DAVID Jackson made his 267th appearance for
Nottingham to become the club's most-capped league player, but it
was far from being a memorable occasion as the Green and Whites
were well-beaten 27-16 by Rotherham on Sunday.
After back-to-back wins to
start the campaign it was a frustrating afternoon for the hosts as
they found themselves up against a belligerent defence, and made
too many mistakes in their efforts to break through.
A couple of first half chances went begging courtesy of handling
errors and poor discipline as they fought hard for parity against
the stronger looking Titans pack.
Despite enjoying more possession in the second half they found
chances even more difficult to come by, before the game turned
against them in a disastrous - and controversial - eight minute
There was no danger whatever when Titans ran out of defence and
sent a raking, hopeful kick through towards the home line.
James Arlidge waited, one foot either side of the line, before
picking the ball up and touching it down. The referee, however,
claimed the ball was still rolling and awarded a five-metre
The Rotherham scrummage proved too strong for Nottingham and
they regained the initiative with a penalty try at a crucial stage
of the game and went on to add a second try to seal a deserved
To mark his achievement Jackson led the side out, and was soon
in the action with a couple of clearance kicks as the visitors
dominated early possession.
That dominance brought a penalty for James McKinney to open the
scoring after four minutes, but Nottingham responded with a
multi-phase attack which should have brought more than an
equalising penalty for Arlidge when Titans were penalised at a
McKinney had the chance to put his side back in front with a
penalty from the restart but his effort fell just short.
Minutes later, though, Nottingham were awarded a penalty on
halfway, but when someone pointed out to the referee that he had
missed a glaring advantage the decision was reversed and McKinney
slotted over the kick to restore the lead, quickly adding a third
to make it 3-9 midway through the first half.
Although Rotherham were doing most of the attacking, Nottingham
had their moments and a turnover gave them the chance to get back
into it as they set up a good position on the visitors' 22 before
being penalised for not releasing.
And a similar break down the right also came to nothing thanks
to a knock-on, before Titans wasted a golden opportunity to bag the
first try of the day when they missed an overlap down the left.
They, however, kept the pressure on to force a five-metre scrum
and it took some excellent defence from Nottingham to hold them out
before forcing play into touch and clearing up field.
An injury time penalty attempt from Arlidge, wide out on the
right, sailed across the front of the posts to leave the Green and
Whites trailing by six points at the break.
But he had another opportunity in the opening minute of the
second half and duly grabbed his 100th league
penalty for Nottingham to reduce that gap to three points.
As the home side were beginning to look more threatening,
putting together several promising attacks, Rhys Crane stormed
through the middle and almost sent Tim Streather clear before a
third penalty from Arlidge levelled it at nine points apiece on 57
TRY TIME: Crane
came up with a late try.
But then came that controversy, and four scores in the space of
eight minutes took the visitors well clear.
McKinney converted the penalty try and then added a couple of
penalties before a defensive slip allowed winger Eamonn Sheridan in
to make it 9-27 with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
A strong finish from Nottingham saw Crane finally break through
the defence for a try, with replacement Rory Lynn dropping the
conversion, but that was a rare lapse by the Rotherham defence and
the visitors were well worth their eleven point winning margin.
ROTHERHAM TITANS 27 (Sheridan, Penalty try;
McKinney conv; McKinney 5 pen) d NOTTINGHAM RUGBY
16 (Crane try, Lynn conv; Arlidge 3 pen).
Nottingham Rugby:15 A Savage 14 D Jackson 13 T
Streather 12 J Munro 11 R Crane 10 J Arlidge (22 R Lynn, 72 mins )
9 S Romans (21 F Barnham, 72 mins 1 M Holford 2 J Duffey (16 J
Stevens, 72 mins) 3 R Bower (17 J Harris, 72 mins) 4 D Montagu( 19
J Quinn 59 mins) 5 N Rouse 6 R Cooper 7 B Wilson 8 A Shaw (20 T
Replacements not used: 18 M Shields
Referee: S Lee
Attendance: 2078 at Meadow Lane Stadium.