London Irish – 20/10/2018

17Doncaster Knights

26London Irish

2:30 pm · October 20, 2018

The Knights produced a spirited display that deserved more after a 17-26 defeat to league favourites London Irish.

Last seasons relegated Premiership side left Castle Park aware they’d been in a game after failing to score in the second half for the first time this season.

The Knights started in a resilient manner from kick off as the atmosphere rose when Colin Quigley lead the side out on his 100th appearance in a Doncaster shirt.

However, it was after seven minutes that London Irish broke the deadlock. From a line out and maul, Blair Cowan dotted down, despite the best efforts of the Knights’ forwards.

Kurt Morath halted the away side’s momentum with a penalty on 13 minutes to make it 3-7. Doncaster began to gain belief and drove into the Irish 22 on a number of occasions, however couldn’t stop the visitors from extending their lead. Ben Loader exploited a gap and burst through to score, Ben Meehan then hit the post with his conversion from only 10 metres out.

The Knights fought back though and after a sustained amount of pressure Castle Park had something to cheer about. Man of the match Elliott Creed drove over halfway, before Josh Tyrell made an unbelievable break from the ruck and burst into the Irish 22. The Samoan international looked left and right for support and was grateful for Tom James to come sprinting up to score the Knights’ first try of the afternoon.

The momentum began to change as then Curtis Wilson had the opportunity to hit on the break as he kicked a loose pass, only for the bounce of the ball to favour the Exiles.

It was however the visitors that scored the next try as Fergus Mulchrone found a gap and dotted down after fighting off a couple of tackles inside the Doncaster 22.

Then Irish showed their Premiership qualities as a catch and drive extended their lead to 10-24 on 32 minutes.

The first half didn’t end with the visitors in control though, as the Knights had three opportunities to score. Firstly Tyson Lewis made a superb break down the left before being tackled, then Cameron Cowell looked to dummy as he entered the Irish 22, only to be halted in his tracks with Tom James in support.

Lewis then had another chance as he managed to find a gap and get within five metres of the London Irish try line, before he was pushed back.

For much of the second half it was a midfield battle as neither side could find a break through.

It was the Knights though that were on the front foot for much of the half as Wilson and Cowell were somehow denied a try as the former made an burst down the right into the Irish 22, before offloading to a on running Cowell, but he was unbelievably tackled by Loader with the crowd close to cheering for another Doncaster try.

The crowd were soon rewarded though on the 73rd minute as the Knights continued to attack with intensity and Lloyd Hayes found a gap on the overload to dot down. Steve McColl converted to make the score line 17-26.

The Knights kept up their valiant display, but were unlucky to not have their efforts reward with a losing bonus point at the least.

Match Statistics

Knights XV: 15. Cowell 14. Wilson 13. Hayes 12. Creed 11. Lewis(67’ McColl) 10. Morath(53’ Foley) 9. James(64’ Seniloli) 1. Hislop(62’ List) 2. Malcolm 3. Quigley(46’ Mullen(80’ Sproston) 4. Eames 5. Challinor 6. Ryan(71’ Booth) 7. Hills 8. Tyrell

Replacements: 16. Mullen 17. Sproston 18. List 19. Booth 20. Foley 21. Seniloli 22. McColl

Tries: James, Hayes Conversions: Morath 1 McColl 1 Penalties: Morath

London Irish XV: 15. Parton 14. Loader 13. Macken 12. Mulchrone 11. McLean 10. Meehan 9. McKibbin 1. Reid 2. Matu’u (60’ Porecki) 3. Cilliers (60’ Hoskins) 4. McNally 5. Paulo 6. Gilsenan 7. Cowan(67’ Rogerson) 8. Schatz (67’ Maddison)

Replacements: 16. Porecki 17. Hobbs-Awoyemi Daniel 18. Hoskins 19. Maddison 20. Rogerson 21. Atkins 22. Campbell

Tries: Mulchrone, Loader, Cowan, Matu’u Conversions: Meehan 3

Attendance: 1279

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