Knights 30 – 22 Bedford
The Knights made it three wins on the spin with a determined victory over a dangerous Bedford Blues side at Castle Park.
It was a rather cagey affair at Castle Park with the outcome unknown until the dying moments. Both teams punished mistakes from the other and it was the visitors who held the lead until a gutsy finish from the Knights secured victory.
The first half started Doncaster’s way, the Knights looked on song and really tested the Blues who fell foul of the laws as they tried to contain the onslaught. Dougie Flockhart was happy to take the points on offer and opened the scoring with an on target penalty seven minutes in.
The Knights continued to test the Bedford defence with nippy phase play and the pressure resulted in more indiscipline. A series of penalties put the Knights in range and a well-secured line out set up an attacking platform in the visitors 22m. Possession was spun wide where Paul Jarvis collected it deep and carried at pace, the full back was stopped just short of the line but found Dougie Flockhart in support who dived over in the corner.
A frantic spell of play from the restart gave Bedford an immediate response. Second-row Glen Young split the defence with a charging down field carry and was brought down just over the halfway line. The Knights quickly tried to work the ball out wide but the hastiness cost them as a loose pass allowed Bedford fly-half Jake Sharp to intercept and break with the ball showing a clean pair of heels to score in the corner, 8-5.
Doncaster looked stunned following Sharp’s try and nearly gifted Bedford another shortly after. Pressure at the scrum forced a hurried pass from Michael Heaney that Lloyd Hayes was unable to take on his own five metre line only to be pounced on by scrum half Jordan Burns over the line. Play was brought back for off-side much to the relief of the home faithful.
Bedford finished the half playing with much more purpose than they had shown throughout the opening half an hour and made it pay late into the first half. After coming painfully close to weathering the Bedford storm, holding the ball up over the line on the 41st minute, no.8 Jason Hill was able to get over the try-line from the resulting scrum; 10-8 at the break.
The Knights returned from the dressing room in better shape. Quick clean ball from the forwards gave the likes of Mat Clark, Lloyd Hayes and Paul Jarvis good platforms to attack and it didn’t take long until a gap appeared. From a centerfield scrum Clark hit a fantastic line off Heaney which saw the midfielder sprint clear straight under the posts. Flockhart added a long range penalty not long after to put the Knights into an 18-10 lead.
Flockhart had a chance to extend the Donny lead further not long after the restart as he spearheaded an attack the really should have been swung wide into heavy traffic. Bedford were able to turn over possession and seized the opportunity to storm up the pitch, finally scoring after some sloppy defending let Ollie Dodge run through before passing to Tom Farrell who went under the post, 18-17.
The try knocked the Knights off their game and a degree of panic crept into the home play with the usually solid Doncaster defence all of a sudden looking porous. Full back Michael LeBourgeois was allowed to break, Mat Clark scrambled back to tackle but as the visitors recycled Clark was pinged for a ruck offense and sin binned.
Bedford punished Doncaster immediately, pushing a driving maul over the try-line; Substitute Jacob Fields with the try, 22-18.
With a man deficit and the clock against them the signs were bleak for the Knights. However, as has often been the case with this side, they produced some of their finest play with their backs to the walls.
A fine driving maul from the Knights pack rumbled downfield, crossing the 22m and heading towards the try line at a rate of knots. The Blues clambered to quell the drive and eventually did but gave up a penalty in the process which also saw back row Ben Adams yellow carded. It was now Doncaster’s turn to make use of the man advantage, shoving the home pack over the line with Latu Makaafi claiming the score at the back of the maul.
Victory, and a four-try bonus point, was secured just two minutes from time with a well-worked set play. Tyson Lewis took an inside ball from Simon Humberstone to race downfield, the winger then produced a well-timed a pass to the onrushing Jarvis who outstripped his coverage to get over in the corner. Dougie Flockhart added the extras with a fine conversion to end a profitable afternoon for the Knights.
Knights; 15. Paul Jarvis, 14. Dougie Flockhart, 13. Mat Clark, 12. Lloyd Hayes, 11. Tyson Lewis, 10. Declan Cusack (Simon Humberstone 69’), 9. Michael Heaney © (Sam Edgerley 69’), 1. Robin Hislop (Richard List 55’), 2. Harry Allen (Benjamin Hunter 58’), 3. WillGriff John (Colin Quigley 55’), 4. Dave Nolan (Matthew Challinor 75’), 5. Glen Young, 6. Latu Makaafi, 7. Beau Robinson, 8. Alex Shaw
Replacements; 16. Richard List 17. Ben Hunter 18. Colin Quigley 19. Matt Challinor 20. Sean Scanlon 21. Simon Humberstone 22. Sam Edgerley
Tries; Flockhart 20’, Clark 42’, Makaafi 72’, Jarvis 78’.
Conv; Flockhart 42’, 78’
Pens; Flockhart 7’, 49’
Blues; 15. Michael Le Bourgeois (c), 14. Pat Tapley, 13. Tom Farrell, 12. Ollie Dodge (Myles Dorrian 78’), 11. Dean Adamson, 10. Jake Sharp, 9. Jordan Burns, 1. Hayden Thompson-Stringer, 2. George Edgson (Jacob Fields 49’), 3. Dave Spelman (Billy Walker 49’), 4. Mike Howard, 5. Will Carrick-Smith, 6. Justin Blanchet, 7. Ben Adams, 8. Jason Hill (Josh Buggea 47’)
Replacements; 16. Jacob Fields, 17. Camilo Parilli-Ocampo, 18. Billy Walker, 19. Ed Taylor, 20. Josh Buggea, 21. Tom Whiteley, 22. Myles Dorrian
Tries; Sharp 21’, Hill 40’, Farrell 57’, Fields 61’
Conv; Sharp 57’
Written by Connor Hickinbottom.