Rotherham Titans 17 Bristol 36: Titans suffer defeat to leaders

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THERE was a brief purple patch when Rotherham Titans sensed they might just produce a result as stunning at Leicester City’s win at Manchester City.

However, it was an all too fleeting spell and so, instead, they suffered the expected loss against Championship leaders Bristol, a ninth successive defeat.

Undoubtedly, Mark Jones’ struggling side are now certainly locked in a relegation battle with Moseley - where they head next week - and Ealing Trailfinders.

When Bristol raced into a 14-0 lead inside just nine minutes, there must have been genuine fears about Rotherham suffering a record defeat.

Former England winger Tom Varndell and centre Benjamin Mosses scored all too easily, Gavin Henson improving from both touchlines.

With Titans winger Jack Haynes already in the sin-bin, British Lion Henson slipped Mark Sorenson over, too in the 13th minute.

Fortunately, that was pulled back for a forward pass otherwise it could have gone on to be utter carnage.

Instead, despite still being down to 14 men, the hosts rallied with a catch-and-drive try from flanker Tom Calladine.

They scored again, too, with a splendid effort via winger Sean Scanlon down the left touchline after 26 minutes to trail just 14-10.

That lifted hope but Bristol openside Jack Lam barrelled over just before the break when the visitors finally reclaimed some order, Henson converting, and they quickly took control at the start of the second period with No8 Mitchell Eadie getting the first of his two tries.

Andy Robinson’s side never looked in danger from thereon in, Henson slotting a penalty to make sure, although when Rotherham centre Jordan Davies crossed in the 70th minute, the home side did valiantly push hard for a bonus point, admittedly in vain.

Rotherham Titans: Goodwin; J Hayes, L Hayes, Davies, Scanlon; Jones, Carter; Hislop (Williams 65), Harris, Tampin (Thiede 54), Holmes, Oram, Argyle, Calladine, Ryan (Cree 65).

Bristol: Wallace (Amesbury 40); Varndell, Tovey, Mosses, Lemi; Henson (Sheedy 79), Cliff (Roberts 62); O’Connell (Ford-Robinson 62), Jones (McMillan 62), Perenise, Glynn, Sorenson (Robinson 68), Koster, Lam, Eadie.

Referee: Greg McDonald.