Friday, April 4, 2014

News: Titans turfed out

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Rotherham Titans, the town's rugby club, has played its last home game in the borough this season.

Following an excellent Championship season so far, the Titans currently sit comfortably in the playoff positions for the Rugby Premiership. Were the club to gain promotion back into the premiership, its ground would need to meet strict criteria set by the RFU, the governing body for the sport in England. The Titan's current home at Clifton Lane (pictured) does not, and development would be difficult.

Now, the club has said that the "terms and conditions, financial and otherwise" required by Rotherham Town Cricket Club, the other team who play home games at the site on the edge of Rotherham town centre, has made it impossible to stage the remaining games at Clifton Lane.

With the cricket season due to start soon, the Titans have a crunch match with rivals Leeds Carnegie on April 19 and hopefully a play-off fixture on the weekend of May 10/11.

Nick Cragg, chairman of Rotherham Titans, said: "We are very sad that our final home fixture of the current season and the Play-Off fixtures in May will not take place in Rotherham.

"With the success of the boys on the park comes significant interest in our fortunes and our game will be televised live on Sky. Reluctantly we have been obliged to move the game to Sheffield Rugby Club where they have graciously agreed to stage both the April 19 and May 10 fixtures."

The situation echoes that of Rotherham United, the town's football club, who played home matches at the now demolished Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield after leaving Millmoor in 2008.

Earlier in the season, Mansfield Town Football Club confirmed that it was in "the negotiations stage" over the possibility of Rotherham Titans playing their home matches at its One Call Stadium next season.

The use of Rotherham United's former home, Millmoor, to stage home matches for the Rotherham Titans looks unlikely after "a commercially viable solution could not be found." Talks took place in 2011 between Rotherham Rugby Club, Rotherham Council and ground owners, CF Booth Ltd.

Rotherham United moved into a new £20m stadium on the edge of the town centre in 2012.

The remaining Titans fixtures for this season are now set to be played at Abbeydale in Sheffield with question marks remaining over a home venue for next season. Oakwell in Barnsley is being put forward as an alternative.

Clifton Lane has long been a sporting venue in Rotherham, having been the original home to Rotherham Town Football Club in 1882. Ironically, difficulties with the tenancy agreement from the cricket club meant that Town had to move in 1891.

When Clifton Lane was sold to the newly formed Rotherham Athletic Company in 1905, three of the vendors were cricket representatives, hence why the lease seems to favour the cricket team.

Whilst Rotherham Town Cricket Club has made no official comment, a post on its Facebook page this morning said: "Two sides to every story, or in the case of Clifton Lane, three - Town, Titans and our landlords, Rotherham Athletic Company. Maybe we'll find someone to fight our corner against the "big" bullies across the field."

Rotherham Titans website
Rotherham Town Cricket Club

Images: Rotherham Titans

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