EARTH TITANS v MOSELEY, National League Division 1, at Earth Arena,
Clifton Lane, Saturday, November 25, 2006, KO 2.00 pm
The Moseley squad and travelling support journey to Clifton Lane, Rotherham
They will be very pleased they are not going to Millmoor, Rotherham United
Association Football Club’s ground, where Rotherham played in 2002-3 in
National 1 and defeated Moseley by a League club record of 102-3.
So with a change of surroundings, a more rugby type environment, there is no
need for that memory to be re-ignited, but rather the memory of Moseley’s
victory 16-10 there in January 1998 when Moseley were in administration.
DAN HARRIS scored Moseley’s try and MATT JONES converted, kicked two
penalties and dropped a goal. And of course it resurrects memories of
DARRAGH O’MAHONY’S silky running. Winger MARTIN DAWSON scored Rotherham’s
two tries and, for once, SIMON BINNS did not score against Moseley!
In ancient days
Rotherham town is a place where history abounds. Founded in 937, it is 1069
years old and its 15th century church dominates All Saints Square, a
pleasant pedestrianised spot. On the hill above the church and town lies
Clifton Park, 56 acres of land and flowers amongst which stand pillars and
stones from the nearby Roman settlement of Temple borough.
To the south of the park lies Clifton Lane and the home of Rotherham Rugby
Football Club and up the hill from the ground lies Clifton Park Museum and
Art Gallery where the history of Rotherham is recorded illustrating the role
of the museum in preserving the local heritage.
A far cry from its later industrial history and the steel industry e.g. Park
Gate Steel Works.
Please note the directions to Clifton Lane Sports Ground. They are
complicated like everything else unless you know it! It is now of course
called Earth Arena in deference to Rotherham’s sponsors Earth Mortgages with
which Rotherham signed a sponsorship deal immediately on their return to
National 1 from the Premiership in 2004-5.
Their sponsorship with Titan Electronics took place when they went into the
Premiership for the second time in 2003-4 – hence the name with classical
mythology allusions Earth Titans.
The writer does not know what changes have been made to make Clifton Lane
into an Arena, if any, but he remembers Clifton Lane as a very hospitable
rugby club. There’s a clubhouse with sponsors’ facilities and a main
clubroom with a large bar and refreshment counter which reflects typical
Yorkshire hospitality, home-made steak and ale pies, etc at very reasonable
prices and a very extensive menu.
The sponsors’ room has long glass windows, as does the whole front of the
building and there is a conservatory in front with entertainment facilities,
a good place to watch the game from the back of the goal.
There is a small covered stand, but at the time the writer was last there
when Rotherham’s fortunes were on the up, you had to drag yourself away from
the camaraderie at the bar early to get a seat. It was otherwise all open
terracing on both sides. In short, it was a typical rugby club.
It will be interesting to see what changes have been made, but the whole
character of the ground would have to be changed to bring it up to
Premiership criteria which would also include the move of Rotherham Town
The cricket square is roped off by the boundary of the rugby pitch and in
the corner on the opposite side to the stand is the cricket pavilion, but
now that the cricket and rugby seasons are no longer clearly defined and
infiltrate into each other, there are problems at both ends of the
respective seasons. There is, however, an athletics stadium nearby, the
adaptation of which has possibilities.
Rotherham, founded in 1923, a young club by rugby standards, have achieved
wonders in their climb up the League ladder since starting in North East One
However, the last seven seasons have been topsy-turvy, two promotions, two
relegations and three seasons in National 1, including one when they were
denied promotion because Clifton Lane did not meet the criteria required by
They were rescued by supporters, Rotherham Council and local businesses
after relegation from the Premiership in 2003-4. Stability was achieved with
the Titans finishing 8th in 2004-5 and 4th last season behind NEC
Harlequins, Bedford, Penzance and Newlyn, now Cornish Pirates.
Last season saw the arrival of new chief executive and head coach, South
African ANDRE BESTER, formerly head coach of Bedford Harlequins and
Ballymena. He was able to make 27 new signings in 2003-4 after many players
had left the club since being relegated from the Premiership.
They achieved a very creditable 4th place, reflecting strongly on the very
excellent methods of Bester and his coaches in blending a squad and
engendering team spirit. They won 15 and drew one of their 26 games.
Andre Bester overhauled his squad again this season with about 15 new
signings to add to 21 players retained.
The Irish, Celtic influence is still there with new signings that include
fly-half GARETH STEENSON from Dungannon, who is their leading points scorer
this season with 95, winger BRYAN TUOHY from Shannon their leading try
scorer with nine, centre BRENDAN BURKE from Leinster, centre BERNARD
HENNESSY and scrum-half JAMIE BLACKWOOD, both from Watsonians.
In the pack, there is No. 8 MICHAEL McCORMISH from Ballymena and lock ERIC
LUND from Sedgley Park and No 8. BARRY JACOBZ from Bradford and Bingley. The
captain is flanker NEIL COCHRANE signed last season from Watsonians.
Moseley and Earth Titans met last season at Billesley in the Powergen
National Trophy in Round 6, the Titans winning 29-13 scoring tries by all
three of their back row, SCOTT DONALD, now with Esher, and South Africans
HENRIE FOURIE and No 8 JANNIE BORMAN, hooker NIGEL CONROY from Shannon and
lock LOUIS McGOWAN from Belfast Harlequins. Full-back MIKE WHITEHEAD signed
from London Welsh converted two.
PAUL COX scored a try for Moseley in the first half and ADAM CAVES in the
second. OLLIE THOMAS kicked a first-half penalty.
After being caught cold early on giving the Titans a 10-point start Moseley
gave a good account of themselves. The Titans were defeated by Exeter 23-8
in the quarter-final.
The two clubs met again in the opening match of this season, once again at
Billesley. On that occasion, the Titans won 35-13, both sides having to
combat the Billesley Blow, the wind howling straight down the pitch.
Moseley, with the wind at their backs, had a 13-7 half-time lead, thanks to
a try by DAREN O’LEARY and a conversion and two penalties from OLLIE THOMAS.
The defining moment came when NEIL MASON was sin-binned after 35 minutes and
just on half-time No 8 BARRY JACOBZ forced himself over close-in, with MIKE
The lead was not enough, which was proved immediately after the interval
when wingers SHOUAN SMITH and TOM ALLEN scored tries and full-back BRENDAN
BURKE finished off a fine move going over unopposed from 20 metres out.
WHITEHEAD converted all three tries. An inevitable penalty try was converted
by GARY STEENSON.
Moseley had had their first lesson of what to expect in National 1. This in
addition to have to cope with Africaans calls from a side that had a strong
South African (and Irish) influence.
Earth Titans are lying 4th in National 1 after last week’s 34-32 win at
Bedford. STEENSON contributed 14 points and kicked a late winning penalty.
Flanker HENDRIC FOURIE scored two tries, No 8 MIKE McCORMISH one and there
was also a penalty try,
Titans have won nine and lost three games, but have gained 11 bonus points
from 11 games played.
Their defeats have been at home to Cornish Pirates and away to Plymouth
Albion, two main promotion rivals, and away to Exeter Chiefs, with a losing
bonus point in each. They will meet second-placed Leeds for the first time
at the end of December.
Moseley, in this period of playing top teams, must remain positive with
optimism of better days to come when they play the semi-professional sides.
Last week’s 5-50 defeat by Plymouth Albion, who scored 40 points in the
second half, was their heaviest of the season against a super-efficient
squad whose only blemish was being reduced to 13 men at one stage.
Moseley had their chances, especially early on when they played well, but
they are finding it difficult to maintain their standard when playing
fully-professional sides. However, they must be ready to seize opportunities
when they do come, as come they will. Perhaps on Saturday – who knows?
Saturday’s visit to Clifton Lane will not be easy for Moseley. Memory tells
the writer it is not an easy ground to play on, being not as wide as some
and open-sided with not a lot of protection from the elements.
However, Yorkshire hospitality will abound – off the pitch at least!
Earth Arena, Clifton Lane, Rotherham S60 2SN
From the M1 - M1 exit 33 onto Rotherway, at the roundabout turn right onto
A631 marked Bawtry. Go straight ahead at Whiston traffic lights onto the
dual carriageway. At the next roundabout, turn left onto B6410 (Broom Lane)
then left onto A6021 (Broom Road). In 1/2 mile there is a roundabout, turn
right into Badsley Moor Lane. The clubhouse is the second entrance on right.
From the clubhouse entrance, take the next turning on the right (Badsley
Street South). After 100 yards or so, bear left into the grounds of the
Herringthorpe Pavilion. The car park is beyond the pavilion.
Half time challenge
The Earth Titans inaugural ‘half-time cross
bar challenge’ will take place this Saturday as Moseley visit Rotherham.
Moseley supporters have been invited to participate in the event.
At half-time, 3 supporters plus a “celebrity supporter” from each team will
be invited onto the pitch. Each contestant will be given 3 kicks at goal.
Anyone hitting the crossbar once wins £50, twice wins £100 and a hat-trick
wins £500. The event will be compared by Chris Walker from Coronation
Street. (Players must HIT the crossbar to win).
We have been asked to provide the names of 3 supporters (and a celebrity?!)
who are going to take part, by Friday (24th).
If you would like to participate – email us email@example.com
including your name address and (preferably) mobile telephone number.
We’ll let the ‘lucky’ winners know by Friday.
Obviously you must be intending to go to the game and the lucky 3 (+ plus a
celeb will meet at the Player’s Entrance to the pitch 5 minutes before
It’s all just a bit of good fun to keep everyone entertained at half-time,
but there’s the chance to win some real cash.