Knights Defeat Jersey Reds to Maintain Home Record

Doncaster Knights 27 – 24 Jersey Reds 

In the afternoon sunshine Doncaster Knights opened the afternoon’s scoring and never relinquished their lead over Jersey Reds to beat the early league leaders 27-24 at Castle Park.

The Knights seemed determined from the outset and, despite some slight hiccups, were able to maintain their unbeaten run at home which began last season. Precision at the scrum, light feet from the backline and dogged defence all round seemed to be the calling card of the day for the South Yorkshire side.

The first penalty came little more than five minutes into the encounter, allowing stand-off Sam Olver, on his 50th appearance for the club, to put the Knights on the scoreboard.

With the bit between their teeth, the Knights looked determined to add to their score. Impressive footwork saw Harry Davey break from the halfway line, scampering into the Jersey 22 before feeding Kyle Evans. With a flick of the ball from Evans, Alex Dolly crashed over for the try.

Knights fans didn’t have much time to catch their breath as, on the restart, the home side went steaming down the touchline – this time with Connor Edwards the man to cross the whitewash, with Olver converting the score.

A slight lapse in defensive concentration allowed Jersey’s Guy Thompson to tear off from his side’s driving maul and dive over for the visitors’ maiden points of the match, added to by a conversion from James Mitchell.

The lineout near the try-line proved a pest once more for the Knights as Macauley Cook’s safe hands fed Euoghan Clarke who fell at the feet of his fellow forwards to ground the ball for the try, again converted by Mitchell.

Having opened the half with a penalty, Olver closed it with one as well, widening the gap to 21-14 as the sides headed in for half time.

Jersey levelled things after 15 minutes played in the second half with good phase play from Owen Brendan, Daniel Barnes and Harry Simmons putting Olowofela Taiye on the front-foot to sidestep around on-rushing defenders Dolly and Edwards, for the score.

A hectic few minutes followed a missed penalty from Olver rebounding off of the uprights, but a storming tackle from Jack Spittle held Jersey in their 22 and eventually resulted in another penalty to the Knights which Olver made sure to send soaring over.

Despite Jersey replacement Thomas Pittman levelling things 24-24 in the dying minutes of the game, the Knights kept their heads clear. A high tackle penalty saw Olver immediately call for the kicking tee and, with a calm demeanour, he once more put the Knights ahead.

Desperate, determined defence saw off the danger, and with a knock on, Jersey’s hopes of a win were dashed and the Knights roared having maintained their home victory record.

Doncaster Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Fraser Strachan (Mark Best 74′), 12 Connor Edwards,11 Jack Spittle, 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly, 1 Conrad Cade (Will Vaughan 76′), 2 George Edgson (Peter Roberts 70′), 3 Gareth Denman, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Sam Graham (C), 8 Guido Volpi (Sam Hudson 68′).

Replacements | 16 Peter Roberts, 17 Will Vaughan, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Ronan McCusker, 20 Sam Hudson, 21 Joe Green, 22 Mark Best, 23 Maliq Holden

Tries; Dolly, Edwards.

Conv; Olver.

Pens; Olver (5).

Jersey Reds XV | 15 Harry Simmons (Tom Pittman 68′); 14 Taiye Olowofela, 13 Jack Roberts (Jordan Holgate 76′), 12 Dan Barnes, 11 Will Brown; 10 Brendan Owen, 9 James Mitchell (James Elliott 68′); 1 James Flynn, 2 Eoghan Clarke (Antonio Harris 61′), 3 Steven Longwell, 4 Sean O’Connor (Zak Farrance 61′), 5 Macauley Cook, 6 Max Argyle, 7 Lewis Wynne (C) (Tim Grey 70′), 8 Guy Thompson.

Replacements | 16 Antonio Harris, 17 Huw Owen*, 18 Luke Yendle, 19 Zak Farrance, 20 Tim Grey, 21 James Elliott, 22 Tom Pittman*, 23 Jordan Holgate.

Tries; Thompson, Clarke, Taiye.

Conv; Mitchell (3).

Pens; Pittman.