Jersey Reds 22-10 Doncaster Knights.
The Knights challenge for the British & Irish Cup is over having lost out to an impressive Jersey side in today’s quarter final.
In the Jersey wind and drizzle Donny never really asserted themselves on the Reds who outscored them by four tries to two
The early signs weren’t great with the Reds definitely beginning brighter and subjecting the Knights to a barrage of early attacks. Resilient and hard working defensive play prevented early scores and having ridden the early pressure the Knights began to get a feel for the game and got particular purchase from their driving lineout.
One midfield penalty gave the pack a chance to assert themselves from a deep lineout and they did just that; winning another penalty just outside the Jersey 22m. Humberstone turned down the points, went to the corner and seemed to have found a way over the line but not quite and possession was tied up with the result a Jersey pen.
A questionable scrum penalty against the Donny pack put the Reds in range and having secured possession the Reds quickly went through the phases. After some impressive, but exhausting, defence scrum half Keiran Hardy produced a smart show and go at the base of a ruck to scarper over the line. Cope converted, 7-0.
The Knights looked better after the opening score and continued to threaten with the driving line out and, as the clock ticked towards forty minutes, you would argue that a seven- point lead was reflective of proceedings. Unfortunately, the Reds had had other ideas and bagged another score on the stroke of half time.
Another questionable scrum penalty was followed a slightly harsh penalty against Alex Shaw for a high tackle. The Knights managed to spoil the line out but, at the resulting scrum, lose possession was collected by the Reds shifted promptly.
Spotting a two on one out wide Cope sent a cross field kick to the right corner. Against double coverage Charlie Foley could not gather possession with Tom Pincus claiming the ball and the score. Cope could not convert making the half time score 12-0.
The Knights started the second period brightly and created a genuine chance just moments after the restart.
A well-placed kick ahead from Simon Humberstone was chased down by Curtis Wilson who got hold of Scott Van Breda within a metre of his own try line. Donny players flooded the ruck but the Reds got back just in time to retain possession and clear.
The Knights account was opened shortly after however, as Dougie Flockhart elected to go at goal with a penalty on the half way line. The winger struck it low and hard and the ball sailed through the uprights to cut the lead to single figures.
Unfortunately, this was as good as it got for Donny who suffered a string of in-game injuries which caused visible disruption to elements of the side’s play. This said, discipline proved to be the team’s real undoing with the final penalty count looking rather unfavorable.
Scrum half Hardy scored his second of the game around the hour mark, capitalizing on some creative line out play to take an inside ball and race through a hole in the Donny formation. Then Skipper Nick Selway but the tie beyond doubt with ten minutes to go.
A series of pressure, mostly the result of penalties against, put the Reds in the corner and the hooker dropped over the line to make it 22-3.
Credit must go to the Donny boys who showed no lack of commitment in the tie and found a way through in the dying moments.
A nice break down the left hand side from Tyson Lewis was moved in field and from there the forwards ground out the hard yards. Having got to within in a metre a penalty went the Knights way, the pack held it in themselves to maul over the line with Ben Hunter finishing it off. Flockhart added the extras and moments later the game was called to a close.
A tough pill to swallow for the Knights who now need to dust themselves down and focus on a challenging end of season run in back in the Championship.
Knights XV: 15) Charlie Foley (Curtis Langdon 69’), 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Lloyd Hayes, 12) Mat Clark (Tyson Lewis 54’), 11) Curtis Wilson, 10) Simon Humberstone, 9) Michael Heaney (Tom James 59’), 1) Richard List (Owen Evans 55’), 2) Ben Hunter, 23) Colin Quigley (Joe Sproston 59’), 4) Matt Challinor ©, 5) Tom Hicks (Nick Civetta 53’), 6) Alex Shaw (Jason Hill 59’), 7) Jack Ram 8) Josh Tyrell.
Replacements: 16) Curtis Langdon, 17) Owen Evans, 18) Joe Sproston, 19) Nick Civetta, 20) Jason Hill, 21) Tom James, 22) Tyson Lewis.
Tries; Hunter 79’
Conv; Flockhart 79’
Pens; Flockhart 53’
Jersey Reds XV; 15) Scott Van Breda, 14) Tom Pincus, 13) Apakuki Ma’afu (George Eastwell. 75’), 12) Mark Best, 11) Jason Worrall, 10) Brendan Cope, 9) Kieran Hardy (Joel Dudley 79’), 1) Jake Woolmore (Roy Godfrey 68’), 2) Nick Selway (Jared Saunders 71’), 3) Jake Armstrong (Leeroy Atalifo 65’), 4) Jerry Sexton, 5) Rory Bartle (Uili Kolo’ofa’I 74’), 6) Max Argyle, 7) Conor Joyce (Jake Upfield 75’), 8) Matt Rogerson
Replacements: 16) Jared Saunders, 17) Roy Godfrey, 18) Leeroy Atalifo, 19) Uili Kolo’ofa’i, 20) Jake Upfield, 21) Joel Dudley, 22) George Eastwell.
Tries; Hardy 25’, 58’, Pincus 40’, Selway 70’
Conv; Cope 26’,
Referee: Joy Neville