Bedford 17 Rotherham 16: New-look Titans edged out but positives for Burnell

Rotherham Titans head coach Justin Burnell.Rotherham Titans head coach Justin Burnell.
Rotherham Titans head coach Justin Burnell.
ROTHERHAM Titans were agonisingly beaten by a point in a Championship thriller at Bedford with coach Justin Burnell saying: 'It was a great effort '“ but we should have had the win.'

With five new players signed from the Gloucester academy in their squad, Titans made the home side fight all the way in a battle that went right to the wire.

The Clifton Lane side led early on when Will Robinson kicked a penalty and, despite Jake Sharp levelling for the hosts, Jack Hayes then pounced on a defensive mistake to score the opening try. Robinson goaled to make it 10-3.

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But the Blues, second bottom before the game, hit back when ironically, Hayes failed to mop up a kick through which allowed Dean Adamson in to score, Sharp again squaring it.

The hosts went in front just before the half hour when Titans were caught napping at a line out and hooker Jake Fields collected a short return pass to scoot over the whitewash. Sharp’s conversion made it 17-13 at the break, Robinson adding a 33rd minute penalty, although Rotherham went close as lively full-back Will Goodwin scythed his way through the home cover from inside his own half, only to be hauled down just metres from the line.

In the second half, Titans struggled to make headway in difficult conditions, Robinson adding his third penalty five minutes in.

After that there was little action in either 22 with the defences on top, Bedford going closest when both Tom Whiteley and Pat Tapley made drilling runs but were hauled down short.

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Burnell said: “It was a disappointment that we lost but we were glad to come away with a bonus.

“I thought the new boys slotted in well so that’s a big positive and we look forward to seeing how they develop in the squad.”

Bedford: Le Bourgeois; Tapley, Farrell, Dodge, Adamson, Sharp, James; Culverhouse, Fields, Spelman, Howard, Taylor, Blanchet, Buggea, Adams. Replacements: Edson, Thompson-Stringer, Carrick-Smith, Judge, Hill, Whiteley, Dorrian.

Rotherham: Goodwin; Thomas, Hudson, Owen, Hayes; Robinson, Dudman; Tom Williams, Graham, Herriott, Normandale, Hicks, Clarke, Grance, MacDonald. Replacements: Maddison, Toby Williams, McNulty, Batley, Sanderson, Tressider, Evans.

Referee: Greg McDonald (RFU).