27-20 (sponsored by Welch Design)
Doncaster produced a determined and hard-fought performance at Castle Park today to earn a 27-20 victory over Bedford Blues.
First half tries from Tom Hicks and Tom James set the positive tone for the Knights with Joe Sproston adding to the Knights’ tally in a resolute second half display.
Hicks gave Doncaster the lead, with his first try of the season, as he strolled away inside the Bedford 22 after a great offload from Sam Olver. Dougie Flockhart made no mistake with the conversion.
The away side replied with a period of pressure of their own, scoring a penalty through Jake Sharp to make it 7-3 to the hosts after 13 minutes.
Doncaster were not halted by the Bedford response as they continued to push forward and had the chance to get another score when Olver made a great break down the left, offloaded to Flockhart, who in turn passed to Curtis Wilson. The winger stretched away down the right before being tackled inside the Blues’ 22.
The Knights' good play was rewarded though with a Flockhart penalty after 17 minutes, which extended the lead to 10-3.
Mike Rayer’s side were gifted a foothold back in the game, when a Foley pass was intercepted by Ed Coulson, who burst away from inside his own half to dot down. Jake Sharp converted to level the score line.
The away side were pushed back after that try, however did take the lead against the run of play after some clever play from Lee Dickson, the scrum-half saw an overload to the left after a ruck, allowing Coulson to dot down with ease.
The game continued to sway back and forth as Tom James scored his 11th try of the season from a superb Mat Clark offload in the away side’s 22. The scrum-half still had a lot to do though and side stepped around a Bedford player before dotting down. Flockhart converted to make it 17-15 to the Knights at the interval.
Doncaster carried on as they left off in the second half with a blistering start. Josh Tyrell and Matt Challinor drove the side forward as the Knights continued on the front foot in the match.
That early pressure was rewarded as Joe Sproston scored his second try of the season, after an impressive line out and driving maul. Flockhart was again calm in the windy conditions to convert and extend the hosts lead to 24-15 after 42 minutes.
Despite the early score, the match became a scrappy affair as Doncaster halted the flowing attacking display of the Bedford side. The Knights kept strong in the defence when the away side did venture into the Doncaster half. It was the home side who nearly scored again on 57 minutes, Foley caught a grubber kick in the Blues' half, offloaded to Wilson, but the winger was again stopped in the 22.
Josh Tyrell was a driving force for the Doncaster side as they searched for the fourth try, the back row made a number of great breaks in the second half; with the Samoan International playing a dummy pass out of the scrum, before running into the Bedford 22.
The away side tried to mount a fightback, but found themselves further behind after a Flockhart penalty extended the Knights lead to 27-15 with 10 minutes left.
The last try of the game did go the visitors way, as they pinned the home side back with Harry Sheppard driving over after going through the phases in the Knights’ 22.
Doncaster held on with a hard fought and determined performance in the final stages to secure a 27-20 victory.
Starting XV: 15. Jarvis 14. Flockhart 13. Clark 12. Foley 11. Wilson 10. Olver 9. James 1. Hislop(61’List) 2. Hunter(71’Mayhew) 3. Sproston(57’Beech) 4. Challinor(61’Eames) 5. Hicks 6. Ryan 7. Hills(72’Jones) 8. Tyrell
Replacements: 16. Mayhew 17. Beech 18. List 19. Eames 20. Jones 21. Polataivao 22. Cowell
Tries: Hicks, James, Sproston Conversions: Flockhart 3 Penalties: Flockhart 2
Starting XV: 15. Lane 14. Tapley 13. Worley 12. Coulson 11. Adamson 10. Sharp(63’Sheppard) 9. Dickson(72’Lennon) 1. McCarthy(52’Trinder) 2. Fields(52’McElroy) 3. Penny(63’Cooper) 4. Carrick-Smith(57’Rae) 5. Flanagan 6. Curry 7. Worthington 8. Williams(52’Buggea)
Replacements: 16. McElroy 17. Trinder 18. Cooper 19. Rae 20. Buggea 21. Lennon 22. Sheppard
Tries: Coulson 2, Sheppard Conversions: Sharp 1 Penalties: Sharp 1