Rotherham Titans v Bedford Blues

Saturday, 17 January, 2015 - 14:00
1st XV Championship
Lost 34-19

Clifton Lane continues to be a thorn in Bedford Blues side as Mike Rayer's men went down 34-19 to Rotherham Titans on Saturday afternoon.

If this is to be the Titans last season at Clifton Lane as reported in their local media then there may be a few who won't miss it given that Bedford haven't won here since 2012.

This game did have everything though. Rain, hail, snow, wind and sunshine. Rotherham got off to a perfect start when the ball was stripped from a Bedford maul and made its way to Rotherham hooker Tom Cruse who was able to gallop up the other end of the pitch to score in the first minute with Barrett converting.

Things didn't get any better for the Blues though and they found themselves 14-0 down when Sean Scanlon went over for a well worked try. The winger had the easy job after his forwards rucked well and the home side exploited an overlap with Barrett again converting.

Bedford suddenly sprung into life and they were able to reduce the deficit with a Steffan Jones try. A penalty went against the hosts and the Blues went to touch. TJ Harris found his man with the lineout before the forwards rumbled forward. As the ball slowed down, it went to the backs with Viliami Hakalo crshing through and then Peter White feeding Jones for the score and James Pritchard converted.

Bedford enjoyed some possession and were able to capitalise when Roth gave away another penalty. Touch and a lineout followed before Harry Wells ran a great line to scyth through the Rotherham defence. White picked up and was able to angle to score his first Championship try but Pritchard couldn't convert.

Things went back in Rotherham's direction and they scored their third try of the afternoon in the 26th minute. Sustained pressure paid off as Jack Roberts threw a fine pass to Tom Holmes who crashed over from close range for an unconverted score.

Back to Bedford and they wanted to reduce the gap as quickly as possible. Jones kicked a smart bal through the defence and piled pressure on Llyod Hayes who then knocked on and killed the ball. Referee Greg McDonald binned the fullback and the Blues went to touch. This time the forwards were rewarded for their hard work as Paul Tupai went over and Pritchard converted to level the scores.

All of that in the first 30 minutes. Barrett converted a penalty to give the hosts the lead at the break but with just three points in it, Bedford were confident of a big second half.

Sadly, things weren't to go Bedford's way after the interval and Rotherham came close to an early try but an offload intended for Cruse was intercepted by White and he was able to clear.

Momentum was with the hosts though and it wasn't long before they scored their fourth of the afternoon. Harry Wells received a yellow card for a high tackle - the third of the afternoon - and Rotherham made the extra man count. The ball went to touch, the lineout was gathered, maul followed and Jack Preece came up with the ball and Barrett converted to make it 29-19.

Bedford weren't out o it quite yet though and they looked to set up camp in the Titans 22. Phase after phase followed before the ball was recycled to the backs but Barrett intercepted five metres from his own line and galloped up the other end of the pitch. Pat Tapley made the cover tackle but Roth were in the ascendency again.

As the wind, rain and snow came tumbling down, Bedford just couldn't break down the stubborn Titans defence and then they had salt rubbed into their wounds. A big kick meant that replacement Mike Le Bourgeois had to sprint back to a few metres from his own try line with a couple of Titans breathing down his neck. Rotherham were able to turn the ball over and then pop the ball to Roberts for their fifth of the afternoon which went unconverted.

A tough day in South Yorkshire for the Blues but with a free weekend next week, they'll be looking to bounce straight back when London Scottish visit Goldington Road at the end of the month.

Next Home Match

Friday 23rd August
1st XV Pre Season
Goldington Road



See more pictures courtesy of Nigel Rudgard at