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Rotheram Titans u16 29 - 17 Rishworthians u16 Injuries to key players disrupts Rishworthians game
Match report Sunday 22nd February Friendly

Old Risworthians under 16s were finally worn down and lost out to an impressively strong Rotherham Titans, despite taking an early, commanding lead. At 17 - 0 up they were in control until two of their key forwards had to go off with injuries. Titans play a hard, intensive, forward dominated game, and were clearly rattled early on when the Rishworthian pack was able to return everything that was thrown at them, with interest. Further injuries reduced Rishworthians to 14 playes and Titans numerical supeiority saw them run in 3 second half tries.

Rishworthians opened the scoring with a Matthew Cook penalty. Titans responded with fast, physical forward rushes, which were resolutely defended by Rishworthians. The forwards really stepped up to the mark in coping with the strongest pack they have yet come up against. Rishworthians responded with controlled aggression and indeed it was the Rishworthian pack that gained the early territory. Flanker Matthew Tyson was just held up over the Titans' goal line. From the ensuing scrum, three or four phases of possession were linked superbly by the forwards working strongly as a unit, leading to Reuben Pollard driving through fast and low for the opening try. Cook made the conversion.

From the kick off, Rishworthians took possession tidily on the left, and stand-off Matthew Hunt Brown made an incredible break from the back of the ruck, and swerved his way through and round a number of tackles to run in Rishworthians' second try, again converted by Cook.

With a 17 - 0 lead, it was unfortunate for Rishworthians that two of their key forwards had to withdraw with injuries. Michael Oswin and Tom McGuire had both been outstanding, really raising their levels of intensity and aggression to match and outperform the Titans' pack. Oswin had bravely stayed on after receiving a blow to the face, leaving him with significant bruising around the cheekbone. A subsequent shoulder injury left him with levels of pain which even he was unable to play through. Shortly afterwards, McGuire received an injury to the neck and back during a ruck, and despite spending most of the rest of the game trying to persuade his coach to put him back on, was plainly unfit to continue.

Titans found themselves in an unusual position of trailing by a significant margin, and made a forceful response. Despite strong defence, the Rishworthian pack was unable to prevent the Titans' forwards from driving in a try just before the break to leave the half-time score at 5 - 17.

Half time Rotherham Titans 5 - 17 Rishworthians

The second half was a different story. The strength of the Titans' forwards was telling, and led to an early score. Titans started to look capable of dominating the game, and for moments, Rishworthians did look disheartened, but actually rallied well to maintain the game's competitiveness to the last. Matthew Zientec, who had played out of position as a replacement forward, had to withdraw through injury. Thanks go to the Titans' replacement prop who stood in at front row. Things were not helped when winger Ryan Percival also had to leave the field through injury, and with all available replacements used, leaving only fourteen men on the pitch. Titans managed three further tries through sustained forward pressure, with two conversions, leaving the final score at 29 - 17.

Full time Rotherham Titans 29 - 17 Rishworthians

Titans are one of the strongest sides in the county, and it was regrettable that for over half the game, Rishworthians were forced to face them with key players off the field. Nevertheless, this was a creditable performance by Rishworthians. The early part of the game in particular, when both teams were at full strength, contained some of the fastest paced and intense forward encounters that any of us are likely to see in junior rugby.

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