Knights 15-50 Saracens.
Doncaster Knights suffered a first defeat of the 2021 Championship season but far from disgraced themselves against an all-star Saracens side packed with international talent.
Indeed, few Premiership sides would have fancied their chances against the the squad which saw Owen Farrell return for his first game since being made Club Captain; along with all his England teammates.
The game began at a frantic pace and the opening exchanges were highly physical with both sides trading shots. It was Donny who looked the brighter and their early endeavour was rewarded on the 10-minute mark as Sam Olver hit a penalty from 35 metres – 3-0.
This seemed to spark Saracens in to life, and virtually straight from the kick-off they responded with the opening try of the match.
Billy Vunipola quickly tapped a free-kick and drew in a number of defenders, before Owen Farrell’s flat pass to Elliott Obatoyinbo created an overlap on the right hand side which allowed Alex Lewington to dive over in the corner. Farrell’s conversion dropped wide 3-5.
Sarries quickly doubled their score through Sean Maitland who finished powerfully after Farrell had found space with an inch-perfect grubber kick that popped up neatly for the Scotland international.
Donny continued to battle and matched their opposites at the set piece but, after Elliott Obatoyinbo was held up in goal by Guido Volpi, Maro Itoje leaped through a goal line ruck to score his third Championship try.
The visitors got the bonus point just before the break and courtesy of some fine rugby.
Nick Tompkins made a smart break down field, good cover defence brought him down just short, but then the promptly passed through several hands for Michael Rhodes to dot down & Farrell’s touchline conversion meant the half time score was 3-22.
The visitors pulled away early in the second half as scrum half Aled Davies dotted down twice before replacement hooker Tom Woolstencroft crashed over at the back of a well-formed driving line out. Manu Vunipola’s conversion made it 3-43 with fifteen minutes to go and things looked like they could get a bit ugly.
Donny were resilient until the last and were rewarded with two nice tries in the final 10 minutes.
A patient series of attacks drew a sequence of penalties out of the guests which moved us deep in to the 22m. From there Jack Davies drover over from close range post line out, McBryde converted.
Jack Spittle cut the deficit further as he linked up superbly with Charlie Foley and James Newey to counter attack and score the Knights second from range.
With time almost up there was almost as third as Kyle Evans, who enjoyed a fine afternoon, broke down field.
The wing fended off several challenges before being hauled down and at a messy breakdown the ball was hacked downfield. Replacement scrum half Tom Whiteley set off after it and beat George Roberts in a foot race to score & end the game.
Plenty for the Knights side to be very positive about with the score line flattering the former European Champs. The Knights must now dust themselves down and prepare to face Richmond next weekend.