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Home > News > Coventry 31 Rotherham Titans 32
Your News Coventry 31 Rotherham Titans 32

Saturday 14th March 2009

Written by John Butler

View match shots by following the link below.

Somehow snatching defeat from the potential jaws of victory, Coventry ultimately slid to a disappointing and in many ways quite extraordinary defeat at the Butts Park Arena.

From relative comfort at half time after an acceptable first half, Cov took their foot off the pedal in the second half to lose composure and concentration as Rotherham, growing in confidence ran in four second half tries to totally dominate the last half hour.

Once again playing with the elements appeared to do neither side any great favours as both halves were largely dominated by the team playing into a strong wind.

Cov chose to play into those elements, but early play was scrappy and fragmented, with early penalties conceded both ways. A George Dixon break on 11 minutes after an inside pass from Tommy Hayes should have brought more, the Cov centre electing go alone rather than passing only to see the move break down. It was not long though before Coventry confirmed their early dominance.

After 14 minutes following two close in scrums, Laurie Mc Glone being held up after the first, scrum half Mike Walls shot over for his second try of the season and that on his birthday, for Ronnie Mc Lean to convert for 7 -0. Four minutes later it got even better, for after Rotherham lost possession near half way, Henno Venter picked up and with the move moving right, Tommy Hayes showed his class to shoot through a gap to cross after a 40 metre break, the conversion just failing.

Within three minutes though three points were pretty needlessly conceded, Cov getting offside after a Walls up and under held up in the wind, Whitehead slotting the Rotherham penalty from 40 metres for 12 -3. The visiting fly half subsequently pulled wide another 30 metre penalty attempt 10 minutes later, before on 36 minutes Rotherham scored their first try in on what their first meaningful attack on the Cov line. From a close in, scrum half Chivers darted in for the try, Whitehead failing to convert.

Before half time though there was another glimpse of Cov in a positive mood. First the excellent Lee Parry made a telling break into the Rotherham 22 before being tap tackled, only for one minute Laurie Mc Glone to pick up and drive over for his 10th try of the season, McLean converting for 19 -8 at half time and all seemed happy.

Early second half signs were similar, some three minutes of pressure being applied on the visitors before a long clearance out of defence from Claassens saw Ronnie Mc Lean forced to rescue a dangerous situation.

A minute later Rotherham produced an excellent move, centre Briers making the last 25 metres for Whitehead to convert for 19 -15.

Cov though still appeared to have enough in hand, Mc Glone stealing possession on 51 minutes, Lee Parry doing to rest with a great run down the right to cross for the bonus point sealing try. Mc Lean converted with a great kick and at 26-15 normality appeared to have returned.

Not so. Within 11 minutes 26-15 became 26-25 as Rotherham realising that straight running and swift transfers were stretching Cov saw them burst through for tries from full back Hunt and winger Feeley, both tries being unconverted ,but all of a sudden the blue and whites were in trouble. It could have been worse, Rotherham losing possession almost in the act of scoring and replacement Tom Slater being forced into a try saving tackle within moments of coming on.

Then on 38 minutes with the visitors now dominating up front, Feeley was able to cross for his second try, Whitehead converting for 26-32.

Finally realising they had all but blown it, Cov then mounted a late rally, nine minutes into injury time the elusive Parry crossing for his second and Coventry’s fifth try. 31-32 and Ronnie Mc Lean charged with the task of trying to land the conversion from half way out. The attempt sailed agonisingly wide for referee Taylorson to subsequently blow after 12 minutes of injury time.

In reality that missed conversion should not have mattered a jot. The match which should have been sewn up shortly after half time was not and a high price paid. Two points achieved, but very definitely three there for the taking, lost.

Coventry. Ben Toft, Lee Parry, George Dixon, Donovan Sanders, Ronnie Mc Lean, Tommy Hayes, Mike Walls, Ricky Whitehall, Chris Whitehead, Rudi Brits, Sam Herrington, Carl Burgess, Henno Venter (Capt), Darren Clayton, Laurie McGlone.

Replacements; Stewart Pearl for Whitehead, Rob Dugard for Brits, Ollie Atkinson for Burgess, David Lyons for Herrington, Ollie Winter for Hayes, Tom Slater for Walls, Ben Pons for Venter.

Coventry. Tries; Lee Parry 2, Mike Walls, Tommy Hayes, Laurie McGlone. Conversions;Ronnie McLean 3

Rotherham. Tries; Jon Feeley 2, Neil Chivers, Chris Briers, Brad Hunt. Conversions; Mike Whitehead 2. Penalty goal; Whitehead.

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