Yorkshire Carnegie – 08/05/2016

14Doncaster Knights

17Yorkshire Carnegie

2:30 pm · May 8, 2016

Knights 14-17 Yorkshire Carnegie.

 The Knights entered the second leg of the play-off semi-finals knowing exactly what was required to book a place in the finals having established a 30-17 lead in the Headingley encounter seven days previous. The final score of 14-17 to Carnegie might not have been the score line home fans were hoping for but it mattered not as the Knights progressed with a 44-34 aggregate victory.

Castle Park is not accustom to hosting Knights rugby in May but the South Yorkshire weather will have had many fans wanting summer rugby union in the future. A beautiful afternoon bathed the ground in sun and the 4,797 Knights fans that were in attendance seemed full of the joys of spring.

The opening half was quite a nervy affair with the Knights not playing with quite the precision or intensity shown in opening 60 minutes of the first leg and it was the visitors who threatened first. Full-back Joel Hodgson, who had looked classy throughout the first leg, entered the line to good effect before a loose pass was spilled by lock Matt Smith.  Despite the pressure the Knigths scored first as Dec Cusack found the target following a post-scrum penalty from 43 metres to increase Knights aggregate lead to 16 points.

The Knights then created, arguably, their best chances of the first half shortly after. First, Ben Hunter made an intercept and with quickly recycled ball Dec Cusack sent a cross-field kick ahead of Tyson Lewis. The winger seemed to have won the footrace but the bounce of the ball was unkind and the opportunity lost. Shortly after, Michael Heaney instigated a nice break down the blindside, releasing Andy Bulumakau. The winger put his foot down and looked like he may have got in at the corner but the touch judge signalled for a lineout.

Carnegie looked dangerous when permitted to get the ball wide to their backs but it was through the forwards that they broke through for the game’s first score. A penalty to the corner set up a driving lineout and after being illegally dropped by the Donny pack a couple of times referee Ian Tempest awarded the penalty try and yellow carded Latu Makaafi. Sinfield’s conversion made the score 6-7.

A man light and with the overall lead now less than two scores a nervousness began to grow around Castle Park but the Knights rallied and did not pay a further price for the indiscipline and actually closed the gap to 7-6 with a second Cusack penalty whilst short-handed.

With half time approaching the Knights pack seemed to get on top at scrum time, a succession of penalties eventually led to the yellow carding of loose head Charlie Beech and from the resulting penalty Cusack edged Knights into a 9-7 lead.

Sinfield had a chance to put his side back in front with the final play of the first half but his penalty found the woodwork.

The second half got off to a perfect start as Will Hurrell made it two tries in two playoff appearances. The centre broke the line collecting a pass from Latu Makaafi at the back of the lineout before charging over for an unconverted 42nd minute score, which meant the gap was now 20 points.

The remainder of the second half belonged to the visitors but time and time again they found themselves frustrated by the resolute Doncaster defence.


Replacement back row Andy Saull threw his side a lifeline when touching down from a driving maul on 57 minutes but Sinfield, who will have hoped to have bowed out of the game on a better note, again missed the conversion leaving his side 15 points adrift over the two legs.


In the last ten minutes the Knights really had to dig deep as Carnegie threw everything they had left at the side and the pressure eventually told on 79 minutes when wing Jonah Holmes, who had earlier made a couple of strong breaks, touched down out wide from a Sinfield kick.


The late try put Carnegie in front on the but you would not have thought it given the roar that came from the record Castle Park crowd at full time. The Knights are in the play off final for the very first time and are potentially two gaems awat from the Premiership.

Match Statistics

Knights XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Andy Bulumakau, 13) Mat Clark, 12) Will Hurrell, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Dec Cusack, 9) Michael Heaney (Brad Field 79’), 1) Rich List (Riccardo Brugnara 52’), 2) Ben Hunter (Vili Veikoso 71’), 3) Colin Quigley (Joe Sproston 60’), 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Jon Phelan (Glen Young 56’), 6) Latu Makaafi (Ollie Stedman 56’), 7) Michael Hills (C), 8) Alex Shaw.

Replacements; 16) Vili Veikoso. 17) WillGriff John, 18) Riccardo Brugnara19) Ollie Stedman, 20) Glen Young, 21) Ollie Bryant, 22) Brad Field.

Tries; Hurrell 42’


Pens; Cusack 8’, 19’, 38’

Sin bin; Latu Makaafi 16’

 Knights XV; 15) Joel Hodgson, 14) Jonah Holmes, 13) Andy Forsyth, 12) Pete Lucock, 11) Taylor Prell (Seb Stegman 56’), 10) Kevin Sinfield, 9) Chris Pilgrim (Max Green 46’), 1) Charlie Beech (Lee Imiolek 46’), 2) Jack Walker (Phil Nilsen 46’), 3) James Tideswell (Rob O’Donnell 46’), 4) Dean Schofield (Tom Ryder 46’), 5) Matt Smith, 6) Richard Beck, 7) Chris Walker (Andy Saull 52’), 8) Ryan Burrows (c)

Replacements;16) Phil Nilsen, 17) Lee Imiolek, 18) Rob O’Donnell, 19) Tom Ryder, 20) Andy Saull, 21) Max Green, 22) Seb Stegmann

Tries; Penalty 16’, Saull 52’, Holmes 79’

Conv; Sinfield 17’


Referee; Ian Tempest

Attendance; 4,797

Image by Ickledot.

Our Partners