Rotherham Titans gave an outstanding performance to beat Cornish Pirates 28-10 - by three tries to one - in Penzance, to boosted their chances of finishing in the top four and a place in the promotion play-offs.
Titans moved to fourth in the Championship table on 43 points-two points clear of Nottingham in fifth.
Driven forward by the excellent kicking game of fly half James McKinney who executed almost to perfection Rotherham’s game plan, Titans led 21-3 at the interval following first half tries by winger Curtis Wilson on 21 minutes and flanker Jack Preece seven minutes later.
McKinney also kicked three crucial penalties before the break, but it was the intelligent out-of-hand kicking by the Ulsterman that made sure the game was played for the most part in the Pirates’ territory in the opening period.
Rotherham’s forwards produced one of their best displays of the campaign.
The back row of Alex Rieder, Ben Morris and Preece stood out for the whole 80 minutes, and it was fitting that Rieder should score just before the final whistle as Rotherham’s forwards drove powerfully towards the Pirates’ posts to set up the third try.
What was also impressive about the performance and result, Rotherham’s second win on the trot, was the ferocious defending and tackling which let in only one Pirates try on 51 minutes.
For more than 20 minutes of a tense second half, Rotherham managed to defend their lead of 21-10 as the Pirates tried hard to break through and keep their hopes alive of finishing in the play-offs.
Late in the second half Pirates handed the ball over three times, and from a line out close to their opponents’ line, Rotherham’s forwards won the ball.
The pack’s momentum was unstoppable, and Rieder’s try in the 80th minute rounded off a first rate effort by Titans who have found their form at the right time.
As a delighted McKinney said: “We are now in fourth position and it is ours to hold on to with five games remaining. We were pragmatic and disciplined and we have managed two successive wins against two good sides in Yorkshire Carnegie and now Pirates.
“ We have had a couple of difficult months but we are now back in contention.”
Rotherham Titans: Scanlon, Keating, Gill, Davies, Wilson, McKinney, White, Hislop, Cruse, Tampin, Maddison, Robinson, Rieder, Preece, Morris. Replacements: Sowrey, Williams, Thiede, Holmes, Birch, Barrett, Cooke.
Scorers - Tries: Wilson, Preece, Rieder.Conversions:McKinney 2, Penalties: McKinney 3.