Cornish Pirates 20 Rotherham Titans 40
Rotherham Titans booked their place in the Greene King Championship play-offs in emphatic style with a powerful second half display at the Mennaye Field running in 33 unanswered points, writes Dick Straughan.
The South Yorkshire side travelled to Cornwall without a win in the Duchy against the Pirates since October 2008 and that run looked set to continue as the Pirates dominated the first half.
Two early Kieran Hallett penalties gave the home side a lead as Rotherham struggled for momentum and frequently buckled at the scrum. The Titans then lost scrum-half Charlie Mulchrone to injury before Hallett missed a third long range place kick as their scrum faltered again.
Just before the half hour mark the Pirates stole a Rotherham scrum feed on the Titans 22. Laurie McGlone broke quickly feeding Tom Kessell and he set up centre Tom Riley for a well taken try under the posts. Hallett converted.
Rotherham replied with a try off their first attack of the half as Juan Pablo Socino led a breakout from his 22 with good support from Mike Keating and Sean Scanlon. The latter took the scoring pass with Socino adding the extras.
In first half stoppage time the Pirates added a second try as the Rotherham scrum was again penalised close to their line and referee Andrew Jackson awarded a penalty try. Hallett converted for a 20-7 interval lead.
Yet just as happened seven days before against Pontypridd in the British & Irish Cup the Pirates again failed to live up to their first half efforts after the break and were made to pay for several spurned scoring opportunities.
Rotherham hit back with a 43rd minute try from hooker Tom Cruse after a well worked period of patient phase play with Socino again on target with the extras.
Just before the hour a strong counter attack from deep instigated again by Scanlon and Socino ended with Keating grabbing his first try and Socino converted to put the Titans 21-20 ahead.
Two minutes later Rotherham struck again with another long range attack ended by Dan White and the floodgates remained open after they had secured their bonus point clinching fourth try.
Impressive centre Jack Roberts added a fifth try after Jamie Broadley had led the breakout and a 79th minute turnover by the Pirates in their own 22 produced a sixth touchdown for the visitors as Keating notched his second. Dallan Murphy converted.
A stoppage time scuffle resulted in yellow cards for Pirates prop Shane Cahill and Titans lock Josh Thomas-Brown.
Goss (Moyle 63), Bodilly, Riley, Fatialofa (Hendrickson 67), Holland, Hallett (Sinclair 75), Kessell; Cahill (sin-bin 80+3), Channon (Carpenter 74), Prescott (Davies 63), Carrick-Smith, Barry, Parker (Prescott 80+3)), Morgan (capt)(Duncan 74), McGlone (Cheesman 63)
Tries – Riley, Penalty
Cons – Hallett (2)
Pens – Hallett (2)
Yellow Card – Cahill
Scanlon, Broadley, Davies (Gill 73), Roberts, Keating, Socino (Murphy 73), Mulchrone (capt)(White 19); Gadd (Williams 61), Cruse (To`ala 56), Tampin (Stout 53), Holmes, Thomas-Brown (sin-bin 80+3), Williamson (Morris 73), Preece, Rieder
Tries – Keating (2), Scanlon, Cruse, White, Roberts
Cons – Socino(5), Murphy
Yellow Card – Thomas-Brown
Referee – A.Jackson (RFU)
Attendance – 1,372