Rugby Union: Garnett seals victory

Rotherham 27 Moseley 0
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ROTHERHAM may still have their day in the sun, but their hopes of gaining the automatic promotion place from Premiership Two crumbled to dust yesterday. They failed to put away a resolute Moseley who tackled their hearts out, but finished the match with only 13 men. So all Bristol have to do is beat Worcester at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon by a single point. Provided Bristol do that, Rotherham's ambition of making it into the top division will rest on their two play-off matches with Bedford.

The theory of it was blindingly simple. Rotherham would take their time soaking up the party atmosphere engendered by their biggest attendance of the season at Clifton Lane before rolling Moseley over to the tune of 50 points or so, to leave Bristol a meaningful target

But the best-laid plans on what should have been Rotherham's big day went horribly awry. It wasn't that Moseley came simply to spoil; they did that all right. It was Rotherham's ball control and slipshod handling which undermined the Yorkshire side's attempts to piece together any attacking rugby worthy of the description.

Rotherham failed to do the basics instinctively well, or make their numerical advantage pay when Andy Hall was white carded for up-ending John Dudley at a line-out; or when Richard Hampton followed him into the sin-bin. Moseley just grafted away, made their tackling count, and restricted Rotherham to one penalty from Jake Niarchos before the break.

If Rotherham were to make anything of the game, one felt it would be as a result of some Moseley imprudence rather than any creativity of ther own. So it proved. The indiscreet Hampton stepped once more across the line which separates the inadvisable from the unacceptable, threw one punch too many, and received a red card for his foolishness.

By then, Dea Lax had emboldened Rotherham, with his 18th league try of the season. With Hampton in the dressing room, Matt Walker touched down. But Rotherham still fretted and fumbled, even though Mike Umaga claimed Rotherham's third try which Niarchos converted.

With Moseley's replacement hooker Protherough sin-binned, Rotherham reached their target of 27 points when Terry Garnett crossed and Doug Trivella converted. But the margin of victory was insufficient and, ultimately, flattered them

Rotherham: M Umaga; D Lax, G Austin, J Shepherd, M Walker; J Niarchos (D Trivella 75), D Scully: S Bunting, T Garnett, H Toews (M Pinder 50), J Duley (G Webster 50), G Kenworthy (D Cook 79), B Wade, C West (H Parr 40), M Schmid (Capt).

Moseley: M Cook; R Martin Binns, S Brading, G Gregory; J Smart, M Chudleigh (Capt); L Fortey, R Hampton, S MacKnnon (J Mellors 78), T Healy, A Hall, P Buxton (R Protherough 50), J Mellors ( R Protherough 39-45), I Patten.

Referee: G Warren (Bristol).