Rotherham Titans 19 Doncaster Knights 36: Time’s up for Andy Key

Rotherham Titans have parted company with head coach Andy Key. (Picture: Scott Merrylees)
Rotherham Titans have parted company with head coach Andy Key. (Picture: Scott Merrylees)
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AnDy Key has left his post as Rotherham Titans head coach following their defeat to Doncaster Knights on Saturday, their 12th defeat from 12 Championship games.

Key and Rotherham parted ways following a 36-19 defeat to Doncaster at Clifton Lane.

Doncaster Knights' Michael Heaney looks for support as Titans' Sam Nixon and Rob Louw tackle. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Doncaster Knights' Michael Heaney looks for support as Titans' Sam Nixon and Rob Louw tackle. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

A club statement read: “The club would like to put on record its thanks to Andy for his commitment and hard work during his time at Clifton Lane and wish him all the best for the future.

“Forwards coach, Nic Rouse, will look after team affairs moving forward.”

Earlier, Michael Heaney’s classy try provided the spark as Doncaster Knights heaped yet more misery on derby rivals Rotherham Titans.

The Irish scrum-half scrambled over for a quality effort in the 56th minute to reclaim a lead they would never relinquish against their desperate derby rivals who remain cut adrift at the foot of the Championship table.

The club would like to put on record its thanks to Andy for his commitment and hard work during his time at Clifton Lane and wish him all the best for the future.

Rotherham Titans

The size of the defeat was tough on Rotherham who actually led 16-14 at half-time after capitalising on a raft of uncharacteristic Doncaster errors.

Nevertheless, they were out-played in the second period when Simon Humberstone’s three penalties after Heaney’s score, saw them stretch out and they have now lost 12 successive games.

Ex-Rotherham winger Curtis Wilson also crossed with the final play to see Clive Griffiths’ side earn a bonus point in what, potentially, could be the last such derby here for some time.

In the first period, Caolan Ryan slotted three penalties, including one sizeable effort from halfway, after the Knights infringed twice when in possession and also pulled down a maul.

Rotherham generally defended well, too, although their former captain Will Owen was a constant threat in midfield.

Indeed, it was the centre who opened the scoring inside 10 minutes when he found space to go over, Humberstone improving.

The try had been coming; D0ncaster had all the early pressure only to spill when driving a line-out and then concede a free-kick at an attacking scrum close to Rotherham’s line.

Andy Key’s side responded swiftly to Owen’s score, however, with a fine effort of their own as centre Drew Cheshire finished off a handsome handling passage in the 16th minute.

although Knights may have had reason to be irritated given their hooker Ben Hunter was receiving treatment for a head injury in midfield as the move developed around him.

Ryan slotted the conversion and then added his trio of penalties in the space of 11 minutes.

However, Doncaster finally clicked to see Hunter benefit from a driving maul, Humberstone’s conversion sending them in just narrowly behind.

In fairness, they had the better of the second period, starting positively and pegging Key’s side back,

Crucially, though, Rotherham, nicked two Knights line-outs in quick succession to deny their opponents and ease the pressure.

It was perhaps no surprise, then, that Doncaster opted against kicking to the corner when a penalty chance next arose, Humberstone instead kicking to reclaim the lead at 17-16 in the 49th minute.

Ryan responded with his fourth penalty three minutes later but Heaney then scrambled over for his try after they finally hit a line-out and worked some magic in midfield via Owen for Colin Quigley to provide the final assist.

There was no way back for Rotherham from thereon in and it is Doncaster who host Yorkshire Carnegie on Friday who are left in festive cheer.

Rotherham Titans: Thomas; B Foley, Cheshire (Odogwa 63), Barker, Henry; Ryan, Davies; Toby Williams, Murphy (Cole 63), Nixon, Postlethwaite, Louw, Peters, Maddison, Calladine.

Doncaster Knights: Jarvis; Wilson, Clark (C Foley 80), Owen, Lewis; Humberstone (James 79), Heaney; List (Bergmanas 54), Hunter (Nelson 61), Quigley (Sproston 71), Challinor (Eames 61), Civetta, Ram, Hills, Shaw (Batt 80).

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth