Earth Titans 58 Pertemps Bees 20

Defeat for Pertemps Bees in this fixture was as certain as night following day.

With Phil Maynard's battered squad harbouring the worst injury situation the director of rugby has seen in 20 years, bids to rearrange this fixture were in vain.

However, after an impressive first-half performance and just a ten-point gap, there was some indication that a fairytale result could come true.

But those hopes turned out to be nothing more than an April Fool as the hinges on the floodgates started to creak and six tries soon came crashing in.

"In the first-half, we played really well and stuck to it, but we just didn't have the capacity to cope with another big second-half performance," said Maynard.

"With the amount of people we were putting on, we were always going to be in trouble. You can't come to Rotherham with two short on the bench and expect anything."

Bees' hopes weren't boosted any further by the shoulder injury prop Rob Hardwick picked up in the pre-match warm-up, meaning Jason Hobson made an unexpected start.

The weary visitors could have and should have left Clifton Lane with a try-scoring bonus point. Both sides were tied at two tries at the break but two conversions and two penalties handed Titans the advantage.

Winger Gareth Brear and blind-side flanker Scott Donald crashed over on three and 15 minutes respectively for Rotherham. Despite playing against the wind, Bees managed to answer each score with tries from captain Jim Jenner and Matt Long.

Titans' Mike Whitehead successfully slotted away his kicks but his opposite number, Tim Walsh, didn't have the same success.

The Bees fly-half has not been offered a contract for next season and was relieved of his kicking duties when Ben Harvey took to the field for Tom Beim on 30 minutes.

Rotherham's squad has been attracting its fair share of Premier-ship scouts and many of their stars are set to make the step up next season. One example was No 8 Chris Hala'ufia, the Harlequins-bound player who terrorised Bees' defence with some testing charges.

Harvey slotted over a penalty for the away side on 42 minutes but from there-on, the extra energy in the full-timers' legs started to take its toll on Bees who were hit with six hammer blows.

Jannie Bornman started the rout on 48 minutes before Donald, Tom Allen, Joe Bedford and Lodewyk Strauss carried in further tries in a 22-minute spell. Whitehead managed to add the extras on three of those efforts.

Walsh made amends for his earlier kicking mishaps with a converted try on 73 minutes to raise hopes of a bonus point. The deserved point failed to arrive, however, and Hala'ufia delivered the final knock-out punch with a deserved converted score on the stroke of full-time.

"They were better conditioned and fitter than us, which you would expect because they do it every day of the week," added Maynard.