Knights keep play off hopes alive with second half fightback.
2nd May 2021
Doncaster Knights 27-19 Bedford Blues
Doncaster Knights kept their play-off hopes alive with a bonus point victory against Bedford Blues at Castle Park.
In an absorbing clash the Blues ran Donny extremely close, racing into a 0-12 lead before the Knights secured the win with fifteen unanswered points in the second half.
The visitors began the game at a hellish pace, with their running game catching the Donny defense cold in the early exchanges. Coast-to-coast play saw the Blues outside backs find space and get offloads away keeping the Knights firmly on the back foot.
The pressure told after Connor Joyce was sin-binned for playing scrum half Connor Tupai with the Knights desperately defending their try line. From the resulting penalty the Blues went to corner and rumbled to within an inch before number eight Oli Robinson battled over for a try converted by Will Maisey.
Five minutes later the Blues were in again, after controlling possession and running with some serious intent space was created down the right hand side. Robinson drew in defenders before throwing a lovely offload for Josh Gillespie to collect and finish in the corner.
Thankfully this seemed to breath some life into the Knights side and in the second quarter they managed to string a few attacks together. A nice starter play post line out saw Will Holling carry well into the Blues 22m but the Knights could not capitalize.
The home attack continued to build and a lovely delayed pass from Billy McBryde found its way to Kyle Evans who tiptoed the touch line before offloading back infield to McBryde who galloped home. Olver added the extras.
A high tackle called against Guido Volpi dampened the home momentum and was well kicked to the corner by Maisey. Following a scrappy maul, The Blues pack picked & carried with Ollie Newman forcing his way home to score.
The referee signaled that there would be time for the restart & Howard Packman chased a short restart which drew a knock on out of Will Carrick Smith.
A penalty from the resulting scrum put the Knights in the corner and, off the back of a line out peel, Charlie Foley carried to close range. The Blues gave up two penalties as they defended their line which were tapped by the Knights with Matt Challinor scoring to end the half with the scores at 12-19.
The Knights emerged from the second half full of vigour and intensity and were camped on the visitors’ line for a good five minutes after the restart. Sadly, the pressure came to nothing as the Blues held on to eventually force a penalty.
Donny would not be denied for long though as good work from Howard Packman saw the winger work his way down field before a penalty for conceded on the floor.
From the line out the Knights set up a 10-man drive which ended with Will Holling scoring his second in two weeks. Olver’s conversion bounced back off the post. 17-19.
With the game ticking towards the hour mark the tension became pretty tangible and on sixty minutes’ flanker Ollie Newman was sin binned for a cynical late shot on Olver. The fly half dusted himself off to hit the three-pointer and put the Knights ahead for the first time in the game – 20-19.
The Knights continued to turn the screw with the pack starting the get the upper hand at the set piece. Pressure at both scrum and lineout brought repeat penalties and eventually, with a full team drive, the Knights crashed over for a bonus score through Mcbride.
Olver coolly slotted the conversion, giving the Knights an eight-point lead with just a few minutes left to go.
Donny controlled the final few minutes to record a 27-19 win and will now enjoy two-weeks off before a mouth-watering, potentially play-off deciding tie, with Ealing Trailfinders on May 22nd.
Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde, 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Charlie Foley, 12 Connor Edwards (James Newey 36’), 11) Howard Packman , 10 Sam Olver, 9 James Mitchell (Gus Warr 77’) , 1 Conrad Cade (Josh Pieterse 77’), 2 Will Holling, 3) Gaz Denman (Joe Jones 47’), 4 Matt Challinor, (C) (Will Britton 53’), 5 Jerry Sexton, 6 Conor Joyce (Jack Davies 51’), 7 Sam Graham, 8 Guido Volpi.
Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Josh Pieterse, 18 Joe Jones, 19 Will Britton, 20 Jack Rouse, 21 Gus Warr, 22 James Newey, 23 Jack Davies
Tries; McBryde 25’, 77’, Challinor 40’, Holling 53’
Pens; Olver 63’,
Conv; Olver 25’, 77’
Bedford Blues XV: 15. Rich Lane (C), 14. Josh Gillespie (Andre Robson 55’), 13. Tom Litchfield, 12. Oskar Hirskyj-Douglas, 11. Pat Tapley, 10. Will Maisey, 9. Connor Tupai; 1. Joe Wrafter (Emmanuel Iyogun6’), 2. Jacob Fields, 3. Henry Paul (Ed Prowse 47’), 4. Will Carrick Smith, 5. Lewis Bean (Ewan Fenley 71’), 6. Ollie Newman, 7. Joe Atkinson, 8. Oli Robinson
Replacements: 16. Jack Hughes, 17. Emmanuel Iyogun, 18. Ed Prowse, 19. Jordan Onojaife, 20. Tui Uru, 21. Ewan Fenley, 22. Ethan Grayson, 23. Andre Robson
Tries; Robinson 11’, Gillespie 16’, Newman 39’
Conv; Maisey 11’, 39’
Referee Jack Makepeace
Assistant referees Alex Thomas & Simon Park
Fourth Official Ben Rayner