Canada – 20/08/2016

20Doncaster Knights


2:30 pm · August 20, 2016

The Knights held off a determined and physical Canada side to record the first win of pre-season in front of a healthy crowd at Castle Park.

In a game that didn’t at all feel like a pre-season friendly, the Knights outscored the Canucks by three tries to one to record a 20-16 victory with all of the 26 man squad getting time on the field.

The Knights made a bright to the fixture and quickly spun phases together from kick off, demonstrating much of the structure that seemed missing for long periods in the opening clash versus Newcastle.

A lengthy injury to visiting flanker Oliver Nott meant a break in play but it did little to interrupt the Knights early momentum. Good work from the home pack forced a scrum penalty which was put to touch and, having worked the ball in field, space was created out wide for Simon Humberstone to thread a neat chip to Tyson Lewis who dotted down. Humberstone couldn’t add the extras, 5-0.

The opening exchanges continued to go with the Knights but, at times, execution let them down and with their first real venture into Doncaster territory the visitors won a penalty and skipper Gordon McRorie hit the three. The Canadian’s almost went in again shortly after as number eight Admir Cejvanovic showed good vision to intercept a loose pass in the Knights midfield. Great determination from Humberstone saw the fly-half chase back and make the tackle with Paul Jarvis doing equally well to stop Jordan Wilson-Ross after he collected the offload.

The set piece provided the basis for the Knights second score of the afternoon. Having forced another scrum penalty the pack produced a fine line out move that resulted in hooker Ben Hunter charging home from all of twenty metres. After hitting his target possession was quickly tapped back to Hunter who took advantage of the open space on the blindside to cross untouched.

There were no more tries before the half however McRorie added another penalty meaning the teams went into the interval with the Knights 10-6 ahead.

Last weekend’s fixture saw wholesale changes at half time however this week the Knights coaching staff made just two; introducing Robin Hislop and Dec Cusack at the break. Few would argue that the Knights weren’t the better side as the second half progressed but they struggled to turn pressure into points as the visitors defended admirably.

Both teams utilised their bench as the game headed towards the hour mark but there was no change to the scoreboard till the 65th minute when McRorie struck his third penalty of the afternoon to reduce to deficit to a point despite heavy Donny pressure.

A series of penalties and powerful phase play mean the Knights kept the Canucks under the cosh and eventually Pat Parfrey was shown a yellow card; the casualty of multiple team offences. The numerical advantage didn’t ease the Knights offensive concerns but they were able to add to their score on 68 minutes when Dec Cusack hit a three following another scrum penalty.

A Canadian mistake eventually forced the breakthrough for the Knigths, a dropped ball in midfield was punted forward by debutant Ed Falkingham. Glen Young won the foot race and was able to hack possession forward before touching down. Cusack’s conversion made the score 20-9 with just five minutes left to play.

The visitors had no intention on giving up on the fixture and a forward pass deep in the Knights 22m created a platform for attack. A series of pick and go carries got Canada to within a metre before replacement Lucas Albornoz barged his way over for a score. Robbie Povey added the extras to make it 20-16 with time left on the clock.

Ultimately though there was to be no comeback as the Knights finished strong and could have scored again after Michael Heaney and Sam Edgerley combined well to make ground from a short side scrum. At full pelt Robin Hislop was just unable to hold on to possession as he charged towards the line and shortly after the referee blew for full time.

A gritty win for the Knights on the day and another step in the right direction, next up Darlington Mowden Park at Castle Park next Saturday (27/08/16), kick off 14:30.

Match Statistics

Knights XV; 15) Sean Scanlon, 14) Paul Jarvis, 13) Mat Clark, 12) James Fitzpatrick, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Simon Humberstone, 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Richard List ©, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) WillGriff John, 4) Glen Young, 5) David Nolan, 6) Latu Makaaafi, 7) Will Owen, 8) Jarad Williams.

Replacements; 16) Robin Hislop, 17) Joe Sproston, 18) Harry Allen, 19) Ed Falkingham, 20) Dec Cusack, 21) Sam Edgerley, Blank) Dave Nelson, Blank) Matt Challinor, Blank) Alex Shaw, Blank) Lloyd Hayes, Blank) Charlie Thacker. (All used)

Tries; Lewis 6’, Hunter 27’, Young 73’

Cons; Cusack 74’

Pens; Cusack 68’


Canada; 1) Anthony Luca, 2) Eric Howard, 3) Ryan Kotlewski, 4) Adrian Wadden, 5) Kyle Baillie, 6) Nanyak Dala 7) Oliver Nott, 8) Admir Cejvanovic, 9) Gordon McRorie,  10) Pat Parfrey, 11) Dan Moor, 12) Doug Fraser, 13) Mozac Samson, 14) Jordan Wilson-Ross, 15) Aidan McMullan

Replacements; 16. Alex Mascott, 17) Peter Houlihan, 18) Cody McClary, 19) Conor Keys, 20) Lucas Albornoz, 21) Matt Heaton, 22) Daniel Joyce, 23) Robbie Povey, 24) Guiseppe du Toit, 25) Sam Hayward, 26) Kainoa Lloyd. (All used)

Tries; Albornoz 76’

Cons; Povey 77’

Pens; Mcrorie 14’, 32’, 65’


Attendance: 873

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