Rotherham Titans 18 Ealing 23: Narrow defeat despite best performance of season against high-flying Ealing

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Rotherham Titans put in their best display of the season but fell just short as high-flying Ealing ran out 23-18 winners at Clifton Lane.

But Titans did collect a well-deserved bonus point and on another day may well have secured all four points for the win.

So many individuals did well for Titans, but scrum half Will Porter was man of the match as he scored two tries to cap off a fine individual performance.

Ealing moved the ball quickl and it took the just five minutes to breach the whitewash as second rower Harry Casson barged over from close range. Shane O’Leary tagged on the extras for a 7-0 lead.

But Rotherham had an energetic look about them and their intensity combined with good line speed repeatedly stopped the Trailfinders. Titans were rewarded on 11 minutes when fly half Caolan Ryan knocked over a fine penalty in the difficult blustery conditions.

Better was to come for Rotherham moments later when turnover ball in midfield was quickly fed out wide to Drew Cheshire. He made 30 plus metres downfield before offloading back inside to Will Porter who glided over to nudge Titans ahead. Ryan’s conversion made it 10-7.

Ealing retook the lead just after the half hour as Championship veteran Mark Bright crashed over for an unconverted try, following an Ealing scrum five metres out.

Rotherham continued to put on the pressure and just two minutes before half time Caolan Ryan added his second penalty of to edge the home side 13-12 up.

Unfortunately for Rotherham with the last play of the half Ealing scored a thrilling breakaway try through Will Harries.

Rotherham came out for the second half in determined fashion but Ealing’s replacement fly half Peter Lydon scored next with a fine penalty kick to stretch his side’s advantage to 20-13.

On the hour Titans came storming back as first Drew Cheshire found some space down the right hand side before finding Yiannis Loizias in support. The outside centre showed great pace before being tackled close to the line, but as he was tackled he popped the ball to Porter who collected nicely to dash over for his second try. Unfortunately Ryan missed the difficult conversion from out wide which would have levelled the scores.

In the closing stages both sides pressed with great intent, but two minutes into injury time Lydon who knocked over his second penalty to give Ealing the match.

Titans coach Andy Key said: “We can be pleased with our performance and we’ve been working on that for the last few weeks in terms of building on our performances. We know there was a couple of opportunities out there that we missed, including conceding a silly try on the stroke of half time and that’s the thing with these better sides, you make one mistake and they take advantage of it.

“However, I can only applaud the performance from our guys and how deep they dug in during the game. They now know that is the minimum standard that we have to maintain.”