Titans record imperfect 10

Rotherham 10 Newcastle 38
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The Independent Online

The vortex of uncertainty that has engulfed Rotherham since the start of the season shows no sign of abating as they slumped to their 10th consecutive defeat. Against the same opponents, Newcastle, who inflicted the heaviest defeat of the Premiership season, 56-10, last Sunday at Kingston Park, they were comprehensively outplayed in yesterday's Powergen Cup sixth round at Millmoor.

The Titans will draw some comfort that they were able to keep the size of Newcastle's victory short of the previous week's embarrassment. Indeed, with a raft of replacements on as early as the third-quarter, they put the Falcons under some sustained pressure and even had the temerity to score a try when the replacement prop, Nick Lloyd, plunged over after Jason Strange had taken a quick tapped penalty.

"We were terrible in the first half but the try gave us heart and we were much better after the break," Mike Schmid, the Rotherham coach, conceded.

Nevertheless, there was always the feeling that Newcastle had something in hand and could score almost at will whenever Mike Stephenson, Mark Mayerhofler or Jamie Noon were able to find some space. While Tom May, who is in the try-scoring form of his life, was a constant threat, the visitors had the confidence to bring on their 18-year-old prop, Dave Wilson, of whom big things are expected. By then the Falcons had scored four of their six tries and were threatening to run riot.

To their credit, Rotherham never caved in. Luke Gross created all sorts of problems at the line-out, Bernardo Stortoni ran well out of defence, while Jacob Rauluni and Strange were far from overawed by the high-scoring Falcons.

Epi Taione had got Newcastle moving with an early try, before May struck, racing on to Noon's perfectly placed grubber. May then put Mayerhofler in space for Stephenson to cross and, with Dave Walder adding two conversions, Rotherham must have feared the worst.

Turning round at 19-3 - Strange having kicked a penalty - it got worse before the Titans were able to stem the flow of points and celebrate Lloyd's try. But tries by Ben Gollings and Phil Dowson and a second for Stephenson put Newcastle in to the quarter-finals.

Rotherham: Try Lloyd; Conversion Strange; Penalty Strange. Newcastle: Tries Taione, May, Stephenson 2, Gollings, Dowson; Conversions Walder 4

Rotherham: B Stortoni; D Strettle (J Benson, 50), J Pritchard, P Jones, J Keyter; J Strange, J Rauluni (capt); S Bunting (N Lloyd, 58), C Johnson, J Rawson (C Noon, 50), J Pendlebury (G Kenworthy, 50), L Gross, L Greef, N Spence (P Smyth, 71-78), G Remnant (R Earnshaw, 50).

Newcastle: B Gollings; T May, J Noon (M Shaw, 59), M Mayerhofler (P Godman, 64), M Stephenson; D Walder, H Charlton (J Grindal, 45); I Peel (D Wilson, 56), M Thompson (N Makin, 64), M Ward, G Archer (capt), C Hamilton (S Grimes, 70), E Taione (J Dunbar, 56), P Dowson, H Vyvyan.

Referee: M Fox (Leicester).

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