Bristol Rugby – 07/11/2014

24Bristol Rugby

12Doncaster Knights

2:00 pm · November 7, 2014

Bristol Rugby 24 Knights 12

The Knights travelled to Ashton Gate for their first Friday evening fixture in over a season as huge under dogs and rightly so as in their way stood a top of the league Bristol side complete with three British Lions in the match day squad.

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths had been forced in to a number of changes to his starting team. Injuries to a number of players saw the introduction of centre Stephen Hitehah and winger John O’Donnell into the match day 22, both having arrived at Castle Park just a couple of days previous. Despite this the Knights made a bright start to proceedings and, in the face of a miserable November’s evening, carried the fight to the home side.

Having lost possession at the kick off the Knights were pinned back into their own 22m but were able to clear their lines when the home pack infringed having lost line out ball. In slippery conditions Bruno Bravo put up a testing box kick, which was knocked forward and from the first scrum of the game the Knights pack, won a penalty that Paul Roberts slotted deep into the Bristol 22m. A solid line out was quickly spun infield and Bevon Armitage carried powerfully to win a penalty as his opposite number failed to release at the tackle. Dougie Flockhart took the three points on offer to establish an early Knights lead.

Unfortunately for the Knights they reacted terribly to taking the lead, a fully committed surge at the breakdown saw Bristol win a turnover the restart. The ball was then carried by Ian Evans, the lock found hooker Max Crumpton in support who charged over from short range. Stand off Adrian Jarvis added the extras.

The Knights were having a lot of joy at the set piece in the early stages and the pouring rain seemed to affect them less than the hosts. A poorly executing home lineout was seized upon by Bruno Bravo who carried forward, well supported by his pack. Looking to attack quickly Bristol were pinged at the breakdown and Flockhart made no mistake to double to the Knights score.

Both teams were keen to make headway with the boot. On a large, pristine Ashton Gate playing surface long kicks to the corner and high, hanging up and unders were exchanged but the Knights continued to more than hold their own on the fixture.

A solid home scrum almost produced a second Bristol score when scrum half Dwayne Peel grubbered forward when the home pack took one against the head. The bounce of the ball evaded Phil Eggleshaw but the number eight quickly redeemed himself with a superb try-saving tackle to hold up winger Jack Wallace over the line. Play was pulled back for penalty advantage and Jarvis made the score 10-6.

The Knights continued to show their resilience and built another pertinent attack on the back of a long touch-finding penalty from Paul Roberts. The pack set up a maul and drove, searching for their first try of the game. The home defence quelled the surge but flanker Nick Koster was caught in an offside position and penalized. Flockhart made it three out of three and brought the Knights within a point of Bris.

Donny suffered a blow on 25 minutes as Tom Davies went down following contact to be replaced by Richard List however this did not halt the Knights positive early play. Paul Jarvis kicked a looming up and under and a moment later was tackled off the ball. From the resulting penalty Flockhart went for the posts and was on the money again.

The kick put the Knights in the lead for the second time in the game and it was a lead the Knights held until half time but only because of some heroic defending. Concerted pressure from the Bris side saw five successive penalties kicked to the corner, each time the Knights managed to repel the hosts but at a cost. Latu Makaafi was shown a Yellow card as he tackled Dwayne Peel in the process of taking a quick penalty. With a man disadvantage the Knights continued to defy the Bristol offence and eventually forced an error as Ian Evans knocked on at the line out.

The second half saw Bristol’s late momentum from before the interval continue though brief relief came when a half charged down clearance kick from Paul Jarvis fell kindly for Ben Hunter. The front rower carried forward before offloading and the ball was hacked forward and eventually dropped on by Flockhart in the Bristol goal area, unfortunately no try was given and play was pulled back fro a knock on

Bristol continued to enjoy the majority of the attacking play and possession but as the game approached the hour mark and with the Knights back to a full compliment of XV they still held a slender lead. Unfortunately both of these things changed shortly after.

Dougie Flockhart pulled off an impressive last ditch tackle to haul down full back Augustin Slowik. The hosts looked to recycle the ball quickly and, somewhat harshly, Flockhart was binned; alleged to have deliberately killed the ball.

The subsequent penalty was put to the corner and again the home pack looked to attacked through the driving maul. This time they were successful but failed to ground the ball. The Knights were penalized again however and Jarvis went to the corner once more. The Donny pack blitz the maul but scrum half Peel spotted a gap around the fringes of the following breakdown to scamper in for his side’s second score. Jarvis added the extras.

The Knights needed a huge reaction but by this point had been forced to defend for a significant proportion of the game and there is a reason Bristol sit undefeated at the top of the Championship.

Donny looked to hit back at Andy Robinson’s charges but the Bristol were able to continue to starve the Knights of possession and their set piece seemed to get stronger as the game went on.

It was the hosts who had the final say, which put the game beyond the Knights. Unsurprisingly the score from a driving maul, flanker Olly Robinson the man who grounded the ball to secure a 24-12 victory.

The Knights deserved more than the zero point return they took back to Castle Park and matched an impressive Bristol side for the vast majority of the game but all credit must go to Brist who gave a demonstration in consistency and winning ugly.

Match Statistics

Bristol XV 15) Auguy Slowik, 14) Jack Wallace, 13) Gareth Maule, 12) Ben Mosses, 11) Darren Hudson, 10) Adrian Jarvis (Nicky Robinson 75’), 9) Dwayne Peel (c) (Luke Baldwin 75 mins’) 1) Kyle Traynor, 2) Max Crumpton (Rhys Lawrence 48’), 3) Gaston Cortes (James Hall 51’), 4) Ian Evans, 5) Mark Sorenson, 6) Nick Koster, 7) (Olly Robinson, 8) Ryan Jones.

Replacements; 16) Rhys Lawrence, 17) James Hall, 18) Glen Townson, 19) Mitch Eadie, 20) Luke Baldwin, 21) Nicky Robinson, 22) Luke Eves.

Tries; Crumpton 8’, Peel 59’, Robinson 75’

Conv Jarvis 8’, 59’, 74’

Pens Jarvis 15’,

Knights XV 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Stephen Hihetah, 12) Bevon Armitage, 11) Tyson Lewis (John O’Donnell 69’), 10) Paul Roberts (Jamie Lennard 69’), 9) Bruno Bravo (Jack Maplesden 75’), 1) Tom Davies (Richard List 25’), 2) Ben Hunter (Jack Bergmanas 75’), 3) Colin Quigley, 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Jon Phelan, 6) Latu Makaafi (Will Foden 75’), 7) Michael Hills © 8) Phil Eggleshaw.

Replacements; 16) Richard List, 17) Jack Bergmanas, 18) Glen Kenworthy, 19) Will Foden, 20) Jamie Lennard, 21) John O’Donnell, 22) Jack Maplesden.



Pens; Flockhart 6’, 11’, 18’, 28’

Sin Bin; Makaafi 37, Flockhart 55’

Attendance: 7,589

Referee: Simon Harding

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