ROTHERHAM Titans rallied to take a bonus point but were left with a bitter taste after Saturday’s defeat to Chinnor left them further from the safety line in National One.
Titans went down 42-24 after a torried first half in which they shipped 35 points and had three players sin-binned.
The Clifton Lane crowd thought referee Harry Walbaum was too quick to reach into his pocket to yellow card debutant Tom Benjamin and second row Dan Preston-Routledge in the opening stages, reducing Rotherham to 13 men.
Lewis Wilson was also sent to the naughty step at the end of the half, by which time Chinnor had scored five converted tries.
“The first ten minutes was not rugby as we recognise it and a lot of people have to take responsibility for that,” said Rotherham’s director of rugby Martin Jenkinson.
“We used to say that a yellow card is worth nine points on average, and so many games are single score games. We had three yellow cards in the first half and that’s a nonsense.”
Jenkinson was happier with the way Rotherham rallied in the second half with the wind behind them. Two tries in as many minutes from Connor Dever and Ben Robbins raised hopes before Benjamin, who only joined on loan from Championship side Nottingham two days before, went in for the four-try bonus point at the end. It was his second touchdown of the day. Sam Hollingsworth kicked the rest of the points.
Rotherham's Harry Whitfield and Sam Waddington tackle Chinnor's Will Ryan. Pictures by STEVE METTAM.
Added Jenkinson: “The wind in the first half, coupled with some decisions, meant the gap became insurmountable. In the second half it was about how do we make the best of a bad job and we did that. The point against a top-end side could be important to us.”
Nearest rivals Birmingham Moseley claimed a bonus point victory at Canterbury to pull 12 points clear of Titans with nine games to play.
Chinnor’s director of rugby Matt Williams said: “Rotherham have enough attacking threat to be able to turn it around and I hope they do.”
Rotherham go to leaders Richmond this weekend while Moseley host second-placed Rosslyn Park.