ryan’s success with the boot meant the Knights had fallen nine points behind and the home crowd became increasingly excitable. Donny needed a strong finish to the half and they delivered.

A penalty against the hosts well very well struck to touch by Humberstone before the Titans pack illegally dropped a driving Doncaster line out. Humberstone put his forwards in the corner and from their they produced the goods, a solid driving lineout rumbled over the line where Ben Hunter emerged from the bodies in possession.

Humberstone added the extras to make the score 16-14 and shortly after the half time whistle was blown.

The Knights looked bright immediately following the restart and had it not been for a couple of unsuccessful lineouts might have quickly had a further try. However, consecutive deep shots were disrupted and the Titans cleared their lines.

Points did come for the Knights as Humberstone hit his first of four successful second half penalties to briefly kick Donny ahead. Ryan cancelled it out moments later however, converting a penalty won by the home pack at the scrum, 19-27.

A scrappy period of play followed the penalty exchange with both sides just not quite clicking and neither set piece really dominating.

This changed on fifty-five minutes however when Michael Heaney finished a nice attacking sequence from a deep line out and from then on the Knights began to pull away and looked the better side.

Titans pressure was nullified with aggressive, coherent defence and the Knights raids seemed to cause more and more problems as the clock ticked on.

Credit must go to the Titans defence which repelled goal line drives time and time again but all to often it meant they found themselves on the wrong side of the ref’s whistle. Three successful Humberstone penalties between minute 65 and 72 put the game beyond Rotherham, meaning that pride and bonus points was all that was left to play for in the dying stages.

As the eighty-minute mark crept closer and closer it didn’t seem as if the Knights would get the all-important fourth score but with one final rally they did just that.

Back to back penalties moved Donny into threatening field position and, following a well-secured line out, they set about the Titans line. Will Owen produced another trademark, battering run deep into the 22m before play was spun to the corner. Curtis Wilson took position and, with little room and defenders around him, showed extraordinary strength to battle over and score on the final whistle.

Derby wins always mean a little bit more and after today the Knights go into another derby fixture but do so with the confidence of three wins in a row, hoping to end the year on a high.

Rotherham Titans; 15) Will Thomas, 14) Ben Foley, 13) Drew Cheshire (Paolo Odogwa 61’), 12) Joe Barker, 11) Jake Henry, 10) Caolan Ryan, 9) Rhodri Davies, 1) Toby Williams (Tom Williams 71’), 2) Jonny Murphy (Luke Cole 61’), 3) Sam Nixon (Brandon Palmer 68’), 4) Matt Postlethwaite (Tom Burns 72’), 5) Rob Louw, 6) Adam Peters, 7) Charlie Maddison, 8) Tom Calladine © (Tom Burns).

Replacements; 16) Luke Cole, 17) Tom Williams, 18) Brandon Palmer, 19) Dan Granger, 20) Tom Burns, 21) Lee Millar, 22) Paolo Odogwa.

Tries; Cheshire 17’

Con; Ryan 17’

Pens; Ryan 19’, 26, 31’ 51’

Knights XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Curtis Wilson, 13) Mat Clark (Charlie Foley 78’), 12) Will Owen, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Simon Humberstone, 9) Michael Heaney (Tom James 75’), 1) Richard List (Jack Bergmanas 53’), 2) Ben Hunter (David Nelson 60’), 3) Colin Quigley (Joe Sproston 68’), 4) Matt Challinor (Morgan Eames 60’, 5) Nick Civetta, 6) Jack Ram, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Alex Shaw (Adam Batt 78’) 

Replacements; 16) David Nelson, 17) Jack Bergmanas, 18) Joe Sproston, 19) Morgan Eames, 18) Adam Batt, 21) Tom James, 22) Charlie Foley.

Tries; Owen 10’, Hunter 34’, Heaney 55’, Wilson 80’

Con; Humberstone 10’, 34’,

Pens; Humberstone 48’, 65’, 69’, 72’

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Attendance: 1,007

Our Partners