Yorkshire Carnegie – 01/05/2016

17Yorkshire Carnegie

30Doncaster Knights

3:00 pm · May 1, 2016

The Knights reminded many of their promotion credentials following a storming 17-30 victory at Headingley’s Carnegie Stadium. 

The win means that the Knights will take a 13-point advantage back to Castle Park for next Sunday’s return leg and it could have been more if not for a Ryan Burrows inspired resurgence at the very end from the hosts.

In what many were calling the biggest game in the Club’s history, the Knights certainly did not fail to deliver and took control in the first half with two scores from Will Hurrell and Andy Bulumakau. A penalty try shortly after half time extended the lead to over twenty before a Carnegie rally late on left the Knights 13-points to the good.

Regular season contests between the two sides had been hard fought affairs with Carnegie winning on aggregate by just a single point but Donny certainly looked the more impressive outfit today.

In the opening exchanges the hosts struggled get a hand on the ball as the Knights quickly manoeuvred possession around the field, a far-cry from some of the slow starts shown in recent contests with Moseley, Bedford and London Welsh.

An early penalty provided the first opportunity for points but Dec Cusack couldn’t quite stick his target, however, it did little to deter his side who continued to test the home defences in the opening exchanges.

The first try came soon after, Andy Bulumakau broke the line, making impressive ground down the blindside. Against a back peddling defence Donny carried purposefully and Will Hurrell cut a line that could not be stopped to smash over the whitewash with just five minutes played. Following a brief stoppage for Mike Myerscough treatment Cusack added the extras and the Knights were up and running.

The shell-shocked hosts continued to struggle to make an impact on the game and, whilst the Knights lineout stuttered, the forwards enjoyed the upper hand at scrum time most of the afternoon. The scrum produced a penalty on 23 minutes and Cusack successfully converted, 0-10 – a fair reflection of the opening quarter.

The Knights seemed to be enjoying it and a frustrated Carnegie found themselves on the wrong side of the referee’s whistle. Indiscipline at a lineout deep in the home 22m saw prop Charlie Beech yellow carded as the Carnegie pack illegally dropped a Knights driving maul. The Knights put the resulting penalty back to the corner and after being stopped up front sent possession in field and began to build phases. Latu Makaafi made a thumping, trademark ,carry from first receiver which created a gap which, at full pace, Andy Bulumakau exploited to race over. Cusack was again on the money with the extras, 0-17.

The hosts finally managed to register their first points on the stroke of half time as Kevin Sinfield slotted a penalty for failure to roll away at the tackle. Half time score 17-3.

Despite the advantage and dominant early showing from the Knights the game still felt finely poised. The opening score of the second half seemed like it would be telling and it proved to be the case.

With just five minutes of the second half played the Knights were awarded a scrum 5m out after Ben Hunter was held up in goal and the front row came up trumps. Three dominant shunts sent the home pack backwards before giving way leaving referee Craig Maxwell-Keys little choice but to go under the posts for a penaty try. Following the successful conversion things were beginning to look like they may end in absolute crisis for Carnegie.

The Knights continued in the ascendancy as the second half continued but perhaps lost their clinical edge as a couple of chances were put down and penalty attempts missed. Once restored to a full compliment the hosts looked more dangerous and quickly reminded Griff’s men that the contest wasn’t quite over.

Both coaches utilised their benches as the game headed into the final quarter and Carnegie’s willingness to attack from all areas of the pitch made for an entertaining, if scrappy, ending.

After Cusack successfully added another three pointer, home talisman Ryan Burrows created a score out of a seemingly innocuous position. The number eight charged through the Knights midfield, fending challenges before eventually being stopped less that a metre short. Quickly recycled ball found its way to former Knight Oli Goss who collected and sprinted over, Hodgson’s conversion made it 10-27.

The revitalised hosts went in search of another and got their reward when Chris Walker dropped over the line at the back of a successfully worked driving maul. Hogdson added the extras and in the closing stages Carnegie looked to lessen the gap further, after several attacking phases play was eventually brought to an end.

Full time will have brought a variety of emotions to the Knights players and staff, this game could well have been over after the opening hour if not for the late Carnegie charge. That said, if you’d offered anyone at Castle Park a thirteen-point win at kick off I’m sure they’d have bitten your hand off!

Match Statistics

Carnegie; 15) Jonah Holmes, 14) Oli Goss, 13)  Andy Forsyth, 12) Pete Lucock, 11) Taylor Prell, 10) Kevin Sinfield (Joel Hodgson 64’), 9) Chris Pilgrim (Max Green 61’), 1) Charlie Beech (Lee Imiolek 50’), 2) Jack Walker (Phil Nilsen 76’), 3) Rob O’Donnell (James Tideswell 50’), 4) Mike Myerscough (Dean Schofield 50’), 5) Matt Smith, 6) Richard Beck, 7) Andy Saull (Chris Walker 50’), 8) Ryan Burrows (c)

Replacements; 16) Phil Nilsen, 17) Lee Imiolek, 18) James Tideswell, 19) Dean Schofield, 20) Chris Walker, 21) Max Green, 22) Joel Hodgson

Tries; Goss 71’, Walker 79’

Conv; Hodgson, 71, 79’

Pens; Sinfield 40’

Sin bin; Beech 35’

Knights; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Andy Bulumakau (Ollie Bryant 67’), 13) Mat Clark, 12) Will Hurrell, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Dec Cusack, 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Rich List (Riccardo Brugnara 64’), 2) Ben Hunter (Vili Veikoso 78’), 3) Colin Quigley (WillGriff John 56’), 4) Matt Challinor (Glen Young 71’), 5) Jon Phelan 6) Latu Makaafi (Ollie Stedman 64’), 7) Michael Hills, 8) Alex Shaw.

Replacements; 16) Vili Veikoso. 17) Riccardo Brugnara, 18) WillGriff John, 19) Ollie Stedman, 20) Glen Young, 21) Ollie Bryant, 22) Brad Field.

Tries; Hurrell 5’, Bulumakau 37’, Penalty 49;

Conv; Cusack 6’, 37’, 50’

Pens; Cusack 10’, 61’ 72’  

Referee; Craig Maxwell-Keys.

Attendance; 3,102

Image by Ickledot.

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