Bedford Blues 22 Rotherham Titans 16: Lineout issues leave Codling frustrated after Bedford defeat

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A fighting performance by Rotherham at Goldington Road enabled the Titans to earn a losing bonus point against arguably the most enterprising side in the Championship.

Strong defence by Rotherham restricted Bedford to one try, but once again they conceded too many kickable penalties which gave several opportunities to Bedford’s goal kicker, full-back James Pritchard.

The Canadian international struck four penalties, and with Rotherham down to 14 men only on two occasions following yellow cards against full-back Garry Law and replacement centre Palepoi Nonu, the Titans did well to avoid a heavier defeat.

Rotherham led 9-6 at the interval after two penalties by Law and fly-half James McKinney, but as the second half developed, Bedford began to dominate and with winger James Stephenson scoring the Blues then moved into a 14-9 lead.

Two more penalties from Pritchard increased Bedford’s control, but although Rotherham were prevented from attacking in Bedford’s 22 for much of the second half, they finished confidently.

They produced a thrilling try by winger Peter Homan whose score on 79 minutes was laid on by the impressive centre Eamonn Sheridan.

Although Rotherham’s forwards competed effectively in the scrums, they lost far too much ball at the line out but were not helped by heavy rain, particularly in the second half.

Titans’ coach Alex Codling said afterwards: “I am happy but not elated by our performance.

“There are some good things to take from it, but I am not happy with our lineout.”

Bedford Blues: Pritchard, Stephenson, Burke, Atkinson, Bassett, Sharp, Veenendaal, Fearn, Cochrane, Boulton, Howard, Gulliver, Rae, Fox, Tupai.

Rotherham Titans: Law, Homan, Blackett, Sheridan, F.Mulchrone, McKinney, C.Mulchrone, Gadd, Baines, Davies, Thomas, Sanderson, Makaafi, Kirwan, Freeman.

Referee: D Gamage (RFU).