Doncaster Knights fell to a disappointing defeat against Moseley, missing the chance to leapfrog their opponents in the Championship table, after a battling performance at a sunny Billesley Common.
Clive Griffiths’ side fought for the full 80 minutes, but failed to break down some bullish Moseley defence as they left the Midlands empty handed after holding the lions share of possession and territory.
Kevin Maggs’ Moseley opened the scoring after only a couple of minutes, referee Darren Gamage missing a blatant forward pass inside the Knights 22 to attack deep down the right hand channel.
The ball was recycled quickly as scrum-half Ryan Glynn pounced to dive over the whitewash next to the sticks for a home try. Glyn Hughes added the easiest of conversions as Doncaster made the worse possible start to the match.
Knights responded well though with a sustained period of pressure on the Moseley line. Rhys Buckley came closest to scoring when the powerful hooker was adjudged to have been held up over the line tailing the back of a rolling maul. For all the Knights pressure, they couldn’t convert into points and Moseley eventually forced the error and cleared their lines.
Doncaster continued to ask questions early on and again camped themselves in opposition territory for a long period of time, but once again failed to deliver points when well placed as they elected to go for touch instead of penalty goal shots.
Moseley extended their lead soon after when Hughes stepped up to kick a penalty from 30 metres out, after Connor Braid was penalised for not releasing when he was clearly obstructed by the referee who controversially decided against bringing play back.
From the resulting restart Will Hafu flew out of the line to charge down the Moseley clearing kick, but unluckily the ball bounced to the Moseley covering player instead of into the hands of the impressive openside flanker.
The Birmingham hosts went further ahead just before half time when Hughes kicked another penalty, this time Michael Keating had been harshly adjudged to have obstructed a kick through as the Knights felt the wrath of Gamage for not the first time this season and last. Although with the Doncaster scrum not functioning they found themselves playing in the wrong areas.
The Castle Park outfit continued to press in the final moments of the first period. They were awarded a number of penalties deep within the home team’s half as Adam Kettle and Hafu casued chaos in Moseley’s defensive line. The referee’s patience finally wilted as he judged the hosts to have committed one too many infringements as second row and captain Michael Powell received a yellow card for the team.
From the resulting penalty, Lennard kicked to within five metres of the Moseley line, but the line-out was lost and the ball was cleared into touch to end a disappointing half for Knights at 13-0.
Donny started the second half with more imputus and went close to scoring when Keating was quickest to a Lennard nudge, but he reached the ball at the same time as Oliver Thomas who deflected the ball into touch.
Knights soon got on the scoreboard through the boot of Lennard. Moseley penalised at the breakdown for illegal entry and hands in the ruck allowing Donny fly-half Lennard, who scored 18 points last time out against Leeds, to successfully kick the resulting penalty.
Moseley hit back and regained their 13 point lead just minutes later when the Doncaster scrum was penalised for illegally collapsing the set-piece as Hughes stepped up to slot his third penalty of the match.
Griffiths’ side responded well again and were camped deep within the Moseley 22, but once again couldn’t break the shackles and find the vital score. Debutant centre Will Sharp went close in the right corner, but after good covering defence the former rugby league player was bundled into touch.
Sharp was involved again when a neat offload to Kettle sent the number eight through a gap in the defence, but his pass inside was knocked on and once again Moseley were let off the hook when Knights were well placed.
Knights were awarded another penalty when Moseley were penalised for not rolling away at the tackle area. Lennard stepped up again to successfully kick the penalty from 30 metres out and bring Donny back to within ten points.
Moseley missed an opportunity to extend their lead when Hughes sliced an easy drop goal attempt from under the sticks to keep the Knights in the hunt.
Shortly after Lennard carved open the defence with some weaving running before offloading to the supporting runners, only for Mose to again halt the attack illegally and give Knights another simple penalty shot. The outside-half stepped up to kick the penalty and bring the Knights within a converted try of the home side, with over 15 minutes left in the game.
Doncaster then gifted Hughes the chance to extend the home lead and pull clear of the Knights, but the Northampton Saints dual registered place kicker pushed his penalty attempt wide from over 40 metres out.
Moseley did extend the lead soon after though, substitute Buster Lawrence bulldozing his way through a number of weak attempted Knights tacklers down the left wing to stroll in for his team’s second try and effectively seal the win. Oliver Thomas who had now taken over kicking duties added the conversion.
Knights pressured once more hoping to secure a losing bonus point, but they once again failed to break down a stubborn Moseley defence and eventually gifted a penalty which was cleared into touch to finish the game.
Griffiths’ Knights failed to secure the result they were looking for and now will be looking to bounce back in next Saturday’s all important South Yorkshire derby against Rotherham at Castle Park and certainly need all of your support.
Moseley: Thomas, Hunt, King, Carter, Robinson, Hughes (Davies 77), Glynn, Waller, Caves (Wilkes 39), Evans (Herriott 70), Lockley, Powell (Lawrence 58), Mason (Dickinson 63), Pons (Robinson 63), Pienaar.
Tries: Glynn 2, Lawrence 70.
Conv: Hughes 2, Thomas 70.
Pens: Hughes 32, 39, 45.
Yellow: Powell 37.
Doncaster Knights: Braid, Keating, Sharp (Mama 55), Luke, Lewis, Lennard, Bedford (Hallam 64), McGovern (Brown 60), Buckley, Cronin, Challinor (c), Parsons (Hoy 57), Kettle, Hafu (Sowery 68), Planchant (Boyde 57).
Pens: Lennard 42, 59, 62.
Referee: Darren Gamage
Written by Richard Hossack