Snow puts Titans out in cold at Newcastle

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ROTHERHAM Titans became the latest victim of Newcastle Falcons’ Championship charge despite a committed and physical effort.

As the visitors pulled into the Kingston Park car park two hours before kick-off they were greeted by the first snow of the winter, and although it had dissipated by kick-off the game took a fair while to warm up.

The boot of fly-half Jimmy Gopperth was where Newcastle turned for their points, but the well-funded outfit had only a 9-0 lead after 37 minutes.

Opposite number James McKinney kept them pegged back in their own half with some well-weighted punts, but the tide began to turn in the final minutes of the first half when scrum-half Rory Lawson scored the first try.

Gopperth converted, and with Titans lock Dan Sanderson sin-binned for killing a ruck, the Falcons added a second with the final play when a close-range line-out saw Scott MacLeod go over.

A wayward conversion attempt kept the interval lead to 21-0, but two tries in two minutes handed Newcastle the bonus point through ex-Roth prop Jonny Golding and winger Zach Kibirige.

As the snow returned the standard dropped, with near white-out conditions killing the game.

Newcastle Falcons: A Tait (J Hodgson, 52), Z Kibirige (J Fitzpatrick, 71), A Crockett (J Pasqualin, 76), T Tu’ipulotu, T Catterick, J Gopperth, R Lawson; J Golding, R Vickers (M Thompson, 55), O Tomaszczyk (J Hall, 72), C del Fava (S Tomes), S MacLeod, R Mayhew, W Welch (captain, C York, 37), A Hogg.

Rotherham Titans: F Mulchrone, P Homan (S Doneghan, 40), L Blackett, G Law (captain), E Sheridan, J McKinney, J Williams (C Mulchrone, 72); S Cahill (G Denman, 47), D Baines (T Stagg, 53), R Davies (J Kilbane, 47), T Freeman, D Sanderson, N Dacres, C Kirwan, A Rieder.

Referee: L Ap Geraint-Roberts.