YORKSHIRE Carnegie’s mediocre start to the season continued last night when they lost their third match in succession as they were beaten in the British and Irish Cup derby against Rotherham at Silver Royd, home of Scarborough Rugby Club.
Rotherham, recovering well from last weekend’s heavy league defeat by Worcester, won by two tries to none in an entertaining match in which Yorkshire Carnegie gave away far too many penalties and could not penetrate the Titans’ effective defence.
Rotherham’s victory was set up by a promising first half performance during which they scored two tries by forwards Alex Reider and Jack Preece.
Leeds making far too many mistakes were punished further by second half penalties by Rotherham’s Ulster fly-half James McKinney who struck accurate penalty goals on 53 and 63 minutes.
Carnegie had the chance of scoring a try late in the second half but full-back David McIlwaine was robbed of the ball by Rotherham debutant, winger Craig Dowsett, who made an impressive first appearance.
Carnegie’s only score came just before half time as fly-half Christian Georgiou struck a penalty but after that Rotherham’s control was never seriously threatened.
Rotherham, with four players making their debuts, nearly scored after six minutes following a powerful break by centre Jack Roberts.
However, Yorkshire Carnegie, a mixture of Championship and academy players, cleared the danger. Carnegie full-back David McIlwaine then caused alarm in the Rotherham 22 with a threatening move, but the chance of a try collapsed as Carnegie’s prop Hill, a member of the England team that won the junior World Cup in the summer, lost possession.
Severe pressure by the Carnegie pack on Rotherham’s line nearly produced a try but solid defence by the Titans’ forwards kept them out.
Though both sides made careless errors, the game flowed and Rotherham suffered a blow on 20 minutes when hooker and skipper Tom Cruse withdrew because of injury.
In a close contest, Rotherham gradually took control as the first half unfolded.
They deservedly went ahead on 25 minutes as a result of excellent work by the pack who stole possession at a Carnegie lineout.
After several phases of pressure, Titans’ flanker Alex Reider crashed over in the corner and with fly-half James McKinney converting, Rotherham seized a 7-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Rotherham’s pack excelled again close to the Carnegie line as they increased the pressure. From another successful lineout, replacement hooker Preece was driven over for his side’s second try and as McKinney put over his second conversion, Rotherham were in control at 14-0.
Just before half time Rotherham were penalised again which allowed Carnegie fly-half Georgiou to strike a successful penalty cutting Rotherham’s lead to 13-3.
Yorkshire Carnegie: McIlwaine, Prell, Vickerman, Fitzpatrick, Tai (Allen, 66), Georgiou, Dudman (Goss, 67), Beech (Boyce, 60), Hayes (Walker, 53), Hill (Hooper, 58), Edwards (Borrowdale, 67), Cassom, Barnard (Grange, 67), Walker, Williams.
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Broadley, Gill (J Davies, 54), Roberts, Dowsett, McKinney (Barrett, 64), A Davies (McGaffin, 65), Gadd (Williams, 54), Cruse (Preece, 20), Tampin (Macklin, 63), Harker, Robinson, Argyle, Reider, Morris (Birch, 20).
Referee: Jamie Leahy.