Bristol Rugby – 22/10/2017

22Bristol Rugby

33Doncaster Knights

2:00 pm · October 22, 2017

Bristol 22-33 Doncaster Knights

An adjusted Knights side, which included two Academy players, produced a fine performance to inflict a first defeat of 2017/18 on Championship leaders Bristol.

The Knights made it three wins in a row at Ashton Gate as they outscored Pat Lam’s Bristol by four tries to three to return to Castle Park with maximum points and in truth they could have won by more.

Strong starts have become an early season feature for the Knights and it continued today but while in recent weeks the early promise hasn’t neccessarily translated into points, today the Knights made the early pressure pay.

Will Owen, who had a fine afternoon wearing the captain’s armband, created the first opportunity for points with the game only moments old.

The centre broke through a tackle to carry deep into the Bristol half before offloading to Jason Hill. Hill made it into the 22m before being hauled down and at the resulting breakdown home fullback Jack Wallace was penalized and sin binned. Simon Humberstone took the points on offer and the Knights were up and running.

The game’s first try followed moments later as hooker Curtis Langdon marked his first start with a score at the back of a line out.

A well hit up and under from Declan Cusack was chased aggressively by Tom James who was able to harry scrum half Ryan Glynn into touch deep in his own 22m. The Knights threw to the back of the line out and drove over for Langdon to touch down. Humberstone’s conversion got caught in the wind but the Knights had a perfect start.

A lapse in concentration allowed the hosts back into the game just three minutes later, following a rather harsh forward pass called against Ian William to Langdon. From the resulting scrum Bristol attacked the blind side and Andy Bulumakau gambled to go after a wide pass towards Aaron Chapman. Andy must have felt the ball brush his fingertips but it wasn’t enough and Chapman raced over.

Sheedy could not add the extras but he levelled the scores shortly after with a penalty when lock Nick Civetta was sin-binned for a high tackle on the home fly half.

Smart play from Sam Jones saw the youngster carry from the base of ruck, the flanker made it into the 22m before being hauled down where the home defence fell foul of the referees whistle. Humberstone reinstated the Knights lead which they would hold for the rest of the game.

As the game entered the second quarter the Knights continued to threaten and opportunities continued to be made, Bulumakau and Langdon went very close before skipper Owen crossed for the second shortly before the half hour.

A series of penalties and driving lineouts had the Bristol defence hanging on but after a third Knights drive, deep in the home 22m, the gap was found. Quick pick and go carries set up a nice platform for Owen to hit a smashing line at full tilt and grab his first of a brace of tries. Humberstone added the extras to give the Knights a ten-point lead which they took into the break; probably kicking themselves that it wasn’t more.

A response was needed by the hosts and they did look a little brighter following the restart but the majority of play still belonged to the Knights. The set piece was solid throughout and the backline made good use of the clean ball provided.

On fifty minutes the Knights lead was extended after Tom James reacted quickest to a spilled ball just outside the Bristol 22m. Possession was flung wide giving Tyson Lewis a clean run to the line, the wing hit full speed and it look as if no one would get close, however, an unorthodox finish from the pace man was enough to put some doubt in referee Adam Leal’s mind but after a quick consultation with his touch judge he put his hand in the air.

At 8-26 the game looked won but Bristol did not roll over and played their best rugby in the game’s final quarter.

Callum Sheedy, who performed so impressively in the play-off finals against the Knights, looked sharp and it was from one of his kicks that Bristol scored their second. The fly half dinked a chip behind the Knights defensive line where it was collected and quickly recycled. Ryan Glynn then sent a grubber into the Donny goal area and James Newey won the foot race to collect and score.

The Knights produced an immediate response to put the fixture beyond doubt as Will Owen got his second. Declan Cusack made the unusual decision to kick to Bulumakau rather than pass but his well-executed shot was collected by the winger who found Lloyd Hayes in support. The midfield was stopped just short and handed on to Owen who weaved through a couple of bodies to finish. Cusack converted well from the touchline; 15-33.

The final say of the afternoon went to the hosts as they emptied the bench and threw everything at the Knights in the dying minutes. Tom Hicks joined skipper Michael Hills in the sin bin for technical offenses and a gap outwide was exploited by flanker James Dun. Newey converted to make the final score 22-33.

Overall an impressive attacking display from the Knights who will have a renewed confidence heading into this Sunday’s clash with Cornish Pirates.

Match Statistics

Bristol Rugby: 15. Jack Wallace; 14. Ryan Edwards, 13. James Newey, 12. Will Hurrell, 11. Aaron Chapman (Charlie Powell 63’) 10. Callum Sheedy (Tom Hargan 79’), 9. Ryan Glynn (Reiss Cullen 62’); 1. Jack Cosgrove (Nick English 79’), 2. Ben Gompels (Will Capon 50’), 3. Tyler Gendall (Tom Rowland 79’), 4. Joe Batley, 5. Ehize Ehizode, 6. James Dun, 7. Dave Watchorn (Jack Capon 63’), 8. Nick Fenton-Wells (c).

Replacements: 16. Will Capon, 17. Tom Rowland, 18. Nick English, 19. Jack Capon, 20. Reiss Cullen, 21. Charlie Powell, 22. Tom Hargan.

Tries; Chapman 8’, Newey 58’, Dun 80’

Conv; Sheedy 59’, Newey 80’

Pens; Sheedy 14’

Knights XV: 15) Declan Cusack, 14) Andy Bulumakau, 13) Lloyd Hayes, 12) Will Owen ©, 11) Tyson Lewis (James Wright 73’), 10) Simon Humberstone, 9) Tom James, 1) Owen Evans (Jack Bergmanas 73’), 2) Curtis Langdon (Ben Hunter 60’), 3) Ian Williams (Joe Sproston 62’), 4) Nick Civetta, 5) Tom Hicks, 6) Alex Shaw, 7) Sam Jones (Michael Hills 62’), 8) Jason Hill.

Replacements: 16) Ben Hunter, 17) Jack Bergmanas, 18) Joe Sproston, 19) Matt Challinor, 20) Michael Hills, 21) Michael Heaney, 22) James Wright.

Tries; Langdon 5’, Owen 28’, 62’, Lewis 50’

Conv; Humberstone 29’, Cusack 61’

Pens; Humberstone 3’, 17’, 44’

Attendance: 7,428

Our Partners