Rotherham Rugby Club puts relegation into perspective

Rotherham Rugby Club puts relegation into perspective

By David Beddows | 03/04/2020

Rotherham Rugby Club puts relegation into perspective
Rotherham Titans chairman Nick Cragg with director of rugby Martin Jenkinson.

RELEGATED Rotherham Rugby Club says it will plan for the future once the more important matter of the coronavirus outbreak is dealt with.

Titans' demotion from National One to England rugby's fourth tier was revealed tonight on the basis a "best playing record formula" devised by the RFU in the wake of the season being abandoned due to COVID-19. 

It placed Rotherham with a score less than fourth-bottom Birmingham Moseley, consigning the club to relegation alongside already down Canterbury and Hull Ionians.
In a "Message to All Members of the Titans family," chairman Nick Cragg said: "Today the RFU announced that Rotherham Titans Rugby will be relegated to National 2 North next season. 

"These are unprecedented times and for many people this will be the least of their concerns. We encourage everyone to stay safe, protect your families, and follow the guidance issued by the government to help us all deal with this Coronavirus outbreak. 

"Once we are through the other side of this pandemic, we will address the Club’s challenges with the help and support of you all.

"I would like to thank our players, coaches, staff, supporters, sponsors and everyone associated with Rotherham Titans.

"Stay at home. Stay safe."

The statement brings the curtain down on a difficult season at Clifton Lane that hinted at having a happy ending before play was stopped.

Despite poor form up to Christmas that lodged them down at the bottom end, Titans improved after the turn of the year helped by Steve Salvin's return to the coaching team.

Although seven of the nine matches since December ended in defeat, Rotherham collected bonus points from most games, beat Hull Ionians and Birmingham Moseley and pulled to within one victory of their Midlands rivals.

Rotherham's remaining five fixtures also looked less difficult than Moseley's but they were also hampered by falling the wrong side in several tight games.

The RFU's decision not to null and void the season, as has happened throughout much of domestic semi-pro football, left the Titans nervously awaiting their fate. The fact they occupied the third relegation spot to be filled by the now canceled play-off between the runners-up in National Two North and National Two South led many to hope the authorities would spare Rotherham. It wasn't to be.

Relegation continues a sad decline for a club that made a fairytale rise up the leagues and reached the Premiership in 2000. Rotherham had a second season in the top flight a couple of years later before dropping back down into the Championship.

Titans stayed there, challenging near the top end and reaching the play-offs before falling away and dropping down into National One last year.

Rotherham will start next term in the fourth tier for the first time since the mid 1990s.