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Home > News > Coventry 21 Rotherham Titans 12
Your News Coventry 21 Rotherham Titans 12

Written by John Butler

Friday night rugby most certainly arrived at the Butts Park Arena and with it the honour for the Coventry club of staging the first ever Championship match.

Above all else though, the key element of this match was the final result. Cov duly achieved that in front of a decent sized crowd, although it has to be said they had to work pretty hard for it at times.

A win however against Yorkshire opponents who finished one place below the Blue and Whites last season was in every sense vital to set the season off on the right foot and to also to ensure a happy beginning to Friday evenings. And the Titans left without a bonus point.

At the end of the first quarter however things looked anything but promising, in the words of Rugby Director Phil Maynard ‘ the side had barely left the dressing room ‘. Indeed the Titans, who’s journey had been hampered by motorway delays which caused the kick off to be put back five minutes started far more positively with Cov hardly getting a hand on the ball. After 9 minutes a delicate chip from a line from scrum half Chivers saw Rotherham winger Wackett steal in for the first ever Championship try, the Whitehead conversion sailing wide.

will hurrell.jpg

Stunned finally into some sort of action, Coventry began to make inroads into the Rotherham half, Tommy Hayes with a penalty attempt missing from 40 metres in the tricky wind.

New French lock Ben Deschartres was then yellow carded for throwing a couple of punches and down to 14 men Cov continued to struggle to be put pattern to their game together.

Finally on 29 minutes having kept hold of better quality possession, Roth crept offside, Ben Russell stepping up to slot the penalty from 35 metres. Three minutes later Russell succeeded again from close in for 6 -5 following a Scott Roberts charge, a lead which probably should have changed again immediately had Whitehead not missed a 30 metre penalty attempt. Cov though in their new blue and white kit were to increase their lead before the break. It was Tommy Hayes who quite superbly set up his sides first Championship try breaking clean through the visiting defence and when held close in close in slipping the ball to Chris Lewis for his maiden club try, Russell converting for 13 -5 at half time.

ben russell.jpg

Early second half play saw Coventry territorially well in charge but as with periods in the first half spells of lengthy pressure close to the Rotherham line were constantly thwarted by solid defence. A Hayes drop goal after 46 minutes eased Cov to 16 -5 which became 21 -5 on 67 minutes. Rotherham replacement Dickinson had previously been yellow carded before after more home pressure the powerful Will Hurrell crossed wide out, Russell’s conversion just missing.

It was to prove to Cov’s last score and with Burrell breaking dangerously down the left Rotherham were able to keep pressure on and finally on the right replacement prop Quigley was driven over for White head to land an excellent conversion. After Hayes saw another drop goal attempt charged down the Titans sensed a chance to possibly secure a bonus point and they very nearly did, replacement West seeing his penalty attempt rebound off a post with the very last move of the game.


Coventry had however secured what they needed most, a vital win in this opening fixture. Secure enough in the end and surely a confidence booster before a difficult sequence of matches beginning with the visit to Bedford.

Coventry. Ben Russell, Will Hurrell, Phil Mackenzie, Chris Lewis, Romain Plantey, Tommy Hayes, Mike Walls, Dai Maddocks, Joe Merrigan, Scott Roberts, Arthur Brenton (Capt), Ben Deschartres, Henno Venter, Richie Bignell, Jamie Miller.

Replacements; Ross McMillan for Merrigan, Kevin Davis for Maddocks, Jamie Hall for Roberts, Louis McGowan for Deschartres, Nathan Jones for Walls, Drew Locke for Mackenzie.

Coventry; Tries Chris Lewis, Will Hurrell. Conversion; Ben Russell. Penalty goals; Russell 2, Drop goal; Tommy Hayes

Rotherham; Tries Peter Wackett, Colin Quigley. Conversion; Mike Whitehead.

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