Nottingham 30/9/22

30Nottingham Rugby

15Doncaster Knights

7:45 pm · September 30, 2022

Frustration Reigns as Knights Fall to Nottingham at Lady Bay

It was a tough reality check for Doncaster Knights as they saw Nottingham named victors at Lady Bay as the Archers took a 30-15 home win.

The Knights spent most of the night looking to try to play wide, but their plans were hampered by not only their opposition but the conditions and the frustration which looked to have overtaken the Doncaster men in later stages of the match.

Steve Boden’s men would score just one try in the first half. Safe hands from Thom Smith at a lineout in the Nottingham 22 led to a driving maul. Alex Dolly fed Joe Margetts for the line break before the scrum half looked to take it himself but was wrapped up in the tackle. Persistence on the line was key and it was eventually John Kelly who crashed over at the base of the posts. Sam Olver’s conversion ensured the full 7 points.

A contentious evening at the breakdown began just seven minutes in when Smith believed he was over the ball, committing to the turnover, but the referee deemed the back row to have gone hands to ground first and dutifully penalised the Knights co-captain. This kind of infringement crept in throughout the night as the Donny men looked for a good handful of turnovers or counter-rucks.

This first penalty was within range for the Nottingham fly-half, Sam Hollingsworth, as he slotted it through the posts to get his side on the board.

Olver kicked a penalty of his own shortly after as the Knights took the advantage for a Nottingham offside in the hosts’ 22. It was a clean strike for the Donny man, though it would prove to be the last points of the half from a Doncaster perspective.

Nottingham’s first try came when they spotted a chance on the wide channel in the Knights’ 22 and Jordan Olowofela was the man to make the most of it to go in at the corner. However, it was just the 5 points as Hollingsworth’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

They got their second five minutes later as they again went wide for Olowofela to put a grubber kick in for Harry Graham to chase, slamming it down over the line just before Robbie Smith could reach it. Hollingsworth was this time able to convert.

Nottingham had their third as half time beckoned. This time it was Graham putting a chip kick up on the wing for Olowofela to benefit from as the full-back scored, followed by his fly-half adding the extras.

It was the beginning of an unravelling possibly as Nottingham secured their bonus point score just a minute shy of the half coming to an end. Olver and R Smith were outnumbered on the wing as both had to commit to the early tackle, giving room for Graham to run in a second. A wide of the posts conversion attempt from Hollingsworth then brough the first half action to a close.

Shortly in to the second half the Knights added a second try. Off the back of a dominant scrum showing from the Knights pack, a perfect offload in contact from Connor Edwards found R Smith. The centre in turn fed George Simpson with clean air in front of him on the wing, and there was no issue for him to run it over the line. The conversion attempt came off the side of Olver’s boot and so it was an unconverted try.

Following a 22 dropout from the Knights, Nottingham received it and made quick work of charging it back downfield. As the Knights scrambled to defend, they look to be penalised for a couple of hasty infringements and ultimately George Simpson was shown a yellow card and sent for his 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Knights looked to launch a comeback in the closing 20 minutes but a lack of ball speed and uncharacteristic miscommunication in the phases cost them their opportunities. Penalties against the Donny men for small errors such as too many rolls on the floor proved costly as well.

Nottingham sealed their winning fate on 75 minutes as they were awarded a penalty in the Knights 22 – though it was unclear what the exact infringement was as even co-captain Olver approached the referee for clarification. Replacement Morgan Bunting was the man to put it through the posts to take the hosts to a round 30 points.

The Knights will need to assess and analyse this performance, but they won’t be dwelling on it for long as they will return to the drawing board to prepare for Bedford Blues making the trip to Castle Park next Saturday, Oct 8.

Match Statistics

Nottingham XV | 15 Jordan Olowofela; 14 David Williams, 13 Charlie Thacker, 12 Javiah Pohe, 11 Harry Graham; 10 Sam Hollingsworth, 9 Liam Slatem; 1 Toby Williams, 2 Harry Clayton, 3 Dan Richardson, 4 Iosefa Maloney-Fiola, 5 Tom Manz, 6 George Cox, 7 Nathan Tweedy, 8 Josh Poullet (c).

Replacements | 16 Jack Dickinson, 17 Aniseko Sio, 18 Ben Betts, 19 Callum Allen, 20 Carl Kirwan, 21 Sam Edwards, 22 Morgan Bunting, 23 Jack Neville.

Tries: Olowofela 2, Graham 2

Cons: Hollingsworth 2

Pens: Hollingsworth


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

Replacements | 16 George Edgson, 17 Ben Carlile, 18 Karl Garside, 19 Ehize Ehizode, 20 Jared Cardew, 21 Will Yarnell, 22 Alec Lloyd-Seed, 23 Evan Mintern.

Tries: Kelly, Simpson

Cons: Olver

Pens: Olver

Yellow card: George Simpson


Referee: George Selwood

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