Newcastle Falcons 2/9/22

29Doncaster Knights

33Newcastle Falcons

7:45 pm · September 2, 2022

Strong Knights Performance Pushes Falcons for Full 80 Minutes

Doncaster Knights were in strong form last night at Castle Park as it took until the 80th minute for Newcastle to get the better of the home team to sneak the 29-33 win.

An even opening 10 minutes convinced the Doncaster ground’s crowd that they were sure to be in for a battle of a match between the Championship and Premiership sides.

On 15 minutes, the Donny men were the first over the whitewash. Having looked for ground with the rolling maul from a 5m lineout, the Knights brought the backs into play. At the breakdown, Alex Dolly changed the direction of play, passing to Joe Margetts who gave a no-look out-the-back pass to Sam Olver. The fly half missed a man with his long spiral pass out to Maliq Holden on the wing for him to dot it down over his head in the tackle.

Olver began his time at the kicking tea with a solid conversion and the Knights were firmly on the scoreboard.

The Knights almost had a second not long following as Harry Davey took the ball and stormed up-field. George Simpson and Connor Edwards followed him up with lovely runs of their own to break well into the Falcons half but the phase was halted by an infringement for not releasing.

Just after the half hour mark Falcons secured their first points. With a lineout on the Knights’ 5m line, George McGuigan broke through the middle of the ruck to charge towards the line. He flicked the ball to Cameron Noroli-Kelemeti for the score. With Brett Connon’s conversion, the two sides were all square.

As half time fast approached, the Knights were hungry for another score. A belter of a run through the line form Sam Hudson allowed him to collect an Olver chip-kick at pace. The back row fed Margetts who danced his way on only to be torn down in the Falcons 22.

The platform had been formed however and, working hard through the phases in the opposition’s close quarters territory, Olver soon saw the chance for a searching kick through the feet and George Simpson had the same idea as he tore onto it to score his first try in Donny colours.

An unsuccessful conversion attempt from Olver kept things at 5 points but the Knights were still able to run in for the break with a lead, albeit only by 12-7.

At the commencement of the second half, it was the visitors who struck first. Falcons drove their maul towards the line and their speed was too intense for the Knights to set properly and so, McGuigan was able to go over with Connon converting.

The Knights were soon back in front. A beautiful spot of interplay between the backs started the move. Light hands and fast feet swooped the ball from Edwards to Olver to Davey to Margetts to Simpson who was the man to make the substantial line break. Persistence in touching distance of the line paid off as John Kelly – at his barnstorming best – crashed over for the points. A conversion from Olver took the Knights an unconverted try ahead.

The Doncaster defence was as affective as their attack on a number of occasions – one most notably when Carl Fearns took the ball, expecting to run through the line but instead found himself wrapped up in a joint tackle from Jared Cardew and Sam Daly.

With an hour just gone, the Knights were scoring another. Robbie Smith broke the line, finding his fellow replacement centre Fraser Strachan on his outside. Strachan made yards before bringing in Olver and Kelly for a quick interchange of hands before the co-captain fed back to Smith to run over the score. With a conversion, the home side were 26-14 ahead.

Minutes later, the Knights were reduced to 14 men as Daly was sent to the sin bin, for what looked to be cynical play on the halfway.

As full-time was closing in, the opposition crossed to narrow the gap. Charlie Maddison scored at the feet of a driving maul as Tian Schoeman added the extras to bring the standings to 26-21.

The Falcons didn’t take long to get themselves back into the Knights 22, courtesy of a breakdown penalty which allowed them to go for the corner. They went to the front with their jump and looked to maul. With some slight confusion, the ref came away from the move to call for a penalty try to be awarded to the Falcons, nudging them into the lead.

The Donny men responded as they launched an attack of their own on their opposition’s 22. A penalty to the hosts at a Falcons scrum was a much needed advantage. As they battered away at the line looking for the try, a chance came in the form of a penalty being awarded within kicking distance of the sticks. As the Knights replacements screamed from the sidelines for the posts, Alec Lloyd-Seed indicated to the ref for the kicking tee.

A beautifully struck kick from the young replacement fly-half put the Knights ahead by a single point as Castle Park thrived off of the positive energy emanating from the field.

Unfortunately, Falcons got a whisper of a chance on 80 minutes and took it gladly. A slipped tackle in the wide channel and a man overlap allowed Adam Radwan to leap across in the corner sealing the game’s fate despite Schoeman’s conversion attempt going wide.

Ultimately, from a Knights point of view, the night was one of real development. A number of players raised their hands as stand-out performers in the encounter and the interchange amongst teammates along with individual performances will surely fuel the team and coaching staff’s desire into the new Championship season.

Match Statistics

Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey; 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 John Kelly, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Jared Cardew, 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Edgson, 17 Maurice Nwakor, 18 Mak Wilson, 19 Ehize Ehizode, 20 Sam Daly, 21 Joe Green, 22 Fraser Strachan, 23 Robbie Smith, Karl Garside, Will Yarnell, Will Holling, Jack Spittle, Alec Lloyd-Seed.

Tries: Holden, Simpson, Kelly, R Smith.

Cons: Olver (x3).

Pens: Lloyd-Seed.

Yellow card: Sam Daly.


Newcastle Falcons XV | 15 Iwan Stephens; 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Ben Stevenson, 12 Pete Lucock, 11 Nathan Earle; 10 Brett Connon, 9 Cameron Noroli-Kelemeti; 1 Phil Brantingham, 2 George McGuigan, 3 Trevor Davison, 4 Greg Peterson, 5 Matthew Dalton, 6 Will Welch, 7 Marcus Tiffen, 8 Carl Fearns.

Replacements | 16 Charlie Maddison, 17 Logovi’I Mulipola, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Josh Peters, 20 Jamie Blamire, 21 Josh Barton, 22 Tian Schoeman, 23 Ewan Greenlaw, Tom Marshall, Josh Thomas, Alex Tait.

Tries: Noroli-Kelemeti, McGuigan, Maddison, Penalty try, Radwan.

Cons: Connon (x2), Schoeman.

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