Newcastle Falcons – 13/08/2016

34Newcastle Falcons

12Doncaster Knights

3:00 pm · August 13, 2016

Falcons 34-12 Knights

Doncaster Knights kicked off their trio of pre-season fixtures with a 34-12 defeat away at Premiership outfit Newcastle Falcons but, despite the score line, can take plenty of positives from a fixture that was evenly match in many aspects for the vast majority.

The Knights coaching staff used the fixture to blood a variety of combinations and players with all 31 of the match day squad getting a run out.

The opening twenty minutes saw the Knights absorb a barrage of pressure early doors with the Falcons threatening twice through Dan Marshall and then Juan Pablo Socino. A combination of errors and staunch defence prevented the Knights from conceding but the early momentum was certainly with the hosts.

Pre-season fixtures are rarely, if ever, the finished article and there were mistakes a plenty from both sides. Handling errors, penalties and shaky set pieces interrupted much of the early flow but despite that both sides showed glimpses.

The Knights first real opportunity of the game came on 18 minutes when Mat Clark hit a nice line before handing on to Lloyd Hayes who was brought down deep in the Falcons 22m. Clark was also the catalyst for the next Knights opportunity which resulted in the game’s opening score. The midfielder claimed a loose ball on half way before shrugging his way through a couple of challenges to feed Sean Scanlon and the full back raced away untouched. Dougie Flockhart added the extras.

Unfortunately, the Knights were unable to continue their resistance in the second quarter and the Falcons registered a quick-fire brace of tries through hooker Scott Lawson. Donny indiscipline, twinned with more creative running from the Newcastle backs put the hosts in good range and the pack twice barreled over from driving lineouts. Hodgson converted one to take the score to 12-7.

The Knights reacted well and, having forced a clearance out on the full from Hodgson post restart, pinned the Falcons back on to their own goal line. Glen Young looked as if he’d scored against his parent club as he bashed his way over the line from short range but the lock forward was judged not to have grounded the ball. From the resulting scrum the Knights gave away a sloppy penalty letting Newcastle of the hook.

The final word of the first half went the way of the Falcons as lively scrum half Sam Egerton took a quick free kick before feeding Socino at full pelt. The centre caused havoc in a broken field to go close before Canadian second row Evan Olmstead collected and ran it in from short range. Hodgson’s successful conversion ended the half with the scores at 19-7.

Both sides, unsurprisingly, made a raft of changes for the second half which saw Knights Legend Glen Kenworthy extend his tally of appearances further. The Falcons came out brightly after the break but following a brief stint of pressure the Knights had the better of the quarter three. Sam Edgerley looked lively at the breakdown and good carries from Paul Jarvis, Ben Hunter and Freddy Tuilagi gave the Knights forward momentum.

Despite gaining good territory the Knights struggled to maintain extended phases of possession with both sides guilty of carelessly turning over the ball. Neither side managed a breakthrough in the face of good defence and when the hosts won a penalty on the hour mark Mike Delany added the three to end the quarter.

The danger always was that the Knights might fade away in the dying stages of the fixture but Doncaster made a bright start to the final quarter; scoring after just four minutes. A deep lineout was brought infield where Michael Hills carried impressively to get close. The ball went blind in the next phase and James Fitzpatrick did well to draw defenders before offloading out of contact to back row Max Davies who touched down. Humberstone’s conversion from out wide just drifted to the right of the posts, 22-12.

The Knights took a blow in the final ten minutes as skipper Michael Hills was forced from the field of play with what looked like quite a nasty hamstring injury and the closing stages went with the hosts.

Two late tries in the last seven minutes put gloss on the score line for the Falcons as former Knight Ben Sowery crashed over at the back of another driving line out before winger Zach Kibirige finished off some slick phase play in the corner.

Overall, not a bad performance from the Knights who showed plenty of glimpses against this well-drilled Premiership outfit there is still, however, plenty to be done before the Championship begins next month.

Match Statistics

Falcons XV; 15) Alex Tait, 14) Dan Marshall, 13) Dominic Waldouck, 12) Juan Pablo Socino, 11) Sinoti Sinoti, 10) Joel Hodgson, 9) Sam Egerton, 1) Jon Welsh, 2) Scott Lawson, 3) Taione Vea, 4) Will Witty, 5) Evan Olmstead, 6) Joshua Chisanga, 7) Will Welch (captain), 8) Mark Wilson

Replacements; 16) Ben Sowrey, 17) Alex Rogers, 18) Paddy Ryan, 19) Calum Green, (Blank shirt) Andrew Davidson, 20) Tyrone Holmes, (Blank shirt) Dan Temm, 21) Ruaridh Dawson, 22) Mike Delany, (Blank shirt) Craig Willis, (Blank shirt) Ben Stevenson, (Blank shirt) Tom Catterick, (Blank shirt) Zach Kibirige, 23) Simon Hammersley. (All used)

Tries; Lawson 24’, 29’, Olmstead 40’, Sowery 73’, Kirbirige 78’

Cons; Hodgson 30’, 40’ Delany 73’

Pens; Delany 60’


Knights XV; 15) Sean Scanlon, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Lloyd Hayes, 12) Mat Clark, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Dec Cusack, 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Robin Hislop, 2) Harry Allen, 3) WillGriff John, 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Dave Nolan, 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Jarad Williams.

Replacements; 16) Rich List, 17) Joe Sproston, 18) Ben Hunter, 19) Glen Young, 20) Simon Humberstone, 21) Andy Bulumakau, 22) Paul Jarvis, 3) Colin Quigley, Blank) Andrew Foster, Blank) Dave Nelson, Blank) Dan Moolman, Blank) Fred Tuilagi, Blank) Max Davies, Blank) Sam Edgerley, Blank) James Fitzpatrick, Blank) Dave McIlwaine, (Blank) Glen Kenworthy (All used).

Tries; Scanlon 20’Davies 64’

Cons; Flockhart 20’


Referee: Ian Tempest.

Attendance: 3,039.

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