Rotherham Titans 24 London Scottish 27: Late, late defeat for Titans

Rotherham Titans v London Scottish. Logan Tibbetts tries to shake off a tackle. Picture Scott Merrylees
Rotherham Titans v London Scottish. Logan Tibbetts tries to shake off a tackle. Picture Scott Merrylees
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GUTTED Rotherham Titans cruelly missed out on a first Championship win of the season after conceding a try in the TENTH minute of injury-time.

Andy Key’s side had lost all nine league games so far but looked set to finally end their woe after a 75th minute penalty try reclaimed them the lead against fellow strugglers London Scottish.

However, referee Matthew O’Grady then played what seemed an inordinate amount of added-time and the visitors finally crossed with the final play via Craig Holland.

Rotherham, who remain in real danger of relegation already 16 points adrift of Scottish in 11th, questioned a series of decisions late in the game but, equally so, they will be annoyed with themselves for not making sure of victory in the final throes.

Furthermore, they had been 17-7 ahead at the break after two fine tries from the wonderful scrum-half Rhodri Davies and despite seeing Yiannis Loizias stretchered off with a serious knee injury.

Scottish re-emerged for the second period energised, though, and began to take control, eventually hauling in that deficit to go 20-17 ahead with Jake Sharp’s 71st minute penalty.

Still, Titans - much improved on recent weeks - responded in dramatic style with that penalty try.

Scottish replacement full-back Charlie Ingall saw his clearance kick charged down and, after Ben Foley hacked on, cynically tackled him off the ball as the Rotherham winger chased it down.

Ingall was yellow-carded and the hosts looked set to at last celebrate a success but they could not hold on and - with a tough trip to Yorkshire Carnegie next Sunday - Key’s position is now set to come under severe pressure.

Things had started in familiar fashion for Rotherham as, on the back of giving away two swift penalties, they conceded a try after just four minutes, Scottish hooker Isaac Miller scrambling over from close range.

Sharp converted but the hosts showed their potential with slick move that saw Drew Cheshire cross soon after.

Unfortunately, it was ruled out for a forward pass but, nevertheless, it gave Key’s side confidence.

Indeed, they did get on the scoreboard in the 22nd minute courtesy of a well-crafted try, Caolan Ryan’s short pass sending Charlie Maddison through untouched and Davies motoring up in support for his first try.

Ryan improved and - after a long break as Yiannis Loizias received treatment - did so again after Davies cleverly raided the blindside direct from a scrum.

A penalty just before half-time put Titans 17-7 up at the break although Sharp reduced the advantage with a 42nd minute effort of his own.

Davies was then on hand to deny Scottish after Sharp’s clever midfield chip.

However, play was brought back for another penalty - Rotherham had also, frustratingly, conceded one when in possession - and Miller crossed for his second from a line-out drive in the 48th minute.

Sharp expertly nailed the touchline conversion to level the game but Key’s side were not deterred and a brilliant long Ryan pass allowed Charlie Maddison to unleash replacement winger Wesley Hamilton.

He surged 40m and seemed destined to score only to be denied at the death.

Hamilton, though, was called upon to produce a crucial tackle of his own after Scottish lock Ed Milne made a sensational breakthrough midfield, swatting off defenders at will.

Similarly, Tom Calladine managed a vital line-out steal to thwart Scottish again while the visitors did open Rotherham up for Ross Neal to cross between the posts but the pass from his centre partner Ben Moses was marginally deemed forward.

However, Sharp did then put them ahead with his penalty nine minutes before time ahead of that dramatic denouement.

Rotherham Titans: Thomas; Foley, Loizias (Hamilton 32), Tibbetts, Cheshire; Ryan, Davies; Tom Williams (Murphy 62), Cole (Toby Williams 56), Shields, Peters, Hodge, Calladine, Maddison (Postlethwaite 76), Burns (Grange 72).

London Scottish: Lyle (Ingall 73); L Williams, Neal, Mosses, Holland; Sharp, Walker; Appiah, Miller, McQuillan (Cringle 54), Milne, Mills, Gillanders, Walker, Atkinson.

Referee: Matthew O’Grady