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Knights Secure Hard-Fought Away Win Against Hartpury

An early start on the scoreboard for the opposition wasn’t a strong enough hold on the game to deny Doncaster Knights the comeback win at Alpas Arena today.

It was a tough opening 15 minutes for the travelling Knights as Hartpury took full control of the encounter, scoring two unanswered tries within the first quarter. Likely fearful of another Ampthill performance, Boden’s men looked to get themselves back in the game – helped by two tries within minutes of each other.

Having ended the half with another try in the bag, the Knights emerged for the second half under no illusions that their jobs for the day were done. A back-and-forth half, with attack and defence required in equal measure, meant that a lone Sam Olver penalty was enough to seal the win for the travelling side.

Hartpury were first on the board after just five minutes. Having made their way into the Knights 22, an error from the visitors at the lineout allowed flanker Harry Short to dart through for the game’s maiden score. With the conversion coming from James Williams, the side looked hungry for more of the same.

Their second try followed five minutes later as an almost identical lineout position gave them front-foot ball to sending hooker, and co-captain, Will Crane barrelling through for what was ultimately an unconverted score.

That would be the last points Hartpury saw in the half as the Knights went on the offensive. The first try was a purely backs-motivated affair as a beautifully collected chip kick from Jack Spittle allowed him to release Alex Dolly. Heading straight for an on-rushing defender, a last-ditch over the head pass from the scrum half sent Joe Margetts, the former Hartpury player, over for the Knights’ first score.

Never ones to shy away from limelight, the backs were soon back in the scoring action. Having been fed quick ball from the rolling maul, a speedy connection between Billy McBryde and Spittle saw the winger run in for a score.

With breaks in play, and a momentary departure from the field for Margetts to complete a HIA, the first half was ultimately ended by a try all for the forwards. Recycling ball on the line, the eventual scorer was lock Josh Peters who crashed over. Olver slotted his first successful conversion of the day to send the sides into half time with Hartpury trailing 12-17.

The second half, whilst intense as territory was hard to come by, was relatively quiet in a points-scoring sense. Penalties were evenly distributed to both sides and turnovers were aplenty. The replacements made noticeable impact as Sam Hudson in particular made a barn-storming carry into the Hartpury 22 at one point.

Ultimately, there were two penalties alone in the second half to decide the scoreline. For the Knights, Olver took the gift of a penalty right in front of the posts to snag a 12-20 scoreline, while Hartpury took a penalty on 72 minutes to close the gap slightly to 15-20.

It was a winning performance for Steve Boden’s side but it is one that remains to be improved upon if the Knights are to make headway against Ealing Trailfinders at Castle Park next week.

 

Hartpury XV | 15 Ben Foley; 14 Sam Smith, 13 Jack Tovey, 12 Charlie Foley, 11 Robbie Smith; 10 James Williams, 9 JB Bruzulier (cc); 1 Conor Maguire, 2 Will Crane (cc), 3 Ciaran Knight, 4 Dale Lemon, 5 James Scott, 6 Josh Gray, 7 Harry Short, 8 Nahum Merigan.

Replacements | 16 Luke Stratford, 17 Aristot Benz Salomon, 18 Shaun Kinight, 19 Josh Fenner, 20 Joe Howard, 21 Oli Robinson, 22 Toby Venner, 23 Matt McNab.

Tries; Short, Crane.

Conv; Williams.

Pens; Williams.

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Maliq Holden, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Jack Spittle; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Thom Smith, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Henry Paul, 18 Gaz Denman, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Sam Hudson, 22 Joe Green, 23 Fraser Strachan.

Tries; Margetts, Spittle, Peters.

Conv; Olver

Pens; Olver

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