Nottingham Rugby – 13/09/2015

30Nottingham Rugby

36Doncaster Knights

3:00 pm · September 13, 2015

Nottingham 30 Knights 36.

The Knights recorded their first win of the season on the road at Nottingham yesterday, putting an end to an unfavourable losing record against the Green and Whites. Griff’s charges registered over thirty points for the second week running and touched down four times, however this time they ended on the right side of the score line.

The side made a bright start to their first visit to Lady Bay and took advantage of some early indiscipline in the Notts ranks. Three early penalties were all converted by Dougie Flockhart to put Donny nine points to the good with just over ten minutes played.

The Knights certainly looked the better of the two sides in the early exchanges and should probably have made a bigger dint on the scoreboard however they did not and Nottingham grew into the game. Fly half Lawrence Rayner opened the hosts account with a fourth penalty of the match, then things got worse as flanker Michael Hills was yellow carded. Referee Darren Gamage judged the Knights Skipper to have deliberately prevented a quick tap penalty for Notts and sent him for a ten-minute rest; Rayner slotted the subsequent penalty. 6-9.

Despite being reduced in number the Knights went back on the offensive following the penalty and made good yards up field. A scrum in the Notts twenty-two set up what looked like a good attacking opportunity but disaster struck when a loose pass was seized upon by Pila Longi. The winger collected and covered almost the whole field to touch down, Rayner’s conversion failed.

The try boosted the hosts and they began to play some nice attacking rugby. A powerful carry from second row Dan Montagu had the Knights back peddling and some fancy handling from Vili Hakalo opened up space for flanker Rob Langley. The summer signing from Plymouth needed no further prompting and touched down, Rayner’s conversion meant the Knights had seen a nine point lead switch to a nine-point deficit in under quarter of an hour.

With just over ten minutes till half time the next score would be crucial, boosted by the return of Hills from the sin bin the Knights won a penalty in midfield and a lengthy kick to touch from Declan Cusack put his side in range. Driving lineouts contributed to two of the Knights four tries versus London Welsh last weekend at proved to be a key weapon again. Despite a solid initial hit from the Notts pack the Knights set up a well-formed maul and rumbled over with Tyler Hotson touching down. Dougie’s conversion from the touchline connected with the upright and bounced wide. Half time score 18-14.

Nottingham drew first blood in the second half in what was almost an identical score to Hotson’s effort in the first half. A penalty was put to touch by Rayner and the Nottingham pack repelled a strong initial hit to touch down through number eight Paul Grant.

Trailing by two scores, away from home and with less than half an hour to play many sides would have been resigned to defeat but not the Knights. Griff’s men enjoyed much the better of the closing stages of the game to pull off a remarkable victory. The come back started following a period of sustained pressure close to the hosts goal posts, following a solid scrum the Knights were awarded a penalty which Ollie Stedman took quickly and barged his way through to dot down. Flockhart converted, 23-21.

The Knights then retook the lead with arguably the try of the game just moments later, a lovely move culminated in flanker Latu Makaafi crashing over for his third try of the season. Dougie was unable to add the extras but the Knights were ahead by three with the game into it’s final quarter.

Solid set piece pressure from the forwards secured both victory and a maximum return of points for the Knights not long after. Another surging rolling maul was illegally collapsed just shy of the Nottingham try line and gave referee Gamage no choice but to award a penalty try which Dougie coolly converted. Flockhart took his personal tally to 16 for the day and put the result beyond doubt moments later with a successful penalty.

Credit must go to the hosts who refused to accept a zero point return from the fixture and mounted one final, fruitful attack. Billy Robinson finished off some nice play to go over on 80 minutes and secure a four try bonus point before Rayner’s successful conversion meant the Green and Whites finished within seven of the Knights.

The win leaves the Knights second in the league at this very early stage and also sees them as the side that have scored the most points in the division. This Saturday the Knights welcome Jersey to Castle Park.

Match Statistics

Nottingham XV; 15) Billy Robinson, 14) Sam Coghlan Murray, 13) Ben Woods, 12) Viliami Hakalo, 11) Pila Iongi, 10) Lawrence Rayner, 9) Darryl Veenendaal, 1) Kieran Davies, 2) TJ Harris, 3) Conor Carey, 4) Toby Freeman, 5) Dan Montagu (c), 6) Ben Morris, 7) Rob Langley, 8) Paul Grant

Replacements; 16) Jon Vickers, 17) Tom Heard, 18) Morgan Eames, 19) Rupert Cooper, 20) Murray McConnell, 21) Will Millett, 22) Ricky Andrew

Tries; Longi 25’, Langley 27’, Grant 48’, Robinson 80’

Conv; Rayner 28’, 80’

Pens; Rayner 18’, 22’

Knights XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Andy Bulumakau 12) Bevon Armitage, 11) Will Hurell, 10) Declan Cusack, 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Ben Hunter, 2) Colin Quigley, 4) Mat Challinor, 5) Tyler Hotson, 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Ollie Stedman.

Replacements; 16) Jack Bergmanas, 17) Ted Stagg, 18) WillGriff John, 19) Jon Phelan, 20) Alex Shaw, 21) Tyson Lewis, 22) Brad Field.

Tries; Hotson 36’, Stedman 55’, Makaafi 64’, Penalty 72’.

Conv; Flockhart 55’, 72’

Pens; Flockhart 4’, 8’, 12’, 77′

Sin bin; Hills 21’

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