Knights Defeat Jersey Reds to Maintain Home Record

Doncaster Knights 27 – 24 Jersey Reds 

In the afternoon sunshine Doncaster Knights opened the afternoon’s scoring and never relinquished their lead over Jersey Reds to beat the early league leaders 27-24 at Castle Park.

The Knights seemed determined from the outset and, despite some slight hiccups, were able to maintain their unbeaten run at home which began last season. Precision at the scrum, light feet from the backline and dogged defence all round seemed to be the calling card of the day for the South Yorkshire side.

The first penalty came little more than five minutes into the encounter, allowing stand-off Sam Olver, on his 50th appearance for the club, to put the Knights on the scoreboard.

With the bit between their teeth, the Knights looked determined to add to their score. Impressive footwork saw Harry Davey break from the halfway line, scampering into the Jersey 22 before feeding Kyle Evans. With a flick of the ball from Evans, Alex Dolly crashed over for the try.

Knights fans didn’t have much time to catch their breath as, on the restart, the home side went steaming down the touchline – this time with Connor Edwards the man to cross the whitewash, with Olver converting the score.

A slight lapse in defensive concentration allowed Jersey’s Guy Thompson to tear off from his side’s driving maul and dive over for the visitors’ maiden points of the match, added to by a conversion from James Mitchell.

The lineout near the try-line proved a pest once more for the Knights as Macauley Cook’s safe hands fed Euoghan Clarke who fell at the feet of his fellow forwards to ground the ball for the try, again converted by Mitchell.

Having opened the half with a penalty, Olver closed it with one as well, widening the gap to 21-14 as the sides headed in for half time.

Jersey levelled things after 15 minutes played in the second half with good phase play from Owen Brendan, Daniel Barnes and Harry Simmons putting Olowofela Taiye on the front-foot to sidestep around on-rushing defenders Dolly and Edwards, for the score.

A hectic few minutes followed a missed penalty from Olver rebounding off of the uprights, but a storming tackle from Jack Spittle held Jersey in their 22 and eventually resulted in another penalty to the Knights which Olver made sure to send soaring over.

Despite Jersey replacement Thomas Pittman levelling things 24-24 in the dying minutes of the game, the Knights kept their heads clear. A high tackle penalty saw Olver immediately call for the kicking tee and, with a calm demeanour, he once more put the Knights ahead.

Desperate, determined defence saw off the danger, and with a knock on, Jersey’s hopes of a win were dashed and the Knights roared having maintained their home victory record.

Doncaster Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan (Mark Best 74′), 12 Connor Edwards,11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Conrad Cade (Will Vaughan 76′), 2 George Edgson (Peter Roberts 70′), 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Sam Graham (C), 8 Guido Volpi (Sam Hudson 68′).

Replacements | 16 Peter Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Ronan McCusker, 20 Sam Hudson, 21 Joe Green, 22 Mark Best, 23 Maliq Holden

Tries; Dolly, Edwards.

Conv; Olver.

Pens; Olver (5).

Jersey Reds XV | 15 Harry Simmons (Tom Pittman 68′); 14 Taiye Olowofela, 13 Jack Roberts (Jordan Holgate 76′), 12 Dan Barnes, 11 Will Brown; 10 Brendan Owen, 9 James Mitchell (James Elliott 68′); 1 James Flynn, 2 Eoghan Clarke (Antonio Harris 61′), 3 Steven Longwell, 4 Sean O’Connor (Zak Farrance 61′), 5 Macauley Cook, 6 Max Argyle, 7 Lewis Wynne (C) (Tim Grey 70′), 8 Guy Thompson.

Replacements | 16 Antonio Harris, 17 Huw Owen*, 18 Luke Yendle, 19 Zak Farrance, 20 Tim Grey, 21 James Elliott, 22 Tom Pittman*, 23 Jordan Holgate.

Tries; Thompson, Clarke, Taiye.

Conv; Mitchell (3).

Pens; Pittman.

Knights lose out at Bedford.

Bedford Blues 31-23 Doncaster Knights.

Doncaster Knights search for a first away win of the season continues as Bedford Blues mounted a second half fight back to record a 31-23 victory under the lights at Goldington Road.

The Knights did not lose the game through lack of opportunity, with the side creating plenty and could arguably have been out of sight at half time had they executed better in the opening forty.

Playing with the slope, Donny looked determined to keep posession and play nice, fast rugby. Despite spending the majority of the opening ten minutes with ball in hand it was the Blues who struck first thanks to a penalty from the boot of Will Maisey; extending the lead to six soon after.

Sam Olver reduced the deficit to and  it didn’t take long for the Knights to improve on their score as Gareth Denman squeezed in against the posts after a series of pick and go carries post line out. Olver’s conversion made it 10-6 which was no less than the Knights deserved.

A lapse in concentration then let the Blues back in as winger Pat Tapley chased down a Rich Lane grubber kick to capitalize on a spill from Billy McBryde and stroll over to restore Bedford’s lead.

The try didn’t halt the Knights early momentum and they registered a second score soon after. This time Alex Dolly darted through a gap after his forwards had inched to the try line with another patient driving line out.

With the score at 17-11 Bedford were hanging on and as the Knights attacking phases mounted more scores seemed inevitable. Unfortunately, the Knights could not convert and the Blues escaped, going into the interval still within touching distance.

The Blues emerged revitalized for the second period and retook the lead with a fine score on 42 minutes. Full back Rich Lane finishing a pacey move under the posts after collecting a fine pass from Maisey.

A smart move from the corner further extended the Blues’ lead ten minutes later, with replacement Tui Uru diving over and Maisey slotting a tight conversion, extending Bedford’s advantage to eight points.

With the clocking ticking on the Knights’ strategy of going for the corner with penalties was dumped in favour of points, as two further Olver penalties reduced the gap once again to just two.

Sadly, the Knights were unable to prevent Will Maisey from matching his counterpart whose boot always kept Bedford just ahead of the game.

At 28-23 and ten minutes to play the Knights needed to dig deep into their reserves against a Bedford side motivated by healthy home support.

However, Bedford held firm and, despite late possession for the Knights, confirmed the win via the boot of Maisey; winning 31-23 robbing the Knights of a losing bonus point.

Perhaps unfair to leave Goldington Road without a point but the Knights paid the price for missed opportunities in the first half & will now look to rebuild ahead of the visit of Jersey Reds to Castle Park on Saturday.

Bedford Blues XV 15. Rich Lane (C), 14. Matt Worley, 13. Jamie Elliott, 12. Tom Litchfield (Ethan Grayson 65’), 11. Pat Tapley, 10. Will Maisey, 9. Alex Day (Connor Tupai 55’); 1. Emmanuel Iyogun (Joey Conway 64’), 2. Jack Hughes, 3. Corrie Barrett (Ed Prowse 50’), 4. Brandon Nansen (Luke Frost 50’), 5. Alex Woolford (Josh Pieterse 80’), 6. Bailey Ransom, 7. Joe Atkinson, 8. Oli Stedman (Tui Uru 50’)

Replacements |16. Josh Pieterse, 17. Joey Conway, 18. Ed Prowse, 19. Luke Frost, 20. Tui Uru, 21. Connor Tupai, 22. Louis Grimoldby, 23. Ethan Grayson

Tries; Tapley 30’, Lane 42’, Uru 60’

Conv; Lane 42’, 60’

Pens; Maisey 12’, 15’ 69’, 80’

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards (Mark Best 76’),11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Conrad Cade, 2 George Edgson (George Roberts 59’), 3 Gaz Denman (Henry Paul 77’), 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters (Jack Davies 59’), 6 John Kelly, 7 Sam Graham ©, 8 Guido Volpi.(Guido Volpi 51’)

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Jack Davies, 20 Sam Hudson, 21 Joe Green, 22 Mark Best, 23 Ronan McCusker

Tries; Denman 22’, Dolly 35’

Conv; Olver 23’, 36’

Pens; Olver 20’, Olver 63’, 70’

Knights turn on the style late on for bonus point win.

Doncaster Knights 36-7 London Scottish  

The Knights kicked off their home campaign with a resounding victory over London Scottish at Castle Park; running out 36-7 winners following a strong second half display.

After last weekend’s disappointing, Steve Boden’s charges were determined to get back on track in front of home support and eventually came good as they turned on the style in the closing stages of a hard fought encounter.

The Knights certainly did not have things their own way and after an evenly fought first half went into the break with a slender 10-7 lead. The second forty was much more productive for the home side who scored 26 unanswered points to record a comfortable (in the end) bonus point victory.

The early exchanges were bright and good pressure allowed Sam Olver to open the scoring as he converted a scrum penalty after just two minutes’ but the Knights were on the back foot soon after.

Attacking opportunities were blighted by handling errors and the visitors contested the breakdown gamely winning penalties and possession.

On fifteen minutes some disorganization in the Donny ranks saw Sam Hanks break and then send a testing grubber forward. The midfielder then collected his effort before racing away to score a try that Laurence May converted.

At 7-3 up Scottish remained good value for their lead and could well have increased it had it not been for some desperate Knights defending.

As the clock ticked towards half time the Knights began to find their rhythm but continued to be blighted by handling errors and indiscipline.

In what was almost the final play of the half, the Knights did execute and crossed for their first score. It came after good work at a deep line out drew in several Scottish defenders and Billy McBryde launched a huge wide pass to Kyle Evans.

The winger set about the The Exiles line but was scythed down by a cynical challenge from Leo Fielding as he was about to score. Referee Joseph James awarded a penalty try and Fielding was shown a yellow card.

The change of ends brought a clear shift up the gears from the Knights who struck again through George Edgson not ten minutes after the resumption; the hooker profiting at the back of a well-constructed rolling maul.

A fine charge by Guido Volpi brought about the Knights third score as the number eight barged his way through a couple of would be tacklers after collecting a tidy pass from Alex Dolly. Volpi showed a clean pair of heels to the cover defence for a try converted by Olver.

From here it was all Donny and there was inevitability about Henry Paul’s 72nd minute score which secured the bonus point and several waves of attack.

Credit goes to the visitors who defended admirably in the closing stages but on the stroke of 80-minutes Jack Spittle finished a fine bit of handling to add some gloss to the score line.

Plenty of positives to take from the second half display as they Knights build into Bedford away on Friday evening.

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde (Harry Davey 68’), 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards (Mark Best 54’),11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly (Joe Green 74’), 1 Conrad Cade (Liam Vaughan 56’), 2 George Edgson (George Roberts 64’), 3 Gaz Denman (Henry Paul 56’), 4 Danny Drake (Jack Davies 54’), 5 Josh Peters, 6 John Kelly (Sam Hudson 64’), 7 Sam Graham ©, 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Jack Davies, 20 Sam Hudson, 21 Joe Green, 22 Mark Best, 23 Harry Davey.

Tries; Penalty 39’ Edgson 47’, Volpi 60’, Paul 72’, Spittle 80’

Conv; Olver 47’, 60’, 80’

Pens; Olver 3’

London Scottish | 15. Rory Hughes (Noah Ferdinand 50’), 14. Dave Halaifonua, 13. Hayden Hyde, 12. Sam Hanks, 11. Leo Fielding, 10. Laurence May (Harry Sheppard 52’), 9. Ed Hoadley (Rory Brand 56’), 1. Jake Ellwood (Curtis Reynolds 54’), 2. Nick Selway (Ben Atkins 70’), 3. Joe Rees (Alex Gibson 60’), 4. James Tyas, 5. George Hammond, 6. Matas Jureviciu, 7. Bring Tuilagi (Ehize Edevbalo-Ehizode 74’), 8. Thomas Baldwin.

Replacements | 16. Ben Atkins, 17. Curtis Reynolds, 18. Alex Gibson, 19. Ehize Edevbalo-Ehizode, 20. Will Trenholm, 21. Rory Brand, 22. Noah Ferdinand, 23. Harry Sheppard.

Tries; Hanks 16’

Conv; May 16’

Pens;

Referee Joseph James

Photo by Rod Wetton

Knights taste opening day defeat at Butts Park.  

Knights 39-22 Coventry  

Despite an electric start the Knights fell to a disappointing defeat on their Championship return with hosts Coventry Rugby running out five tries to three winners.

Despite the full time score it was the Knights who started the game brighter. With impressive intensity they quickly raced into a double figure lead; Steve Boden’s men looked quickest to every exchange and sharper in thought also.

Sam Olver opened the scoring with a penalty, following a dominant scrum, before Kyle Evans got his first try of the new season.

It was not a typical Evans score with the winger barreling over at the back of a fifteen man rolling maul but it was the end result of some superb, patient line out work. Olver slotted the extras from wide out, 0-10.

The hosts woke up shortly after and began to challenge the Donny line, back-row Josh Bainbridge and former Knight Will Owen looked lively when given space and asked questions with a productive off loading game.

As the match went on it did become a little flat with both sides showing some off-season rust. The scrum became a battle ground and often ended in penalties with neither side obviously on top.

On 30 minutes Coventry were awarded a kickable penalty but turned down the opportunity for points, instead going to the corner. The Knights forwards were able to repel the initial drive but when scrum half Josh Barton hit Nile Dacres on a nice short line the second row barged over to score. Tony Fenner adds the extras, 7-10.

The closing stages of the opening forty belonged to the hosts with the Knights unable to recapture their early rhythm and, if truth be told, hanging on for half time.

Fenner levelled scores with a long range penalty as the clock ticked to forty and sides went into the change of ends all square.

The hosts began the second half how they ended the first & quickly set about the Knights line after the restart, only resolute defending preventing a Coventry score.

Against the run of play the Knights showed their ruthless edge to move back into the lead.

After forcing a scrum penalty, Olver put his forwards in the corner and they executed with aplomb. A tidy lineout was quickly driven forward with hooker Will Holling dotted down for a score converted by Olver.

The Knights were given no time to appreciate their lead, however, and it was quickly stripped away from them with back to back Cov scores.

Firstly, Adam Peters got over from close range following a deep line out and then Josh Bainbridge finished some lovely hands after Ryan Burrows had returned the restart with interest. Replacement fly-half Tom Curtis hit the second conversion to make the scores 22-17.

Trailing for the first time the Knights needed to find something in the final quarter but it wasn’t to be and the hosts just seemed to get stronger as the game went on.

Curtis struck with just over ten to play, darting through a gap he created with a smart dummy and then five minutes later Burrows capped off a fine performance with a score from close range.

The Knights did manage to improve on their total when John Kelly scored from a tap penalty. The number eight showing his raw strength after a surging Jack Spittle break drew a foul out of the Cov defence.

It was the hosts who had the last laugh though as Curtis struck a long range penalty to end the game, final score 39-22.

A rude awakening for the Knights side who will hope for an improved showing next Saturday when London Scottish arrive at Castle Park.

Coventry XV | 15 Tom Stanton; 14 Tom Howe, 13 Rob Knox, 12 Will Owen (Tom Griffiths 77’), 11 Andy Forsyth; 10 Tony Fenner (Tom Curtis’) , 9 Josh Barton (Joe Snow 67’); 1 Toby Trinder (Dan Richardson 51’), 2 Suva Ma’asi (Joe Richardson 67’), 3 Phil Boulton (Joe Jones 51’), 4 Adam Peters (Rhys Thomas 67’), 5 Nile Dacres (Jonathan Kpoku 56’), 6 Senitiki Nayalo, 7 Josh Bainbridge, 8 Ryan Burrows (capt)

Replacements | 16 Joe Richardson, 17 Dan Richardson, 18 Joe Jones, 19 Jonathan Kpoku, 20 Rhys Thomas, 21 Joe Snow, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Tom Griffiths

Tries; Dacres 30’, Peters 50’, Bainbridge 57’, Curtis 71’, Burrows 79’

Conv; Fenner 30’, Curtis 57’, 71’, 79’

Pens; Fenner 40’, Curtis 80’

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards (Harry Davey 74’), 11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Gus Warr (Alex Dolly 74’), 1 Conrad Cade (Will Vaughan 64’), 2 Will Holling (George Roberts 54’), 3 Andy Foster (Henry Paul 28’), 4 Danny Drake (Josh Peters 73’), 5 Jack Davies, 6 Sam Graham (Guido Volpi 47’), 7 Sam Hudson (George Edgson 75’), 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Josh Peters, 20 George Edgson, 21 Alex Dolly, 22 Harry Davey, 23 Guido Volpi.

Tries; Evans 10’, Holling 51’, Kelly 80’

Conv; Olver 10’, 51’

Pens; Olver 6’ 

Referee: Sara Cox

Attendance: 1,823

Battling Knights nearly nick it at the death.

Falcons 33-29 Knights

Doncaster Knights almost closed out their first and only pre-season game with a stunning victory over Premiership side Newcastle Falcons.

Having gone into the half trailing 21-3 the Knights produced a fine second forty, scoring four tries, to lose out by just four points.

The opening exchanges were as lively as you would expect with most players playing for the very first time this season. Newcastle enjoyed the better of possession but were met by the powerful type of defence that was characteristic of this Donny side last season.

The scores stayed level until 20 minutes and the Knights had their share of opportunities early on but the Falcons drew first blood  just after the quarter mark.

Over-eagerness in the Knights back line was penalized and home fly-half Will Haydon-Wood hit a deep touch finder. The initial drive looked to have been nicely stopped but a penalty for side entry put the hosts back in the corner.

Second time around they would not be denied and Logovi’I Mulipola got over at the back of a maul with Haydon-Woods converting.

Before Donny had chance to catch their breath, the Falcons doubled the lead.

Spotting Jack Spittle in space, Sam Olver threw an audacious wide flat pass towards the wing. Sadly, it was intercepted by Adam Radwan…the one man it really didn’t want to go to. England wing hit his stride to gallop under the posts for a score converted by Haydon-Wood.

The Knights brightest spell of the second half came after the second score. The early defensive intensity remained, forcing errors and penalties out of the hosts. Unfortunately, on a few occasions the Knights line out failed to fire and chances went begging.

With the clock almost at forty, home hooker Jamie Blamire crashed over from a tap penalty after a series of pick and go carries to make the half time score 21-3.

Staring down an 18-point deficit at the change of ends things didn’t look too positive but the Knights produced a second half to be proud of with some fine rugby on display.

A solid carry from Jack Spittle down the right hand side drew in defenders and eventually a penalty out of the home defence. Olver went to touch and the Knights forwards rumbled over with George Roberts scoring, Olver added the extras.

The falcons hit back through back row Connor Collet as the Knights continued to fall foul of the referee’s whistle with the flanker scoring at the back of a driving line out.

With all subs on by the hour mark, the Knights found plenty of energy from the bench.

Harry Davey did well to collect a smart chip forward from Billy McBryde and, as the covering defence went to bundle him into touch, the winger chucked an offload in field that was collected by the hosts close their own line. At the back of a ruck scrum half Gus Warr spotted the loose ball and reacted quickest to dot down, 26-15.

With under ten minutes to go Radwan scored his second, this time from much closer range, after the Knights again conceded field position through soft penalties. Replacement fly-half Louie Johnson converted to make it 33-15, which certainly flattered the Falcons with little left on the clock.

The Knights were not done, however, and scored twice from the back of well-worked driving mauls.

The first came for George Edgson who marked his Knights return with a score from close range and then Ronan McCusker ended the game with a try on debut. McBryde converted both to make the full time score 33-29.

A useful hit out for Steve Boden’s charges who will no doubt take plenty of positive into next week’s training as they build into the Championship opener against Coventry in a fortnight’s time.

Falcons XV| 15 Alex Tait, 14 Chidera Obonna, 13 Zach Kerr, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 Adam Radwan, 10 Will Haydon-Wood, 9 Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti; 1 Logovi’i Mulipola, 2 Jamie Blamire, 3 Richard Palframan, 4 Matthew Dalton, 5 Will Montgomery, 6 Freddie Lockwood, 7 Connor Collett, 8 Tom Marshall.

Replacements| 16 Robbie Smith, 17 Mark Dormer, 18 Oscar Caudle, 19 George Merrick, 20 Marcus Tiffen, 21 Louis Schreuder, 22 Ewan Greenlaw, 23 Louie Johnson, [blank shirts]: Matt Deehan, James Blackett, Ollie Fletcher(all used).

Tries; Mulipola 20’, Radwan 25’ 73’, Blamire 38’, Collett 60’

Conv; Haydon-Wood 20, 25’, 38’ Johnson 73’

Pen;

 

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards,11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Conrad Cade, 2 Will Holling, 3 Andy Foster, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 John Kelly, 7 Sam Graham, 8 Guido Volpi.

 

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Ronan McCusker, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Gus Warr, 22 Maliq Holden, 23 Harry Davey, Blank George Edgson, Blank Thom Smith, Blank Sam Hudson, Blank Joe Margetts (all used).

 

Tries; Roberts 45’, Warr 64’, Edgson 78’, McCusker 80’

Conv; Olver 46’, 78’, 80’

Pen; Olver 26’

 

Referee:Andrew Jackson. Assistant referees:Wayne Falla, Gregg Dawson

Knights secure 3rd spot with win in front of fans.

Doncaster Knights 29-24 Nottingham

Doncaster Knights secured 3rd spot in the Greene King IPA Championship with a 29-24 win over Nottingham Rugby as the side ran out in front of a home crowd for the first time in 440 days.

Against a Nottingham side resurgent in form the Knights drew first blood early as Howard Packman raced over from the 22m for a fine individual effort after a stray offload bounced his way, Sam Olver added the extras for a quickfire 7-0 lead, but the lead wasn’t held for long.

Nottingham levelled the scores when David Williams, who enjoyed a fine afternoon, touched down before after cutting a sharp line off Matt Riddlington.

Quick thinking from Knights scrum-half Gus Warr aided the Knights into a 14-7 half-time lead as the Sale man took a tap penalty with the visiting defences off guard.

The lead quick disappeared after the restart as Jake Farnworth intercepted a stray pass and showed a turn of foot an outside back would be proud of never mind a a front row.

The Green and Whites then went in front on the hour mark with Williams running in his second try and Alex Dolly’s third conversion put them 21-14 ahead. On what was supposed to be a celebratory occasion for the Knights, Notts looks in danger of stealing the show.

The hosts quickly dragged themselves back level as Will Holling crashed over at the back of a maul before Olver and Dolly traded penalties to make it 24-24 heading into the closing stages.

That still left time for the grandest of finishes as replacement Doncaster nine Sam Pocklington collected an audacious off load from Conor Joyce before fighting his way over for a last gasp winner and the bonus point try, much to the home crowd’s delight.

Knights XV | 15) Billy McBryde, 14) Kyle Evans, 13) Charlie Foley 12) Connor Edwards 11) Howard Packman, 10) Sam Olver, 9) Gus Warr, 1) Bomber Hislop, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) Gaz Denman, 4) Matt Challinor (c), 5) Matt Smith, 6) Sam Graham, 7) Jack Davies, 8) Guido Volpi

Replacements | 16) Will Holling, 17) Conrad Cade, 18) Joe Jones, 19) Will Britton, 20) Conor Joyce, 21) Sam Pocklington, 22) James Newey 23) James Kane.

Nottingham XV | 15 Luke Hibberd 14 Jack Stapley 13 David Williams 12 Charlie Thacker 11 Joe Browning, 10 Matt Riddington 9 Alex Dolly 1 Toby Williams 2 Jake Farnsworth, 3 Ben Betts 4 Callum Allen
5 Luke Frost 6 Willie Ryan 7 Carl Kirwin, 8 Josh Poullet

Replacements: 16 Ben Sugars 17 Aniseko Sio 18 Harri O’Connor 19 Jack Ramshaw 20 George Cox 21 Michael Stronge 22 Theo Manihera
23 Harry Graham

 

Trailfinders too much for battling Knights.

Ealing 38-15 Knights Doncaster Knights arrived in West London needing a bonus point win to keep their post season hopes alive.

Against a Trailfinders side sat top of the league it was always going to be a very tall order and it proved to be a challenge too far but the Knights produced a performance to to be proud of – despite the defeat.

Donny started the game like a train and raced into a 10-0 lead with just ten minutes on the clock.

Guido Volpi opened the scoring after back-to-back penalties moved the Knights in range following a fine catch and carry from Billy McBryde. With a well-formed lineout the forwards rattled over and Guido dotted the ball down with Sam Olver converting.

Olver extended the lead moment later with a successful penalty to move the Knights into double figures.

The Trailfinders hit back with two scores before the interval to go in ahead at the change of ends as the Knights failed to convert some stonewall chances

A mix up in the Donny line saw Guy Thompson burst through a gap in midfield before finding David Johnston in support who galloped over to score before converting his own effort.

Will Holling, who was superb throughout, almost hit back immediately as the hooker collected the restart and carried deep into the Trailfinders 22m. Quick carrying from the breakdown got the Knights in touching distance but they gave away a penalty with the line beckoning.

The Knights then lost Charlie Foley to an ankle injury and Kyle Evans was sin binned for playing the nine at a ruck. Ealing got their second shortly after when Kieran Murphy broke off the back of a driving line out. Johnston’s conversion made it 14-15.

The Knights forced more opportunities before the half but could not improve on their score.

Donny came out for the second forty on the front foot and quickly reestablished their lead. A scrum penalty was kicked to touch by Olver and good line out ball provided a platform to play from. Having worked in field, possession was switched to the short side and Olver delayed a pass perfectly for Holling to score.

Once again, the Trailfinders reaction to going behind was immediate, Max Bodilly was able to work his way through a congested field and then hand onto Dean Hammond who ran home. Johnston’s conversation made it 21-15 and from this point Ealing would not be stopped.

Ealing ran in further tries through Michael Van Vuuren, David Johnston and Dean Hammond in the final quarter to make the full time score 38-15 which was probably not a fair reflection of the contest.

The Knights now go into the final game of the season looking to secure third place and make a winning finish to an excellent season.

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Knights keep play off hopes alive with second half fightback.

Doncaster Knights 27-19 Bedford Blues

Doncaster Knights kept their play-off hopes alive with a bonus point victory against Bedford Blues at Castle Park.

In an absorbing clash the Blues ran Donny extremely close, racing into a 0-12 lead before the Knights secured the win with fifteen unanswered points in the second half.

The visitors began the game at a hellish pace, with their running game catching the Donny defense cold in the early exchanges. Coast-to-coast play saw the Blues outside backs find space and get offloads away keeping the Knights firmly on the back foot.

The pressure told after Connor Joyce was sin-binned for playing scrum half Connor Tupai with the Knights desperately defending their try line. From the resulting penalty the Blues went to corner and rumbled to within an inch before number eight Oli Robinson battled over for a try converted by Will Maisey.

Five minutes later the Blues were in again, after controlling possession and running with some serious intent space was created down the right hand side. Robinson drew in defenders before throwing a lovely offload for Josh Gillespie to collect and finish in the corner.

Thankfully this seemed to breath some life into the Knights side and in the second quarter they managed to string a few attacks together. A nice starter play post line out saw Will Holling carry well into the Blues 22m but the Knights could not capitalize.

The home attack continued to build and a lovely delayed pass from Billy McBryde found its way to Kyle Evans who tiptoed the touch line before offloading back infield to McBryde who galloped home. Olver added the extras.

A high tackle called against Guido Volpi dampened the home momentum and was well kicked to the corner by Maisey. Following a scrappy maul, The Blues pack picked & carried with Ollie Newman forcing his way home to score.

The referee signaled that there would be time for the restart & Howard Packman chased a short restart which drew a knock on out of Will Carrick Smith.

A penalty from the resulting scrum put the Knights in the corner and, off the back of a line out peel, Charlie Foley carried to close range. The Blues gave up two penalties as they defended their line which were tapped by the Knights with Matt Challinor scoring to end the half with the scores at 12-19.

The Knights emerged from the second half full of vigour and intensity and were camped on the visitors’ line for a good five minutes after the restart. Sadly, the pressure came to nothing as the Blues held on to eventually force a penalty.

Donny would not be denied for long though as good work from Howard Packman saw the winger work his way down field before a penalty for conceded on the floor.

From the line out the Knights set up a 10-man drive which ended with Will Holling scoring his second in two weeks. Olver’s conversion bounced back off the post. 17-19.

With the game ticking towards the hour mark the tension became pretty tangible and on sixty minutes’ flanker Ollie Newman was sin binned for a cynical late shot on Olver. The fly half dusted himself off to hit the three-pointer and put the Knights ahead for the first time in the game – 20-19.

The Knights continued to turn the screw with the pack starting the get the upper hand at the set piece. Pressure at both scrum and lineout brought repeat penalties and eventually, with a full team drive, the Knights crashed over for a bonus score through Mcbride.

Olver coolly slotted the conversion, giving the Knights an eight-point lead with just a few minutes left to go.

Donny controlled the final few minutes to record a 27-19 win and will now enjoy two-weeks off before a mouth-watering, potentially play-off deciding tie, with Ealing Trailfinders on May 22nd.

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Charlie Foley, 12 Connor Edwards (James Newey 36’), 11) Howard Packman , 10 Sam Olver, 9 James Mitchell (Gus Warr 77’) , 1 Conrad Cade (Josh Pieterse 77’), 2 Will Holling, 3) Gaz Denman (Joe Jones 47’), 4 Matt Challinor, (C) (Will Britton 53’), 5 Jerry Sexton, 6 Conor Joyce (Jack Davies 51’), 7 Sam Graham, 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Josh Pieterse, 18 Joe Jones, 19 Will Britton, 20 Jack Rouse, 21 Gus Warr, 22 James Newey, 23 Jack Davies

Tries; McBryde 25’, 77’,  Challinor 40’, Holling 53’

Pens; Olver 63’,

Conv; Olver 25’, 77’

Bedford Blues XV: 15. Rich Lane (C), 14. Josh Gillespie (Andre Robson 55’), 13. Tom Litchfield, 12. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, 11. Pat Tapley, 10. Will Maisey, 9. Connor Tupai; 1. Joe Wrafter (Emmanuel Iyogun6’), 2. Jacob Fields, 3. Henry Paul (Ed Prowse 47’), 4. Will Carrick Smith, 5. Lewis Bean (Ewan Fenley 71’), 6. Ollie Newman, 7. Joe Atkinson, 8. Oli Robinson

Replacements: 16. Jack Hughes, 17. Emmanuel Iyogun, 18. Ed Prowse, 19. Jordan Onojaife, 20. Tui Uru, 21. Ewan Fenley, 22. Ethan Grayson, 23. Andre Robson

Tries; Robinson 11’, Gillespie 16’, Newman 39’

Pens;

Conv; Maisey 11’, 39’

Referee Jack Makepeace

Assistant referees Alex Thomas & Simon Park

Fourth Official  Ben Rayner

 

 

Knights back to winning ways.

Doncaster Knights showed no ill-effects from last Sunday’s encounter with Saracens as they ran in seven tries to defeat Richmond 40-12 at the Athletic Ground.

On a sunny afternoon in the Knights ensure all five points came back to Yorkshire with them with a commanding display against the Londoners.

On a sunny day in the Capital, the game had a rather slow start with both sides feeling each other out in the early exchanges. Handling errors and robust defence prevented early opportunities but once Donny found their rhythm they were far too strong for the hosts.

Howard Packman opened the scoring on the twenty-minute mark with Billy McBryde putting the winger away with a fine offload after the forwards pulled in the defence with a well-formed driving maul.

Packman doubled his tally ten minutes later with a very similar effort, the forwards set about the home 22m with a driving line out and with penalty advantage the ball went wide. This time it was Olver to throw the final pass to Packman before converting the effort to make it 0-12.

Richmond struggled to contain the Knights attack and found themselves falling foul of referee Mike Hudson’s whistle. Ollie Evans & Jake Parker were both shown yellow cards before the change of ends and on the stroke of half time Guido Volpi wrestled over for a third Knights try. Olver’s conversion brought the half to a close with the Knights leading and looking very comfortable.

The bonus point came shortly after the resumption & it was courtesy of another line out drive, no need to go wide this time though with the pack powering over and Will Holling scoring. Olver impressively negotiated the wind to curl the conversion through the uprights.

At 0-26 and almost a full half of rugby to play the game could have quite easily turned ugly but credit goes to the hosts who refused to throw in the towel and challenged till the final whistle.

Richmond quickly received two further yellow cards shortly after the Holling try as Jack Alcock & Dan Kelly both fouled cynically and close to their own line. Despite this the dam refused to burst and Richmond got off the mark on 65-minutes courtesy of a nice finish from winger Max Trimble.

A fifth yellow card came Richmond’s way moments later when Jimmy Litchfield was dismissed for repeated scrum offences. Unsurprisingly, the Knights were enjoying more of the attacking play and Jack Davies scored his second in two weeks from the bench as he carried through a ruck and fought his way home.

Richmond scrum half Callum Watson looked lively for most of the game and showed off his pace when he collected a loose bouncing ball in his own half before racing away to score. The Knights hit back with the final play of the game the Knights for their sixth, try Jerry Sexton collecting an offload from Connor Joyce to stride home with Billy McBryde converting.

A very business like display from the Knights who can now build into next Saturday’s tie with Bedford back on winning form.

Battling Knights can’t keep pace with Sarries star quality.  

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.

Knights too strong for battling Reds.

Jersey Reds 10-22 Doncaster Knights

Doncaster Knights recorded a fifth successive victory of the season as they battled past Jersey Reds at Castle Park to remain unbeaten in the Greene King IPA Championship.

The Knights welcomed Jersey Reds to Castle Park for Round Five of the 2021 Greene King IPA Championship despite the tie being classed as an away game and it was the Reds who started the brighter.

Pressure from the kick off and some Knights indiscipline quickly put the Reds in the ascendancy, indeed the first four penalties of the game all went Jersey’s way with fly-half Brendan Cope opening the scoring from tee on four minutes.

The Knights continued to weather early pressure but a darting run for young scrum half Gus Warr generated some go forward that was continued by Billy Mcbryde. Scrambling Reds defence gave up a penalty which Sam Olver slotted to level the scores.

Parity was not held for long however as quick thinking from Bath Rugby loanee Max Green saw the scrum half take a tap penalty and race 40 metres to the line and score.

The Knights reaction was quick and solid line out pressure moved the forwards in range. A short range penalty saw a shot at goal turned down with the pack taking a quick tap and John Kelly going very close. The bodies piled up and eventually Matt Challinor, as he has done so often over the years, battered his way over to touch down. Olver’s conversion levelling the scores – 10-10.

With half time approaching Donny began to find their rhythm.

Olver released Connor Edwards, who enjoyed another fine afternoon, on an inside line and the centre charged deep into the Reds 22m. Brendan Owen brought him down, but the ball was quickly recycled & Olver launched a huge miss pass across to Spittle to canter over in the corner.

The Reds almost made an immediate response when they won back-to-back penalties following a midfield scrum. A question over a penalty try was raised when Ben Hunter dropped one ominous looking maul but it was not given and shortly after the half was ended.

The Knights sealed victory in the early stages of the second period. From a solid line out drive the Knights attacked in field and slick hands from McBryde & Spittle saw the ball spun to Kyle Evans who had plenty of space and time to cross in the corner. Olver converted and it was 10-22.

In all honestly there wasn’t too much to report from the rest of the second period but the Knights never looked like losing. Olver, who has been so reliable with the boot this campaign, was a little wayward and missed the opportunity to extend from the tee.

The coaching staff rang the changes in the final quarter after Robin Hislop was sin binned for a neck roll and the game, which never really flowed, became a little disjointed.

The Reds threatened late on as they went in search of a losing bonus point but the Donny D held firm to secure a fifth successive win.

All eyes now turn to next weekend as the Knights welcome a star-studded Saracens side to Castle Park hoping to pull off the win of the season. Do not miss it!