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Match Report | Knights return from Cornwall with maximum haul

Doncaster Knights achieved one of the best results in their recent history by beating Cornish Pirates for the first time in five years at the Mennaye Field in Penzance.

The Knights’ 39-28 triumph, by five tries to four, earned the Castle Park club a maximum of five points, enabling them to regain second place in the Championship on 24 points – just two behind leaders Ealing Trailfinders.

Doncaster have now won five of their six league games.

First-half tries by forwards Fyn Brown, Harry Wilson and Ehize Ehizode were followed by a powerful second-half display in which winger Maliq Holden and full-back Billy McBryde scored on 56 and 60 minutes.

Doncaster’s control was also exerted by fly-half Russell Bennett, who joined the club after the collapse of Jersey Reds, kicking 14 points – four conversions and two penalties.

The Knights’ constant pressure forced Pirates into making several mistakes, and before the Cornish side added two late tries, Doncaster were leading by 25 points – an amazing margin considering five consecutive defeats in Penzance.

Apart from their attack producing five tries at a hostile venue, made worse by rain, Doncaster also defended solidly.

Earlier, Doncaster enjoyed an excellent first half as they scored three tries to shock the Pirates. Second row forward Brown scored from a scrum in only the second minute and with fly-half Bennett converting, the Knights lead 7-0.

However, this promising start gathered pace soon afterwards when a thrilling attack involving Holden, playing against his old club, supported by forwards Ehizode and Brown, set up a second try in the sixth minute for flanker Harry Wilson.

Following another successful conversion from Bennett, Doncaster were now 14-0 in front.

Soon, though, Pirates gradually won some ball and territory as they came back strongly to break through to score two tries which threatened Doncaster’s authority in a highly competitive contest.

The two converted Pirates tries cut the lead to 17-14, but just before half time, Pirates’ winger Matt McNab was sin-binned and with the home side reduced to 14 men, Bennett kicked his second penalty stretching his team’s advantage to 20-14.

And then with Pirates a man down, Doncaster attacked again and finished the opening 40 minutes outstandingly as second-row forward Ehizode galloped through the Pirates’ defence to score his team’s third try and with it a decent lead of 25-14.

Cornish Pirates: Moyle, McNab, Elderkin, Georgiou, Nowell, Houston, Schwarz, Zigiadis, Nelson, Johnson, Bokenhom, Barker, Everett, Stevens, Grubb. Replacements: Williams, Walker, Richardson, Rice, Gibson, Dawson, Jenkins, Pittman.

Doncaster Knights: McBryde, Simpson, Margetts, Bedlow, Holden, Bennett, Dolly, Davidson, Roberts, Thiede, Brown, Ehizode, Wilson, Smeaton, Digby. Replacements: Fletcher, Courtney, Barrett, Hopkinson, Tait, Mintern, Fox, Metcalf.

Referee: Joe Jones (RFU)

Match Report By Guy Williams

Photo Credit: Brian Tempest

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