The Knights held out for an exceptional 31-26 victory over rivals Yorkshire Carnegie as both sides contributed to a thrilling derby day clash at Castle Park.
It was an exhilarating tie between second and third place which went write down to the wire, the last fifteen minutes were filled with drama; sin-bins, tries – both scored and disallowed!
It looked like game over when Dougie Flockhart kicked a 68th minute penalty after the Knights scored a third try through Andy Bulumakau but the fourteen-point cushion reenergised the Leeds side who scored nine unanswered points to set up an incredibly nervy finish.
The Knights had to see out the final six minutes with thirteen men after Matt Challinor and Simon Humberstone were both shown yellow cards but despite the two-man deficit the Knights gave a shining example of game management and composure to secure the win.
Carnegie started the brighter of the two teams, working their way down the field and capitalising on some casual Donny handling to eventually earn themselves a line-out five metres from the Knights try line. The Yorkshire line out has been impressive all season long and showed its power again as a good rumble allowed the Harlequins bound Lewis Boyce to drive over from the back. 7-0
The Knights were quick to respond and played the better first half rugby from this point forward. Quick hands saw the ball whipped out wide to Andy Bulumakau who drew in his man before offloading to Tyson Lewis who looked to have expertly collected and touched down for a try. Unfortunately the replay showed the pass to Tyson was to be have been forward and a scrum was awarded to the visitors.
The pressure from the Knights continued and with Carnegie penned deep in their own half the attacking opportunities began to flow.
A yellow card for a deliberate knock on to Carnegie fly-half Joe Ford stretched the visitors further. Shortly after good line out ball was worked quickly to the backs with Simon Humberstone producing a fine show and go to ghost through the visitors defence and score under the posts – 7-7.
The Knights continued to press the Carnegie defence and were unfortunate to not breakthrough again in the first half, wingers Lewis and Flockhart caused no end of problems for the Carnegie backline with some powerful running but credit must go to Carnegie who defended masterfully.
Familiar front row trio Colin Quigley, Ben Hunter and Richard List enjoyed a fine afternoon in the tight and held the upper hand at scrum time throughout. A powerful drive just after the half hour mark gave Flockhart the opportunity to move his side into the lead for the first time and he did so with a well struck penalty.
Donny continued to press up until the interval and went very close with moments left in the half after Jack Ram set Michael Heaney in motion with a fine break from a midfield ruck. An accidental offside eventually killed the attack but from the resulting scrum the Knights took another penalty allowing Flockhart to make it 13-7 at the half.
A momentum swing came immediately after the half as Yorkshire shot out of the gates. Only moments after remerging from the changing rooms Carnegie were back ahead, winger Tom Arscott produced an impressive offload under heavy cover to release full back Chris Elder who did something very rarely seen at Castle Park and beat Paul Jarvis for pace to score in the corner. Ford’s conversion taking the score to 13-14.
The lead was short lived as Tyson Lewis demonstrated some fine handling at the restart to win back possession and then force a penalty which Flockhart dispatched to make it 16-14.
Doncaster looked more threatening as the half went on with the backline making inroads with the strong platform the pack were providing but Carnegie maintained a constant presence.
The next score felt like it would be telling and it proved to be the case as the Knights drew blood through Andy Bulumakau. A powerful run from Tyson Lewis put Donny on the front foot and in full flight Bulumakau produced a fine finish to weave through the Carnegie coverage and dive under the posts. Flockhart’s conversion hit the upright. 21-14
It was Bulumakau again just minutes later who added the Knights third try, the centre read play perfectly to intercept a stray Carnegie pass inside the visitors twenty-two and went under the posts, Flockhart this time getting the conversion. 28-14
The Knights were now in full control of the game and with just over ten minutes to go their only looked to be one winner especially after another Flockhart penalty made it 31-14 with time ticking away.
A lapse of concentration allowed Carnegie a route back into the game, the visitors scoring straight from the restart as Matt Smith collected the restart and broke powerfully before offloading to Josh Bainbridge who finished. 31-21
A momentum swing came with the try especially when Matt Challinor was sent to sin-bin for a trip. The Leeds side made the Knights pay immediately as Chris Elder ghosted through some lax tackles to put Carnegie a single try behind.
It was to get even worse for Doncaster who found themselves reduced to thirteen men shortly after. This time Humberstone was the man to go as the Standoff was shown a yellow for a deliberate knock on.
It looked like Carnegie had achieved what had seemed impossible just minutes earlier as Ford exploited the space left in the Knights back line to go over the whitewash completely untouched, fortunately the try was disallowed due to crossing.
With five minutes left on the clock the Knights needed to hold on to possession and agonisingly retained possession with countless pick and go carries through the forwards. Time seemed to stand still at Castle Park as the pack carried with ferocious intensity until eventually Dean Richards called time and Heaney punted to ball to touch for a superb victory.
Watch the extended highlights from the game below.
Replacements; 16. Jack Bergmanas, 17. Dave Nelson 18. Joe Sproston, 19. Dave Nolan, 20. Alex Shaw, 21. Sam Edgerley, 22. Dec Cusack.
Tries; Humberstone 16’, Bulumakau 54’, 64’
Conv; Flockhart 16’, 64’
Pens; Flockhart 33’, 39’, 46, 68’
Carnegie XV; 15. Chris Elder, 14. Jonah Holmes, 13. Pete Lucock (Andy Forsyth 47’), 12. Tom Casson, 11. Tom Arscott, 10. Joe Ford, 9. Alex Davies (Max Green 55’), 1. Lewis Boyce (Matt Beesley 64’), 2. Mike Mayhew, 3. Mike Cusack (Sione Faletau 55’), 4. Mike Myerscough, 5. Ben West, 6. Ollie Stedman (Josh Bainbridge 64’), 7. Richard Mayhew, 8. Ryan Burrows (c)
Replacements; 16. Phil Nilsen, 17. Matt Beesley, 18. Sione Faletua, 19. Matt Smith, 20. Josh Bainbridge, 21. Max Green, 22. Andy Forsyth.
The Knights are delighted to announce that Club-Captain Matt Challinor has re-signed for another season at Castle Park.
2017/18 will be Challinor’s eighth season with the Knights having joined from rivals Rotherham Titans back in 2010. Since his arrival, the Yorkshireman has become synonymous with the Club and central to much of the success achieved since.
The promotion winning campaign from National One was one of Chall’s finest as the talismanic lock scooped the Player’s Player of the Season award in a landslide vote and was rightly named in The Rugby Paper’s Team of the Year.
The 32-year was an ever-present in last season’s play-off final reaching campaign and his list of second-row partners at Castle Park is longer than the Concourse Bar.
This season Chall has already accrued 17 appearances and is sure to be a crucial figure in the Knights end of season run.
Matt has made over 180 appearances as a Knight meaning that his latest deal could see him join Glen Kenworthy and Dougie Flockhart in the Knights 200 club.
Challinor is the fifth Knight to sign a contract extension in the past two weeks, following new deals for Alex Shaw, Mat Clark, Paul Jarvis and Michael Heaney.
Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths says offering Chall a new deal was a no-brainer and is ecstatic to have the Knights hard man back on board.
Clive Griffiths and the Knights coaching staff have named an unchanged starting XV for the third game in a row as they host local rivals Yorkshire Carnegie at Castle Park on Sunday [March 19th].
Paul Jarvis runs out for his 100th appearance as a Knight starting at fullback, as he has in every Championship game so far this season. Dougie Flockhart and Tyson Lewis continue on the wings with Andy Bulumakau hoping to extend his impressive strike rate versus the Leeds side partnering Lloyd Hayes in midfield.
Simon Humberstone and Michael Heaney are preferred as the half-back pairing.
Front row stalwarts Richard List, Ben Hunter and Colin Quigley line up at 1,2,3 with Matt Challinor and Glen Young in the engine room, Aaron Carpenter keeps his place in the back row with Jack Ram and skipper Michael Hills on the flanks.
There are two changes to the Knights bench as a five/two forward back split is preferred. Front row cover is provided by Jack Bergmanas, Joe Sproston and Falcons dual-registered hooker Dave Nelson with Dave Nolan and Alex Shaw making up the forward replacements.
Offering cover to the backs are Declan Cusack, who scored the Knights only points in the reverse at Headingley, and the ever-versatile Sam Edgerley.
Kick off on Sunday is 15:00, online tickets are available for purchase until 13:00 today and you can get yours here.
The boss previews this Sunday’s crucial derby clash versus Yorkshire Carnegie. [March 19th 15:00]
It’s not just County pride at stake as the Knights welcome second place Carnegie to Castle Park on Sunday and Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths says he’ll have no issue motivating his charges for this one.
With a bumper crowd anticipated and the Sky cameras rolling into town Griff discusses the game with DKTV.
Tickets are still on sale now but selling fast get yours here.
The Academy play in their first fixture since lifting the BUCS Conference Plate last Wednesday as they look to finish strongly in their final two league appearances.
As well as a phenomenal ammount of on field success the Academy has also been host to one of the most inspiring rugby stories you are likely to come across in Sam Jones.
The 18-year-old back-row has endured an trying yet incredible season as the former England Counties Under 18s star battled back from a rare form of cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma to star for the Academy.
Check out, Doncaster Knights media intern, Connor Hickinbottom’s piece on the 18-year-old shot after the side’s Plate semi-final win.
There will be no public parking at Castle Park for this Sunday’s game with Yorkshire Carnegie.
With SKY TV occupying the main tarmac car park & limited space on the Woodside pitch there will be no public parking on site this Sunday.
Provisions are in place for two offsite car parks.
The first is at Outwood Academy Danum which is located a couple of hundred metres from Castle Park and is clearly signposted from Armthorpe Road. (£3.00 per car)
The second is Armthorpe Academy, situated just one mile from Castle Park, on Mere Lane – Armthorpe. From here we will run a Park and Ride shuttle bus service with the first departure leaving Armthorpe Academy at 12:00 running continuously until 15.00 hrs with return journeys running from 17.00 to 18.30 . The cost of parking and a return ticket on the bus is £5 per car.
The number 81 & 82 bus services, which run along Armthorpe Road past Castle Park, also pick up and drop off outside the Academy on Mere Lane.
This Wednesday Doncaster Phoenix RUFC host an evening with former British and Irish Lion second row Doddie Weir.
Following the success of last year’s event with Gareth Chilcott providing the post dinner entertainment; Castle Park’s Doncaster Phoenix are now inviting all to join them for an evening with rugby great Doddie Weir on Wednesday March 15th.
Proceedings will commence at 7pm with a three-course meal followed by entertainment from the Scotland, Newcastle Falcons and Lions lock as well as local comedian Gary Marshall.
The cost of the evening is £35 per head with tables of 10 or 12 available, all profits raised will go to Doncaster Phoenix club funds.
For further information please contact Phoenix Vice Chairman Scott Plevey by calling 07770985231 or emailing email@example.com or to book you place(s) please complete and return this contact sheet.
Ben Hunter gives his opinions on last weekend’s win away at London Scottish and looks ahead to facing off against Yorkshire Carnegie in just over a week’s time at Castle Park.
Despite a comprehensive scoreline at The Athletic Ground on Saturday Ben believes there is still plenty of room for improvement and with all the talk of play-offs and the league table that the Knights remain focussed on taking each game as it arrives.