Local derby triumph ensures Rotherham Titans keep up strong start
Titans’ 37-17 victory on Saturday came with a four-try bonus point, leaving them second in the National Two North table behind Leeds Tykes ahead of a three-week rest from action.
Two early penalties from Lloyd Hayes sandwiched Sheffield’s opening try from Charlie Davies, converted by former Rotherham and Dinnington player Jonny West, to put the hosts 7-6 up.
Titans, who had winger Lewis Winterbottom making his debut, dismantled their hosts in a scrum to set the platform for a try from wing Ben Rundle in the corner and the extras from Hayes ensured they turned around 13-7 in front.
Abbeydale was hit by heavy rain at half time and Rotherham were grateful for another penalty from the reliable Hayes to edge them more than a score ahead.
Lively and combative throughout, Sheffield replied immediately with a try from full-back Cameron Catleugh to trim the gap to four points before Rotherham’s pack got well and truly got on top.
Replacement Loma Kivalu crossed the whitewash from a huge push from a lineout and scrum-half Kareem Eissa stretched over before the bonus-point clinching score from back row John Okafor capped Titans’ seventh win from seven.
Hayes ended with 17 points from the tee and Sheffield had the consolation of a third try from another ex-Titan, Ryan Burrows.
Rotherham head coach Gary Pearce said: “In the first half things went against us. We got on the wrong side of the referee and although we were dominant we couldn’t get past two or three phases and it was very stop start. All we needed to do was get a bit of continuity in our game.
“We didn’t panic at half time, which was a pleasing point. We came out in the second half and controlled the game and our pack got on top and we scored a couple of nice tries.
"The second half was really pleasing. Young Kareem Eissa came in and did a great job and our pack is strong. We played in the right areas and got the points.”
Rotherham’s next game is at home to Otley on November 4.