ROTHERHAM Titans' poor run of form continued on Saturday when they were beaten by National One promotion chasers Rams.
The visitors from Reading ran in four tries, including a hat-trick for centre Connor Hayhow, to win 28-16 and leave Titans third bottom of the table, four points from the safety line after ten games.
They have won only one of their last six.
Despite the defeat, Rotherham's director or rugby Martin Jenkinson saw an improvement in the performance.
He said: "I hate losing but I am a bit easier than I have been at the end of some reversals this year because I was really impressed with Rams.
"They worked beautifully as a team and did the simple things right. They didn't make any mistakes.
"There were big performances from one or two of our players. I thought our lineout and scrum performed a lot better than recently but we just looked a bit blunt at times in the final third.
"I think our performance was a step up from recent weeks. Unfortunately it came against a very good side."
Tom Bullough tries to get past Rams' Josh Collis. Pictures by STEVE METTAM
Rotherham were able to field a stronger side than in recent weeks, especially in the front row which saw the return of Harry Newborn and a specialist tighthead prop in Will Dennis.
Another player back from injury, experienced number 8 Anthony Maka, marked his return with a try right at the death to prevent Titans ending the second half scoreless. They'd turned around 14-9 down at half time, Sam Hollingsworth landing three penalties. Replacement Morgan Bunting converted Maka's touchdown.
Jenkinson added: "Our performance would have beaten some of the sides that we have lost to this year. We are hoping that is a step forward for us. We had a tighthead prop back and we need another one back and we have to keep battling to get the performances and the results that we need to stay in this division."
The quality of the opposition was also acknowledged by centre Tom Bullough.
"They played the field position really well and at times we couldn't compete with that," he said. "Even when we got into attack we made life difficult for ourselves and didn't stretch them as much as we should. Credit to Rams, they played a really good game and we'll have a lot to look at at training on Tuesday."
Rotherham are away to Bishop's Stortford on Saturday (3pm). Just six points and two places separate the two clubs in the table.
Full Titans coverage in Friday's Advertiser.