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Match Highlights | Championship Rugby, Round 21 | Doncaster Knights 20 – 12 Ealing Trailfinders

Doncaster delivered an outstanding performance and result at Castle Park, one of the shocks of the season, and while they deservedly beat the league’s best side, they couldn’t stop them winning the Championship, thanks to Coventry’s defeat by Cornish Pirates.

So, the west London club win the Championship for the second time under director of rugby Ben Ward, but after this defeat by the Knights, who recovered strongly from successive losses, he was rather subdued.

“ I’ve got mixed emotions. We are delighted to win the league. We set out at the start of the season with that goal, and we’ve achieved it.

“ But we didn’t play to the level we are capable of, so full credit to Doncaster. I also owe a few beers to the boys at Pirates. I thought Doncaster were really good.

“ This is a tough league so to achieve our target is special. We’ll take that and looking ahead I want to create a legacy.”

After losing at Bedford, Doncaster were determined to fight back and show their potential. Excellent tries by scrum half Ollie Fox, running in from 30 metres, and then by centre Joe Margetts, side-stepping through weak defence, plus accurate goal-kicking from fly half Russ Bennett, two conversions and two penalties, provided a lead of 20-12 with 12 minutes remaining.

This set up a tense climax as Ealing, guilty of missing several chances and earlier handicapped by yellow cards against Craig Willis and Tom Collins, tried hard to regain control.

However, as Doncaster defended so effectively and with Ealing conceding penalties, they could never match the authority which produced tries for hooker Matt Cornish and winger Collins.

The thrilling try by Margetts, arguably was the turning point and with Bennett’s conversion, Doncaster led 17-12.

The Knights’ pack fought relentlessly to keep the ball, and collectively the team showed genuine character in their last home game in which they caused a major upset.

“ I’m so proud of the boys after we lost at Bedford. Our defence coach, Tyson Lewis, has done a great job. Not many teams this season have kept Ealing to 12 points,” said Doncaster’s coach Joe Ford.

“ He prepared the boys brilliantly and they then put their bodies on the line. I also thought our half backs, Ollie Fox and Russ Bennett played so well.”

With one game left, the new champions Ealing have won 15 matches and lost four, and are now busy recruiting for next season with the aim of retaining their title.

Doncaster Knights: McBryde 8, Simpson 8, Margetts 8, Bedlow 8(Olver 68 7), Holden 8(Metcalfe 77 6), Bennett 9, Fox 9, Davidson 8(Courtney 68 7), Roberts 8(Doughty 77 6), Thiede 8(Foster 59 8), Mintern 8(Beckett 64 7), Murphy 8, Brown 8(Digby 54 7),Smeaton 8,(Ehizode 77 6), Wilson 8.

Ealing Trailfinders: Kelleher 6, Collins 6, Kernohan 7, O’Brien 7(Lancaster 68 6), Cordy-Redden 6, Willis 6, Hampson 6(Williams 75 6), Whyte 7, Cornish 7(Willemse 45 6), Alo 7(Davis 59 6), O’Connor 7, Davidson 7(Maddison 54 6), Reid 6(Uzokwe 54 6), Hardwick 6, Smid 6(Montgomery 70 6).

Doncaster Knights: Tries: Fox 25, Margetts 59. Conversions: Bennett 25, 59. Penalties: Bennett 40,68.

Ealing Trailfinders: Tries: Cornish 9, Collins 54. Conversion: Willis 9.

Half time: 10-7.

Penalties conceded: 12-10.

Lineouts won: 10-7.

Lineouts lost: 1-1.

Scrums won: 4-4.

Scrums lost: 0-2.

Sin bin: Craig Willis and Tom Collins Ealing Trailfinders.

Referee: Alex Thomas.

Attendance: 1552.

Star man: Russ Bennett  Doncaster Knights.


Words by Guy Williams

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