Hartpury 14/1/23

10Doncaster Knights

25Hartpury RFC

2:30 pm · January 14, 2023

Knights Suffer First Home Loss of the Season Against Hartpury

It was a frustrating afternoon for the Knights as they fell 10-25 against a more determined Hartpury side.

It was an unusually disjointed display from the Doncaster men who were not at their well-connected and hard-hitting best.

Hartpury struck within the first 2 minutes as, having charged down Alex Dolly’s original ruck clearance kick attempt, the opposition played with pace in the 22 setting up a long looping pass out to Sam Smith who ran in the try on the wing. One to watch Tommy Mathews added the conversion.

While the majority of the first half had back-and-forth rugby played, it wasn’t until the half hour mark that the Knights camped out in the Hartpury 22 for a spell. Frustratingly, their only reward was a 3-point penalty when their opposition were penalised for not releasing the tackler and Dolly slotted the kick at goal.

On 34 minutes played, the Knights efforts to get back on the scoreboard or defend their line were not helped by a sin-binning for George Simpson. The back was shown a yellow card by the referee for what looked to be repeated infringements of hands on the floor at the ruck.

Hartpury added 3 points to their tally for that infringement, and the scoreboard would remain at 3-10 as the sides ran in to the changing rooms for half-time.

Minutes into the second half, Hartpury re-established their intent with another try. Working with pace in the Knights 22, they found a soft shoulder to brush past and Matthew Jones received the pass to run in underneath the posts. Mathews’ conversion further widened the gap for a prospective Knights comeback.

Some gut-busting work went in just shy of 50 minutes played as the Knights forwards did their utmost with the short recycles on the Hartpury line but when a John Kelly leap over defenders on the line was called held-up, Hartpury were able to take the drop-out to relieve the pressure.

On the hour mark, the Knights fans had cause to cheer as the Donny men scored their only try of the day. Jack Metcalf, on home debut, got the perfect bounce on a chip Joe Green had put up for him and was brought down just 5m shy of the line. Having re-set well from that original carry, George Simpson received the pass to soar over in the corner for the score.

A conversion attempt from the touchline curved in nicely from replacement Billy McBryde, and a little nudge off of one of the uprights ensured the ball was knocked in for the extra points.

The Knights looked for the turnover at the breakdown as the clock ticked down but, on the edge of their 22, they were penalised for not rolling away and Mathews’ successful shot at goal took Hartpury further out of reach.

The final nail in the coffin came with an interception try for the visitors 3 from time. Olver looked for a connection pass to Simpson on the wing for the Knights, but Jake Morris tore through the line to intercept and run the length of the half to seal Hartpury’s win, even without a conversion.

It was a frustrating, off-the-pace afternoon for the Knights as they suffered their first loss at Castle Park this season. Some tough conversations will need to be had amongst the squad and coaching staff before regrouping to focus on next week’s trip to London to take on Richmond.

Match Statistics

Knights XV | 15 Maliq Holden; 14 George Simpson, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Robbie Smith; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Ben Carlile, 2 George Roberts, 3 Jake Armstrong, 4 Ehize Ehizode, 5 Evan Mintern, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Thom Smith, 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 James Wayland, 18 Karl Garside, 19 Martin Sigren, 20 Jared Cardew, 21 Joe Green, 22 Billy McBryde, 23 Jack Metcalf.

Pens: Dolly

Tries: Simpson

Cons: McBryde

Yellow card: George Simpson


Hartpury XV | 15 Jake Morris; 14 Brad Denty, 13 Will Butler, 12 Harry Tarling, 11 Sam Smith; 10 Tommy Mathews, 9 Matty Jones; 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 Will Tanner, 3 Jon Benz-Salomon, 4 Jack Davies, 5 Dale Lemon, 6 Sam Lewis, 7 Ollie Robinson, 8 Joe Howard.

Replacements | 16 Luke Stratford, 17 Alex Gibson, 18 Aristot Benz-Salomon, 19 Jake Holcombe, 20 Ethan Staddon, 21 Rhys Price, 22 Charlie Foley, 23 Mathew McNab.

Pens: Mathews 2

Tries: Smith, Jones, Morris

Cons: Mathews 2


Referee: Jonathan Cook

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