Titans go second as Albion spurn kicks

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ROTHERHAM Titans moved into second place in the Championship, at least for a few hours, with an impressive victory at Plymouth Albion.

It was Titans’ fourth league win on the road this season, but they were aided by Albion missing 16 points from the kicking tee, with fly-half Dan Mugford in particular having a nightmare.

Rotherham could have taken a 10th-minute lead, when winger Michael Keating was denied a try by a superb tackle from opposite number Tom Bowen.

Five minutes later, Argentinian centre Juan Pablo Socino slotted a simple penalty but aggravated a leg injury in the process and had to be replaced by Joel Gill.

Albion edged ahead when Canadian international No 8 Sean-Michael Stephen received an offload from Rhys Oakley to score the game’s opening try, but Mugford was off target with the conversion attempt, and a 42-metre penalty.

Rotherham’s response was swift. A break from inside their own half saw Keating and full-back Sean Scanlon exchange passes before they sent Jack Roberts over, with Joel Hodgson adding the extras for a 10-5 advantage.

Titans stretched their lead when Hodgson broke and sparked an attack finished off by Jack Preece, with Hodgson again converting.

However, Bowen won a race to score Albion’s second try on the stroke of half-time to cut the deficit to 17-10 at the break.

Chris Elder and Mugford both missed simple penalty chances for Albion either side of the interval, but Hodgson was on target twice in a very tight second period.

Scanlon was denied by a tackle from Jamie Davies, before Keating and Bowen exchanged tries, with Declan Cusack converting Albion’s effort.

Plymouth: C Elder, T Bowen, H Stevens (B Woods 71), T Howley-Berridge, J Davies, D Mugford (D Cusack 56), R Cushion (P Rowley 56), T Harrison (B Rogers 7-21, 52), M Crumpton (L Cowan-Dickie 52), L Fairbrother (D Morton 71), I Ascroft-Leigh (R Langley 59), B Beukeboom, H Stupple, S-M Stephen, R Oakley (capt).

Rotherham: S Scanlon, M Keating, J Roberts, J P Socino (J Gill 16), C Wilson, J Hodgson, C Mulchrone (capt) (D White 76), R Hislop (T Williams 71), B Sowrey (T Cruse 59), C Quigley (M Tampin 66), B Maddison (B Thomas 66), D Sanderson, A Rider, J Preece, A To’oala (T Freeman 59).

Referee: T Foley (RFU).