Ulster 29 Rotherham Titans 31: McKinney secures Titans win against his former club

ROTHERHAM Titans secured their third successive British & Irish Cup win in dramatic fashion to take firm control at the top of Pool Two in last night’s clash with Ulster Ravens with ex-Ulster player James McKinney’s last-minute conversion sealing the win for the visitors.

The Titans also took maximum points from the game which was nip and tuck throughout and only an 80th-minute score from Perry Parker – the Titans’ fifth touchdown on the night which also saw Tom Cruse score twice – snatched away what seemed like a certain first win for the home side who still secured two bonus points.

The scores were tied at 7-7 at the end of the first half after the Titans had got things rolling after hooker Cruse had crossed for an excellent try following a great run from Jordan Davies.

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McKinney’s conversion took it to 7-0 after 12 minutes but the home side hit back four minutes later with a try from Peter Nelson which was converted by Josh Bingham.

The Ravens struck first on the resumption with an unconverted try from Bingham, but the Titans drew level again through Cruse’s second touchdown.

Kyle McCall then put the Ravens ahead again with Peter Nelson’s conversion taking it to 19-12. But the Titans battled back once more with a Jack Roberts try and conversion from McKinney.

The Ravens then sneaked ahead with a penalty from Nelson but with less than 10 minutes to go, Jamie Broadley crashed over to secure the Titans their try bonus. But, yet again, the Ravens came back and a 77th-minute try from Jack Owens, which was converted by Nelson, not only gave them the lead but also their own try bonus.

All that remained was that last-gasp score from Parker to level the scores and McKinney’s winning conversion.

Ulster Ravens: P Nelson, J Stockdale, R Andrew, J Owens, R Adair, J Bingham, J Creighton; D Ryan, J Andrew, R Lutton, J Simpson, N McComb (capt), C Joyce, M McComish, C Butterworth. Replacements: P Jackson, R Lutton, K McCall, S Reidy, F Taggart, C Young, S O’Hagan

Rotherham Titans: L Hayes, S Scanlon, J Roberts, J Davies, J Broadley, J McKinney, Z McGaffin; T Williams, T Cruse, A Macklin, P Parker, T Holmes (Capt.), M Argyle, A Birch, A Rieder. Replacements: Preece, Hislop, Tampin, Maddison, Ryan, Mitchell, Barrett.

Newcastle Falcons took early control of Pool Three with a creditable 30-26 victory at Newport Gwent Dragons.