All square at The Athletic Ground
20th March 2015
London Scottish 13 Doncaster Knights 13
Despite the respective league standings, this Friday evening fixture at the Richmond Athletic Ground saw two of the Championship’s in form sides lock horns. The final score of 13-13 was probably a fair reflection of the game across the 80 minutes, though the Knights may rue failing to capitalize on two second half yellow cards for the hosts.
The Knights were dealt a cruel blow before they even left Castle Park as skipper Michael Hills was struck down with a sickness bug and would not travel. This meant Tyler Hotson was promoted from the bench, Will Foden was called in to the squad and Matt Challinor took over captaincy from blindside flanker with the back row shuffling accordingly.
The game started at a frantic pace, which was maintained for the majority, both sides created opportunities but lacked execution at vital moments. The Knights suffered a set back when centre Terrence Hepetema was forced off with what looked to be a knee injury. This meant Paul Roberts came on at stand off with Ume Fosita shuffling to inside centre.
The first points of the game were scored after ten minutes and they went the way of the hosts. A penalty in the Knights half was sweetly struck by fly half Peter Lydon, 0-3.
The Knights reaction was almost immediate. Pressure on the Scottish offensive line forced a knock on deep in their own half and with scrum advantage Roberts sent a well-weighted chip towards Tyson Lewis. The bounce of the ball evaded the winger but it would not mater as Donny were in moments later. Nice vision from Tyler Hotson saw the second row pick from a ruck and sprint through a gap to touchdown against his former teammates. Dougie added the extras, 3-7.
The score stayed the same until half time; both sides created opportunities and whilst Scottish enjoyed the greater share of possession Donny arguably looked the more dangerous of the two with ball in hand. The hosts’ pace was a constant threat and they looked to move possession quickly to wingers Miles Mantella and Matty Williams but produced little to genuinely threaten the Knights line.
The next best chance of the first half fell to the Knights when Mat Clark seized a loose ball on the blind side of a ruck. The centre set off from deep within his own half but was eventually caught by Mantella and forced in to touch just a couple of metres from the Scottish line.
Scottish scored the first points of the second half but were dealt a double blow shortly after when a second Lydon penalty was quickly followed by two yellow cards. Firstly, a dump tackle on Tyson Lewis by Lee Millar was judged dangerous and the full back was sent to the bin then Lewis Ludlow followed him for killing the ball with the Knights closing in on the Exiles line. Dougie slotted the resulting penalty to make the score 6-10.
As the second half progressed the pace of the game remained frantically high and opportunities came at both ends but the Knights could not make their numerical advantage pay.
With both sides restored to XV, Scottish were pinged at the scrum but Flockhart saw his effort sail wide of the right post, the winger got another chance moments later however and made no mistake after Scottish were caught offside following a 22 metre restart. The Penalty gave Donny a seven-point advantage with just ten minutes left to play.
The Knights needed to replicate last weekend’s superb late defensive rally to pull off a second high profile win in as many weeks but The Exiles had other ideas. Good vision and a nicely weighted kick saw stand off Lydon chip ahead of winger Matty Williams. The bounce sat up perfectly for the former Knight and he collected to touch down. Lydon converted from the touchline to level the scores.
Both sides pushed in the game’s closing stages and Scottish even attempted an audacious drop goal from distance but the game ended with the honours even. The draw sees the Knights close the gap on 9th placed Bedford to just a point as the Blues lost out to Cornish Pirates.
Next week the Knights are in Castle Park action versus Nottingham hoping to trouble another promotion chasing side.
London Scottish XV; 15) Lee Millar, 14) Matt Williams, 13) Kieron Moffat, 12) Matt Hawke (Mike Doneghan 68’),11) Miles Mantella, 10) Peter Lydon, 9) Jamie Stevenson, 1) James Hallam (Mark Lilley 54’), 2) David Cherry (Adam Kwasnicki 54’), 3) Ben Prescott (Lovejoy Chawatama 55’), 4) Josh Thomas Brown (Adam Preocanin 60’), 5) James Phillips, 6) Gregor Gillanders (Chris Walker 60’), 7) Lewis Ludlow, 8) Mark Bright (c).
Replacements; 16) Mark Lilley) 17) Adam Kwasnicki, 18) Lovejoy Chawatama, 19) Adam Preocanin, 20) Chris Walker, 21) Matt Heeks, 22) Mike Doneghan.
Tries; Williams 71’
Conv; Lydon 71’
Pens; Lydon 11’, 46’
Sin bin; Lee Millar 47’, Lewis Ludlow 51’
Knights XV 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Mat Clark, 12) Terrence Hepetema (Paul Roberts 7’), 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Ume Fosita, 9) Tomasi Palu (Brad Field 71’), 1) Richard List (Tom Davies 62’), 2) Ben Hunter (Harry Thacker 70’), 3) Colin Quigley (WillGriff John 62’), 4) Tyler Hotson, 5) Jon Phelan, 6) Matt Challinor ©, 7) Alex Shaw (Will Foden 74’), 8) Ollie Stedman (Phil Eggleshaw 75’)
Replacements; 16) Tom Davies, 17) WillGriff John, Blank) Will Foden, 19) Harry Thacker, 20) Phil Eggleshaw, 21) Paul Roberts.22) Brad Field.
Tries; Hotson 14’
Conv; Flockhart 14’
Pens; Flockhart 52’, 69’