Match day rewind report | Knights progress to Trophy Round five.
3rd May 2020
Knights 37-13 Richmond.
The Knights progressed to Round five of the EDF Trophy following a comprehensive victory over London Division One leaders Richmond at Castle Park
Lynn Howell’s men started at a fast pace and pinned Richmond inside their own half from the off, forcing them to defend desperately. With four minutes gone Richmond were penalised in from of their own posts for not rolling away from the ball at a ruck and Cerith Rees kicked a simple penalty.
If the Knights thought it was going to be one way traffic they were to be disappointed as Richmond challenged the home side, particularly at scrum time, and they brought the score level after eight minutes their full back Matt Hart slotted a penalty from 30 metres out after the Knights were caught offside at a ruck. Hart doubled the Londoners tally six minutes later with another successful penalty edge the visitors into the lead.
The Knights rallied and made inroads with their driving line out, from a solid platform the ball was moved to the left and a driving maul allowed Luke to go over for a try which the players had to point out to a bemused and out of position referee.
Rees’s conversion put the Knights back in front but Richmond were not to be put off.
Strong running moved the Londoners inside the Knights 22m, where centre Tom Gregory cut through a gap between Rees and Spencer Davey to link up with Hart who scored under the sticks to give himself a simple conversion and his side a 13 points to 10 lead.
For the last 15 minutes of the half Richmond defended stoutly against a series of Doncaster attacks, the highlight of which was a scything break Donovan Van Vuuren which fizzled out when the support could not get to him.
The Knights came out for the second period in a higher gear and really imposed themselves in the opening ten minutes after the resumption. Another superb but eventually unproductive break by Van Vuuren was the best of the early opportunities but on 53 minutes the Knights showed Richmond the respect they deserved by a taking a penalty opportunity which Rees goaled to make the scores level.
Shortly after the Knights took the lead after they won a Richmond line out on the visitors 22m. Quick ball spun to the left gave Davey the space to make a break, almost to the line, before passing inside to fellow centre Young for his first try for the Knights which Rees converted.
By now Richmond were tiring but despite this resilient defence thwarted several would be scoring opportunities.
On 65 minutes the Knights extended their lead when Richmond failed to control the ball as it shot out of the back of a scrum close to their line and an alert Dan Storey picked to ball up and quickly linked with Rees whose pass gave winger Paul Bailey the opportunity to show his speed and strength to score wide out.
Shortly afterwards Richmond lost their fiery Samoan replacement prop James Johnstone to the sin bin for his second warning in as many minutes and the visitors were really up against it.
From the next lineout the Knights drove Richmond back 20 metres before releasing the ball to the left where Bailey was lurking and he cut back inside and beat six defenders to score near the posts giving Rees an easy conversion.
From the kick off Doncaster attacked and, with their two Tongan internationals Lisiate Fa’aoso and Toma Toke now on as replacements for Tom Luke and Jon Rawson respectively, they were rampant.
A bullocking 15 metre run down the left touchline by Toke split the Richmond defence and his offload to the supporting Davey allowed the centre to dive over in the corner for a try which Rees converted with a superb kick for the final score of the game.
After the match Lynn Howells gave credit to the gutsy Richmond side who held their own for the first 50 minutes of the game before the Knights fitness told. Howell’s admitted that parts of his team’s performance had been scrappy but that he was more than pleased that a number of players made been given match opportunities and to put their case forward for future selection.
This had been the bigger picture that he had been aiming for and he said he was particularly pleased that the likes of Luke Gross and Ben Phillips had been able to come through unscathed and that he had been able to give the likes of List, Storey, Young and Rees a full game.
Doncaster Knights: W Davies; P Bailey; S Young; S Davey; D Van Vuuren; C. Rees; D Storey; R List; B Phillips (S Plevey 65); J Rawson (T Toke 55); B Griffiths; L Gross (G Kenworthy 47); O Cook; C Planchant; T Luke (L Fa’aoso 68) Subs not used A Carter; B Hunt and B Jones.
Richmond: M Hart; K Bingham; T Gregory (M Brown 65); A MacLennan; N Piggot (J Awuja 40); L Cousins; T Drewe; R Allmusen (T Nuttall 63); E Rosa (M Bolton 63); O Gregory (J Johnstone 50); T Wesley (P Wilson 50); H Head; J Bucknall; J Hartman (S Barlow 55); T George