A hard-fought victory over Nottingham made an appearance in the play-offs almost certain for Rotherham Titans.
Now five points in front of Nottingham in the Championship table with a huge advantage in points difference, only two freak results in the final fixtures can stymie the Titans.
It was far from plain sailing in Lady Bay for the visitors, particularly in the third quarter when they were forced to hold on to a three-point advantage with only 14 men following Alec Reider’s yellow card.
Nottingham could not make numerical superiority count though and the match’s key moment came in the 74th minute.
Replacement centre Mark Cooke chased Sean Scanlon’s kick and forced an error. He gathered, set Jordan Davies away and stayed with him to take the return pass and touch down.
Although Tom Barrett missed the conversion, four minutes later he kicked his third penalty to make the game safe.
Rotherham were by far the better side in the first half and would have been disappointed to be only a penalty to the good at the interval.
The Titans’ front row had begun the match in dominant fashion earning a penalty at the first scrum, the first of four penalties that Nottingham conceded in the opening six minutes.
Another Nottingham penalty at the scrum left Barrett with a touch penalty chance that he converted with aplomb.
Two minutes after that the referee ran out of patience with Nottingham’s front row and Shaun Malton went to the sin bin while Barrett doubled the lead.
Will Maisey got the hosts back into the match with an easy penalty after being high tackled.
Barrett got the first try of the match slicing through some poor defending before converting his own score.
However, Nottingham’s scrum half Sean Romans scrambled over two minutes later.
Nottingham: Robinson, Styles, Munro, Pohe, Iongi, Maisey, Romans, Porter, Malton, Carey, Freeman, Price, Cooper, Calladine, Grant. Replacements: Ma’afu, Holford, Vickers, Everard, Hough, Smit, Mugford.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Wilson, Hayes, Davies, Keating, Barrett, White, Hislop, Cruse, Tampin, Maddison, Robinson, Reider, Birch, Morris. Replacements: Dunn, Williams, Theide, Thomas, Ryan, Davies, Cooke.