Coventry 25/3/23

39Doncaster Knights


2:30 pm · March 25, 2023

Hard Fought Battle Lost at Very End for Knights at Castle Park

Doncaster Knights put on a promising and competitive performance at Castle Park today against Coventry, coming up short 39-45 in the closing minutes.

Three minutes in, the Knights were the first on the board. With an advantage coming from the original drive, the Knights recycled shortly on the line with the big back-rower Sam Hudson crashing over for the maiden points.

The sides went back and forth before Coventry levelled things. The big carries came in quick succession, getting the visitors over the line through Senitiki Nayalo with Evan Mitchell then adding the extras.

Alex Dolly added to the Knights tally with a penalty from the hard work of the Knights pack. Another, again produced by the commitment of the pack, slotted through the uprights took the Knights to 11-7.

Just short of 30 minutes played, the Knights scored their second. John Kelly controlled the ball at the rear of the scrum, which was driving confidently towards the line, before referee Sara Cox ran underneath the posts to signal the penalty try.

Coventry lessened the gap shortly after. Recycling in short carries on the edge of the Knights line, James Tyas spotted a gap big enough for him to run through on the edge. Mitchell secured the conversion as Sam Hudson was sent to the sin bin for foul play in the process of the try being scored.

The men in light blue made quick use of the man advantage. Fast pace and good hands got them over the line as Will Rigg broke and with Will Talbot-Davies in support, he passed off to the winger to reach the line before the fast-chasing Donny defenders.

The bonus point came for the travelling side just shy of half tie. Taking their lineout ball cleanly, they went for the driving maul before Tom Ball spotted a break-off option and went for it to secure the score.

The Knights struck first in the second half – just a minute in to proceedings. Sam Olver’s chip fed Maliq Holden who handed off to George Simpson, mid-tackle, and the winger had the outside option of Joe Margetts to feed for the clean run-in. With Dolly’s conversion, the home side edged ahead.

Having served his time in the sin-bin, Hudson made up for his earlier error with another try on 51 minutes. A dogged maul was brought to ground, forcing Dolly to bring in the big men for the short carries and with the extra weight of Conor Davidson bound to him, Hudson drove over the line. A lovely strike from Dolly secured the conversion.

Coventry once more closed the gap shortly following. Looking to defend the second carrier, the Knights provided soft shoulders for Tyas to slip through. Holden tried for the ankle tap on the line but the second rower was already over. With Mitchell’s conversion, the sides were back within one point.

Almost immediately, the visitors pulled ahead. Will Chudley took a high ball and cantered through an ill-formed Donny defensive line. He then fed Josh Bainbridge at the edge of the 22 and, despite gut-bursting work from Rhys Tait to get to him, the Coventry man got the score and Mitchell the conversion.

Coventry’s last score of the day came from a break off the driving maul to feed their backs for the carries instead and it was Lucas Titherington who took the final pass for the try. With Mitchell’s conversion, they came to a round 45 points.

With six minutes left to play, and the Donny side camped in the Coventry 22 receiving penalty after penalty from the scrum, the ref went to her pocket to send Jake Bridges from the field – the elected man to take the punishment for the repeated infringements.

The final points of the day went to the Knights, though not enough to secure the victory. Grit to keep going through all the penalties allowed replacement hooker Will Holling the chance to thump over the line with the ball in hand. With Olver’s conversion, the Knights came within range for the losing bonus point.

An improvement from recent performances was certainly visible from Steve Boden’s men and there were many aspects of the game that they will surely look to take momentum from in the coming weeks.

Match Statistics

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 George Simpson, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Ehize Ehizode, 5 Theo Vukasinovic, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Rhys Tait, 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Karl Garside, 19 Adam Hopkinson, 20 Max Williamson, 21 Will Yarnell, 22 Robbie Smith, 23 Martin Sigren.

Pens: Dolly 2

Tries: Hudson 2, Penalty try, Margetts, Holling

Cons: Dolly 2, Olver 

Yellow card: Sam Hudson


Coventry XV | 15 Louis Brown; 14 Will Talbot-Davies, 13 Will Rigg, 12 Lucas Titherington, 11 James Martin; 10 Evan Mitchell, 9 Will Chudley; 1 Arthur Cordwell, 2 Will Biggs, 3 Ollie Andrews, 4 James Tyas, 5 Adam Peters, 6 Tom Ball, 7 Josh Bainbridge, 8 Senitiki Nayalo.

Replacements | 16 Billy Harding, 17 James Kenny, 18 Jake Bridges, 19 George Smith, 20 Rhys Thomas, 21 Will Lane, 22 Ollie Betteridge, 23 Will Wand.

Tries: Nayalo, Tyas 2, Talbot-Davies, Ball, Bainbridge, Titherington

Cons: Mitchell 5

Yellow card: Jake Bridges


Referee: Sara Cox

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