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Knights Kick Off the Season Defending the Castle Against Cambridge

Doncaster Knights secured a 38-11 win over new-boys Cambridge in Round One of the 2023/24 Premiership Rugby Cup.

Match highlights available HERE.

A 1,156 strong crowd at Castle Park watched on as the Knights started slowly in the first half, taking until the second quarter to truly get into the groove of their play.

It was a relatively calm opening five minutes for the two sides. The Knights displayed some clean handling in the back-line before using the scrum to exit their own 22 when Cambridge hit back.

Working their way quickly up-field, the Knights went for the maul option upon gaining a lineout in the far corner. Slightly strangely, it was winger George Simpson who peeled off the back of the set to dot down for the opening score.

A profitable spell for Cambridge followed as, looking to get their footing in the Knights 22, they were awarded a penalty for an infringement from the hosts at the ruck and Steff James slotted the three points.

Cambridge added another on 25 minutes played. Not releasing at the ruck was the call against the Knights on their 10m line, and James again opted for the posts.

The aerial battle was well utilised by both sides as 30 minutes ticked by. Lovely work from Alex Dolly under a high ball was backed up by a nice break from new boys AJ Cant and Jack Digby before a forward pass was called against the Doncaster men.

On 38 minutes, the Knights nudged back in front. A break from nowhere from Rhys Tait secured the Knights territory in the opposition 22, with an ankle tap bring him down short of the whitewash.

Feeding Dolly from the floor, his support man was also torn down just short. Sam Olver then spotted Maliq Holden alone on the wing, flinging a spiral pass out to his man to run in the score which Dolly then converted.

Fighting for more, even with the clock in the red, paid off for the Knights. Camped out on the Cambridge line, the Knights bid their time before Tait was given the ball with a gap in front of him to barge through and score to the right of the posts. Dolly’s conversion then brought the half to an end.

The Donny men were straight onto the board in the second 40 minutes. It was purely classic Sam Olver. You think he’s going for the corner with a penalty opportunity before he spun around to spot his man of the wing.

George Simpson collected and tipped off to Cant for the run-in. The new man had to wriggle around in the tackle but ultimately dotted down above his head. Dolly was the trusty boot adding the extras.

Just minutes later, the full-back added another to his name. A fast break through the line in the middle of the field from Dolly set the move going. Recycling on the edge of the visitor’s 22, it wasn’t long before Cant had the ball in hand with space to run it in on the wing.

A yellow card to Maliq Holden hampered the Knights for 10 minutes, and Cambridge took advantage of the man-down to score their only try of the day as replacement hooker Morgan Veness ploughed over a the bottom of a heap from a maul.

On 72 minutes, the Knights scored their final try of the evening. Injecting pace from who knows where, Seb Nagle-Taylor stormed down the wing. Holding his pass with perfect precision, he fed Holden in order to allow the winger to scamper in on a curved run underneath the posts.

Dolly’s conversion ended the day 38-11 in the Knights’ favour. A bonus-point win at home will certainly give the Doncaster men some confidence heading into two back-to-back away games.


Knights XV | 15 AJ Cant; 14 George Simpson, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Adam Hopkinson, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Harry Wilson, 7 Rhys Tait, 8 Jack Digby.

Replacements | 16 Harri Morris, 17 Harrison Courtney, 18 Corrie Barrett, 19 Ehize Ehizode, 20 Fyn Brown, 21 Ollie Fox, 22 Harry Davey, 23 Seb Nagle-Taylor.

Tries: Simpson, Holden 2, Tait, Cant 2

Conv: Dolly 4

Yellow card: Maliq Holden


Cambridge XV | 15 Joe Tarrant; 14 Eli Caven, 13 Matthew Hema, 12 Sam Hanks, 11 Joe Green; 10 Steff James, 9 Kieran Duffin; 1 Seb Brownhill, 2 Ben Brownlie, 3 Billy Walker, 4 George Bretag-Norris, 5 Gareth Baxter, 6 Noah Sloot, 7 Ben Adams, 8 Jared Cardew.

Replacements | 16 Morgan Veness, 17 Jake Ellwood, 18 Matty Collins, 19 Archie Strath, 25 Jed Gelderbloom, 21 Toby Dabell, 22 Matty Williams, 23 Rian Hamilton.

Pens: James 2

Tries: Veness

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