ROTHERHAM Titans gave reasons for optimism despite slipping to a fourth straight defeat in National One at the weekend.
Titans gave top-four contenders Blackheath a good test on their own patch at Well Hall and the match was closer than the 33-17 scoreline suggested.
After two converted scores gave the home team the early advantage, Rotherham hit back when wing Ben Robbins finished off some good work from the pack to go over a try. Sam Hollingsworth added the conversion and then a penalty to cut the half-time deficit to 14-10.
Although Blackheath claimed the next two tries to claim a bonus point, Titans responded when Hollingsworth went over in the corner in the 70th minute and added the extras to his own score.
Again having to manage with a depleted front row, Rotherham soldiered on but any lingering hopes of a losing bonus point were taken away by wing Jake Lloyd's second touchdown of the game.
Results elsewhere meant the gap to safety remains at 11 points.
Titans' director of rugby Martin Jenkinson said: "It was a far better performance on Saturday than we've had of late and it looked like we'd taken the first step out of the trough we've been in.
"In terms of physicality, being competitive and working with energy, we were back to something like. It gives me confidence going down to Elthamians on Saturday."
The coaching staff hope front rowers Reece Ward and Ianto Jones can return to training this week.
Kick-off on Saturday is 2pm.
More on the Titans in Friday's Advertiser