ROTHERHAM TITANS’ 14-year spell in the second tier was brought to an end on Saturday, defeat to Jersey Reds confirming they will spend next season in National One.
Enjoying a deserved 13-7 half-time lead, it looked as though Nic Rouse’s side – with just one league win to their name this season – would at least postpone their demotion.
But the hosts produced a second-half rally, registering four tries to run out comfortable victors.
Head coach Rouse, brought in to replace Andy Key, who was sacked two days before Christmas, admitted it was a difficult day.
“We knew we would need to put in a performance and, to be fair, we’d done that in the first half, although I thought we left some scores out there,” said Rouse. “Ultimately we weren’t ruthless enough, but I can’t fault the effort of the players, they had nothing left to give. As one of the longest-serving teams in the league, it’s a sad day for the club.”
After falling behind to a fourth-minute converted try from Jason Worrall, Rotherham hit back quickly when Rhodri Davies’s reply was converted by Caolan Ryan, who added two penalties before the break.
A yellow card for Jamie Cooke for a high challenge just before half-time proved costly soon after the restart when Apakuki Ma’afu glided over the line for a try converted by Brendan Cope.
Ryan kicked the Titans back into the lead briefly with a third penalty, but three tries in the final 20 minutes saw the hosts run away with the points, Nick Selway’s try on the hour mark being followed by efforts from Joel Dudley and Kieran Hardy, in between which Scott Van Breda kicked a long-range penalty.