Coventry 12/03/21

20Doncaster Knights


6:00 pm · March 12, 2021

Doncaster Knights 20-19 Coventry

Doncaster Knights made it two wins from two Championship games, holding on for a single point victory against Coventry at Castle Park.

The opening forty minutes were a treat to watch with the Knights exhibiting truly exciting attack and frightening defence; the only handicap at times was discipline.

Four back-to-back penalties in the opening exchanges eventually gave way to hooker Nic Dolly barreling over at the back of a driving line out for the visitor and Tony Fenner converted to give Cov an 0-7 lead.

They would not lead again as the Knights attacked with gusto and, if we are being critical, should have pulled completely out sight before the change of ends.

Kyle Evans took his personal try-scoring tally to four for 2021 as he opened the Knights account on fifteen minutes.

A Ben Hunter carry got the side on the front foot and James Mitchell used penalty advantage to send a chip behind the scattered Coventry defence. Jack Spittle was first to the bouncing ball and hacked forward where it fell into the path of Evans who collected and finished coolly.

John Kelly scored his first try as a Doncaster Knight shortly after, charging home from just inside the Cov 22m. A smart finish from the flanker but it was Sam Olver was the orchestrator of the score. The fly-half carried to the line and sold the visitors a dummy then delayed his pass till the final second to release the galloping Kelly.

The chances were coming thick and fast and the Knights clearly seemed to have the upper hand at scrum time. Questions could be asked as to why the home scrum dominance was not rewarded as the Knights drove their opposites into reverse on numerous occasions. That said, on thirty minutes loose head Luc Jeannot was sin binned for repeated scrum infringements.

With a man advantage the Knights battered the Cov line and when Charlie Foley hit a smart flat line at close range there was no stopping him. Olver converted and then added a penalty shortly after to leave the Knights 20-7 ahead going into the break.

If the second half flowed like the first it could well have been a cricket score but credit must go to Coventry who showed marked improvement from 60 minutes onwards and the Knights looked a little like a side that had played two games in five days.

A period of sustained pressure eventually told and replacement wing Louis James created a gap for Dolly to charge through before handing on to flanker Ben Nutley to score with the conversion bouncing back off the upright.

Only a couple of minutes later Cov were in again, Keiran Wilkinson breaking through the heart of the Knights defence before Ryan Burrows carried to within a metre. Donny gave a penalty away for over eager defending and with advantage replacement scrum half Joe Snow launch a huge, looping pass to Rob Stevenson who touched down outwide.

Wilkinson nailed the conversion from the corner to make it a one-point game with fifteen minutes left to play.

The final exchanges were frantic but the Knights did enough to see themselves home and grind out the narrowest of wins.

Plenty of food for thought for Steve Boden and the Knights coaches but the side roll into week three with two wins from two.

Match Statistics

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans 13  Charlie Foley  (Mark Best 68’) 12) Connor Edwards, 11 Jack Spittle 10 Sam Olver 9 James Mitchell, 1 Bomber Hislop (c) (Conrad Cade 67’), 2 Ben Hunter, 3 Joe Jones (Gaz Denman 57), 4 Matt Challinor, 5 Jerry Sexton 45’, 6 Will Britton (Jack Davies 62’), 7 Sam Graham (Conor Joyce 57’), 8 John Kelly (Jack Davies 60’).

Replacements | 16 Conrad Cade 17 Will Holling 18 Gaz Denman 19 Conor Joyce 20 Jack Davies 21 Reiss Cullen 22 Mark Best 23 Howard Packman

Try Evans 15’, Kelly 20’, Foley 31’

PenOlver 38’,

Conv Olver 21’

COVENTRY XV | 15 Louis Brown; 14 Rob Stevenson, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Will Owen, 11 Rob Knox (Louis James 47’) 10 Tony Fenner (Kieran Wilkinson 63’), 9 Pete White (Joe Snow 52’); 1 Luc Jeannot (Toby Trinder 62’), 2 Nic Dolly, 3 James Harper (Phil Boulton 53’), 4 Nile Dacres, 5 Cameron Jordan, 6 Sam Lewis, 7 Ben Nutley (Senitiki Nayalo 76’), 8 Ryan Burrows (capt)

Replacements | 16 Suva Ma’asi, 17 Toby Trinder, 18 Phil Boulton, 19 Kailus Hutchinson, 20 Senitiki Nayalo, 21 Joe Snow, 22 Kieran Wilkinson, 23 Louis James

Try Dolly 5’, Nutley 60’, Stevenson 65’


Conv  Fenner 6’, Wilkinson 65’

Referee: Hamish Smailes

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