Weekend Review - Rotherham Titans close gap on promotion rivals by beating Hull

Rotherham Titans boosted their hopes of promotion back to National One when they secured a hard-fought 20-15 victory over rivals Hull at Clifton Lane.

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A converted try and penalty in the final 10 minutes helped the Titans claw back the lead and close the gap on second-placed Hull, although the lack of a four-try bonus point means the gap to leaders Sedgley Park grew to five points.

Stand-off Richard Hayes kicked an early penalty for Rotherham, but Hill hit back with prop Tipiloma Kivalu and replacement Charlie Beech scoring tries, Simon Humberstone converting one for a 12-3 lead early in the second half.

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A lineout catch and drive led to No 8 Callum Bustin scoring the Titans’ first try which Hayes converted, but Humberstone added a penalty on 63 minutes to make it 15-10 to the visitors.

However, hooker Harry Newborn touched down on 70 minutes, and Hayes kicked both the conversion and a last-minute penalty to seal the win for Rotherham.

Behind for most of the match, Hull Ionians scored a late try to snatch a 46-43 victory at hosts Bournville.

Trailing 43-12 in the second half, a great comeback from Ionians saw them step up to sixth in the National Two table.

The home side were 24-0 ahead already before Ionians’ scrum-half Will Metcalfe scored their first try.

Then centre Joseph Metcalfe and second row Joseph Makin added tries to narrow the gap to 43-17.

Metcalfe added another after the break, while tries also went to hooker Ben Stephenson and flanker James Sanderson, while prop Chris Morton scored the late try to secure a great comeback win.

Sheffield Tigers ran out 33-31 winners after a close encounter at Loughborough Students.

Tries from full-back Greg Mellor and winger Rob Davidson helped Tigers to a 20-14 half-time lead, with stand-off Mark Ireland kicking both conversions and two penalties.

After the break, flanker Angus Hughes touched down, but Ireland’s boot did most of the damage again with the conversion and two more penalties.

Bottom of the table Harrogate had to settle for a losing bonus point as they narrowly lost 14-11 to Chester.

Replacement Matt Lansdall scored their only try, while stand-off Doherty kicked a couple of penalties to lead 11-7.

However, a converted try with 13 minutes left was enough for Chester to win it.

Wharfedale were left empty-handed after Stourbridge won 30-20 at The Avenue.

Tries from right winger Rian Hamilton and left winger Oli Cicognini, plus both conversions and two penalties from centre Tom Davidson, were not enough to stop the visitors.

A last-minute penalty kick which would’ve given Wharfedale a losing bonus point sailed wide.

Huddersfield’s scheduled game against Tynedale was postponed because of Covid in the Huddersfield squad.

In the North Premier league, Otley remain unbeaten at the top after securing a 74-5 victory over strugglers Kirkby Lonsdale.

Winger Elliott Morgan bagged a hat-trick of tries while centre Gavin Stead, right winger Finlay Dewar and wing forward Sam Waddington scored two each.

That win puts them seven points clear at the top of the table.

Meanwhile, York’s promotion ambitions suffered a dent when they were beaten 24-15 at home by Alnwick and drop to sixth in the table.

Elsewhere, Sandal had to make do with a bonus point after losing 30-48 at home against third-placed Billingham.

In North One East, Ilkley and Old Brodleians remain neck and neck at the top, tied on 33 points.

Old Brodleians were 40-32 winners over Malton and Norton, while Ilkley won 76-0 over Bradford and Bingley.