London Scottish 32 Rotherham Titans 23: New-look Titans lack guile to match Scottish

Lee Blackett
Lee Blackett
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ROTHERHAM TITANS were on the recieving end of a five tries to one scoreline – but came within a whisker of taking a deserved bonus point back to Clifton Lane.

Lee Blackett’s side paid the penalty for not having enough muscle or guile to combat Scottish’s meaty rolling maul, which brought three decisive scores either side of half-time.

Blackett said: “We knew what they were going to throw at us but we still couldn’t defend it.”

But there were plenty of positives for Blackett’s side. Titans looked good with the ball in hand and frequently had Scottish on the back foot, especially in a first half which saw them twice lead before the hosts punished them.

After James McKinney kicked them into a 6-3 lead, the Exiles’ Peter Lydon replying, Scottish snatched the first try from their first foray into Rotherham’s 22, when from a penalty to touch, and a catch and drive, Mark Bright was trundled over, Lydon converting. When McKinney goaled a minute before the break, Titans looked to be in a solid position – only for Scottish to barrel upfield, force another deep penalty and in a carbon copy of the opening try, score again through Bright.

Rotherham had the stuffing knocked out of them within 30 seconds of the restart as Lydon collected out wide and he ran 40m to score, adding his own conversion.

To their credit, Titans did whittle back the deficit with three McKinney penalties, but when they fell victim to another rolling maul on the hour, again Bright scoring to complete his hat-trick, there was no way back.

James Phillips added the fifth, crashing through from 20m to hand-off some flaky tackling, before Rotherham gave themselves a sniff of the bonus point, working their way into the home 22 for Adam Macklin, who had only been on the field for 30 seconds, to be driven over.

McKinney’s difficult conversion attempt for the bonus point agonisingly drifted wide.

London Scottish: Lydon (Millar 78); Williams, Grove, Gidlow, Mantella; Newton, Stevenson (Stuart 78); Lilley (Hallam 53), Kwasnicki (David Cherry 72), Prescott (Maidment 80), Phillips (Tuisamoa 80), Priocanin (Twomey 52), Best, Pennycock, Bright.

Rotherham Titans: Scanlon; Broadley, Roberts, Harris (Davies 67), Wilson; McKinney, White (McGaffin 60); Hislop (Williams 56), Cruse, Tampin (Macklin 78), Parker (Morris 18, Willie Ryan 71), Holmes, Birch, Preece (Freer 77), Rieder.

Referee: G Macdonald (RFU).