Wasps 26/8/22

0Doncaster Knights


7:45 pm · August 26, 2022

Frustrating Evening for Knights as Wasps Dominate

It was an evening culminated in frustration as Doncaster Knights fell 0-56 behind Premiership side Wasps at the final whistle of the first of two pre-season friendlies at Castle Park.

The Knights welcomed Wasps to the Doncaster ground for the first time and were in positive spirits pre-game as the purpose of the fixture was to test themselves in preparing for the upcoming Championship season.

The first blow came six minutes in to the encounter. The Knights had defended Wasps’ maul well – George Edgson and Thom Smith being pivotal in repelling the force of Dan Frost tearing off the back. However, a quick burst of pace in a jump step from Matteo Minozzi allowed the Italian to slip the tackle attempt of Ben Murphy to dart in at the corner.

Charlie Atkinson’s first attempt at goal went wide of the left upright, so just the try points.

There was a lovely, yet fruitless, phase of play from the Knights shortly after which showed what they could be capable of. Pace of hands from Jack Spittle and George Simpson released Harry Davey who managed to sneak the ball off to Robbie Smith. The new centre fed Sam Daly for a charging run into the 22 but a steal at a following lineout put Wasps back in charge.

Wasps second try developed from Murphy struggling to control the lineout catch – in batting it down to attempt to find Davidson, Brad Shields was able to get hands to it instead and released Luke Mehson to run the length of the half for the score.

A third try just shy of the end of the first quarter was courtesy of a great ball to the wing for Bassett to gain his momentum to power through the tackles of Davey and co to find the line. This marked a third in a row miss at the conversion attempt for Atkinson.

The Knights maul defence was impressive for most of the night, however, near the half hour mark, Dan Frost was able to spot light at the feet and crashed over at the bottom of a large pile to score Wasps’ fourth.

Just minutes later, a clean pick-up from the restart and a break from Wasps caught the Knights unaware. Davey committed to the tackle but Bassett’s running the supporting line was too good of an option for an offload and the winger was able to run in another.

Atkinson had his winger to thank for the placement of his touchdown as this conversion attempt was directly in front of the posts, and so, his first successful attempt of the night.

Confusion reigned on the half hour mark as the referee blew for a penalty to Wasps and looked amongst the Knights players as his hand went into his pocket. Jack Spittle was sent to the sin bin, though the reasoning for his sending from the field was unclear.

Minutes later, Wasps had another. Some serious pressure came on from the Knights in defence of the driving maul but Biyi Alo used his considerable force to thump down over the line. This time it was Minozzi who stepped up to the tee and successfully converted the score.

As half time dawned, Wasps had time to sneak one more in. Knights defended tirelessly at the breakdown on their own line but, despite the hits, the determination of Wasps was enough to see Shields pull through for the try-line.

With no conversion, the Knights ran in trailing 0-39.

A whole host of replacements were made at half time for the Knights. Conor Davidson, Alex Dolly, Edgson, Daly, Robbie Smith and Fraser Strachan all made way. In their place came Maurice Nwakor, Joe Green, George Roberts, Jared Cardew, Joe Margetts and Connor Edwards.

Half time replacements were soon followed by Murphy, Andrew Foster and Sam Olver making way for Ehize Ehizode, Karl Garside and Strachan returning to the field to hold the fly-half position.

A fantastic surprise boot to ball from Edwards had back-tracking Wasps defenders and Simpson charging it down and the crowd were delighted as just before they reached it, the ball bounced into touch for a Knights lineout in the opposition 22.

With 50 minutes played, Wasps ran the ball hard from their lineout, quickly finding themselves in the hosts’ 22. An early commitment to the tackle out wide from Spittle and Edwards allowed the opposition to run in another from Minozzi.

Newly on the field in the second half, Dan Robson’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful.

On the hour mark, Wasps were in for their second last. In some confusion, Wasps stole the ball on the centre line. Robson dashed in a chip kick for Ali Crossdale to chase down – he beat the backtracking Knights defenders by a couple of blades of grass to fall on the ball.

The last points of the game came with 15 minutes left to play. Robson got hands on Will Yarnell as the Knights scrum half was going to provide a pass from the breakdown. Batting it down, Robson put a boot to it and had the advantage of the Knights players having to turn to get a head start on running the try in.

Converting his own score, Robson sealed the game’s fate at 0-56.

The Knights didn’t let up in their pursuit of points, but time was not on their side and as the final whistle sounded, they knew that they had been bettered.

There will be multiple learnings from this game, but it is unlikely that Steve Boden will allow his men to wallow over it. The squad will be back in next week, re-focused on the task of hosting Newcastle at Castle Park on Friday.

Match Statistics

Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 Jack Spittle, 13 Robbie Smith, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 George Simpson; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 John Kelly, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Sam Daly, 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Maurice Nwakor, 18 Mak Wilson, 19 Ehize Ehizode, 20 Jared Cardew, 21 Joe Green, 22 Maliq Holden, 23 Connor Edwards, Karl Garside, Will Yarnell, Joe Margetts.


Wasps First Half XV | 15 Matteo Minozzi, 14 Luke Mehson, 13 Sam Spink, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Josh Bassett; 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Will Porter; 1 Robin Hislop, 2 Dan Frost, 3 Biyi Alo, 4 Cam Dodson, 5 Tim Cardall, 6 Ben Morris, 7 Nizaam Carr, 8 Tom Willis.

Wasps Second Half XV | 15 Ali Crossdale, 14 Luke Mehson, 13 Paolo Odogwu, 12 Olly Hartley, 11 Matteo Minozzi; 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Dan Robson; 1 Elliot Millar-Mills, 2 Tom Cruse, 3 John Ryan, 4 Fyn Brown, 5 Kiran McDonald, 6 Brad Shields, 7 James Tunney, 8 Alfie Barbeary.

Tries: Minozzi 2, Mehson, Bassett 2, Frost, Alo, Shields, Crossdale, Robson.

Conv: Atkinson, Minozzi, Robson.

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