The Knights suffered their second derby loss of the season as Yorkshire Carnegie ran out 24-6 winners at Headingley.
It was the first meeting of the two sides since Doncaster’s semi-final play-off triumph in May and it wasn’t to be another memorable derby win for the Knights, they were unable to answer tries from Andy Saull and Mike Mayhew forced to settle for two Declan Cusack penalties as their only points for the day.
It was a difficult start for both sides at Headingley Carnegie Stadium, with the weather against them the Knights were forced into a kicking game, Cusack was able to get the first points for Doncaster just nine minutes after Michael Heaney and Paul Jarvis forced a mistake out of a retreating Steve McColl, 3-0.
The remaining half hour followed the trend of the first ten, it was Carnegie however who would be next to have a go at goal, with the Knights penalised for being offside after losing their line-out. Carnegie’s Joe Ford with the penalty, 3-3.
Both sides had opportunities to score after this, Will Owen charged down a kick in the Carnegie 22 but the Knights were unable to capitalise. Carnegie then worked the ball upfield and found themselves in a dangerous position after Sean Scanlon had knocked on into touch, the Donny scrum held strong and the Knights were able to got themselves out of a dangerous position.
The Knights and Carnegie then went tit for tat with penalties, both sides preferring to take points when able to rather than look for a try in what was a very cagey first half, 6-6.
Carnegie finished off the first-half in control, first came yet another Ford penalty which was expertly placed and kick-started a wave of pressure for the home side. The home side won a line-out deep into the Doncaster half and were able to maul back-row Saull over the try-line for the first try of the game, 14-6.
The second half played out much like the first, both sides struggled to create any clear-cut chances and relied mostly on a kicking game to get into dangerous areas.
Doncaster started the second half with a lot more urgency about their game. The Knights were on the front foot and playing in Carnegie territory, a rare occurrence in the first half, despite the early pressure Donny were not able to cause any real opportunities and the game once more turned against them.
With Ford keeping Doncaster penned in their 22m it was another driving maul that unlocked the Knights defence, Mayhew the try-scorer this time as Carnegie pushed their way over, 21-6.
The Knights were able to escape more embarrassment late on after they were caught napping, Carnegie capitalised on a Donny mistake and moved the ball quickly up-field, Tyson Lewis was able to make a covering challenge but the ball was worked well once more by Carnegie who got the ball through hands and saw Phil Nilsen held up over the line by Richard List and Simon Humberstone.
Ford was able to add three more points for Carnegie with the final kick of the game following on from Nilsen’s disallowed try, 24-6.
Knights XV: 15. Sean Scanlon, 14. Paul Jarvis, 13. Lloyd Hayes, 12. Mat Clark (Dougie Flockhart 65’), 11. Tyson Lewis, 10. Declan Cusack (Simon Humberstone 73’), 9. Michael Heaney (Sam Edgerley 65’), 1. Robin Hislop (Richard List 61’), 2. Ben Hunter (Harry Allen 58’), 3. Colin Quigley (WillGriff John 58’), 4. Matt Challinor, 5. Dave Nolan, 6. Latu Makaafi (Harrison Orr 61’), 7. Will Owen, 8. Jarad Williams
Replacements: 16. Richard List, 17. Harry Allen, 18. WillGriff John, 19. Harrison Orr, 20. Dougie Flockhart, 21. Simon Humberstone, 22. Sam Edgerley
Penalties: Cusack 9’, 33’
Carnegie XV: 15. Stevie McColl, 14. Jonah Holmes, 13. Pete Lucock, 12. Tom Casson, 11. Seb Stegmann, 10. Joe Ford, 9. Alex Davies, 1. Charlie Beech, 2. Mike Mayhew 3. Michael Cusack, 4. Jack Whetton, 5. Richard Beck, 6. Ryan Burrows, 7. Andy Saull, 8. Ollie Stedman
Replacements: 16. Phil Nilsen, 17. Lewis Boyce, 18. Rob O’Donnell, 19. Dan Sanderson, 20. Chris Walker, 21. Max Green, 22. Max Wright
Tries: Andy Saull 38’, Mike Mayhew 66’
Penalties: Ford 15’, 28’, 35’, 80’
Conversions: Ford 66’
Written by Connor Hickinbottom.