Cardiff Blues Premiership Select XV 27-42 Knights.
The Knights recorded a third win from four in the British and Irish Cup with a comfortable, if not emphatic, victory over Cardiff Blues Premiership Select XV.
The hosts bolstered the squad that travelled to Castle Park last weekend and on Welsh soil few were surprised that the Blues were more competitive at Sardis Road.
If there was any complacency with in the Knights ranks following the 70-12 reverse it was quickly extinguished as the Cardiff side got off to a flying start.
Following a seemingly secure Knights scrum, home captain Lewis Jones managed to get pressure on Jason Hill as the number eight looked to pick. The home pack swarmed and forced a penalty that was punted to touch just outside of the Knights 22m.
From the line out possession was moved quickly and centre Harri Millard hit a fine line to break the line and was only denied scoring by good cover from Junior Bulumakau. With the defence not set and plenty of options Jones backed himself from close range and got over to open the scoring.
It took less than five minutes for the Knights to respond and from then the lead was never relinquished.
A good sequence of possession saw Donny make inroads through the likes of Will Owen, Curtis Wilson and Jason Hill. With the home defence opening, a sharp pass was spun to Joe Sproston but the front row just couldn’t hold however advantage was with the Knights and a penalty awarded.
Declan Cusack went to touch and, following a tidy drive from the pack, play was switched blind where Curtis Wilson to score in the corner.
One thing consistent from last weekend’s victory was the sterling kicking display from the Knights outside halves as Declan Cusack repeated Simon Humberstone’s perfect record from the tee with six on target conversions.
More opportunities followed for the Knights and on the quarter hour mark the hosts suffered a blow as Captain and try scorer Lewis Jones was forced off with an injury.
Moments later the Knights over again, a scrum in the Blues 22m was well controlled before attacking in field where Cusack got within touching distance. On the next phase possession was hurriedly spun wide and, despite an untidy pass to him, Paul Jarvis fielded a bouncing ball to collect and trot over for a score.
By this point the attacking was rather one sided as the Knights barely left the Blues half during the second quarter but the young Cardiff side’s defence held, aided by a degree carelessness in the Knights offence.
Just before the half hour mark Donny got a third break through.
From relatively innoxious field position Morgan Eames hit a beautiful line at full tilt to charge untouched through the home defence. With just fullback Pat Lewis ahead of him Eames found Tom James on his shoulder for a two on one, well executed for the scrum half to sprint over.
The Blues had the final say of the half and they will probably have been pretty happy going into the break still in touching distance. Ben Jones made good ground on a midfield penalty and, after securing line out ball, lock Callum Bradury managed to find some space and battled through the bodies to score; 10-21.
Despite a double digit lead the Knights might have felt rather unsatisfied at half time, having quite clearly held the upper hand in so many areas, to only have one more score than their opponents.
It took the just six minutes to extend the lead after the break.
A few well-coordinated attacks well by the wayside before Will Owen produced a fine individual effort to secure the bonus point. Receiving the ball at a stand still and, with very little room to maneuver, he wrestled his way through a crowd of defenders to break free and gallop under the sticks.
The game was effectively put beyond doubt five minutes later as Charlie Foley scored the Knights sixth; arguably the finest try of the day.
Tom James began the attack with a darting carry down the right flank which was continued by Jason Hill. From there possession was moved in field and good movement created a hole that Mat Clark charged through and set off towards the Blues line. The centre got very close before being hauled down then found Foley on hand to gather and dive over the line.
The bright start to the second period meant the Knights opened up a twenty-five-point advantage and perhaps the foot was taken off the gas.
Credit must go to the young Cardiff side who did not give up the fight and showed plenty of endeavor right until the final whistle to record a four try bonus point thanks to a second half hat-trick from centre Harri Millard.
His first came on fifty-five minutes, profiting on some defensive confusion in the Knights midfield to cross just wide of the posts before registering a further two either side of Curtis Wilson’s second in the dying stages. The winger profited from a kind bounce from a Michael Heaney chip ahead following a powerful break from Jack Bergmanas.
A job done performance for the Knights, which leaves them in a strong position to qualify for the competition’s knock out stages.
Next weekend the side look to take their cup form back into the Championship competition as we head to Clifton Lane for South Yorkshire derby day!
Cardiff Blues Select XV; 15. Patrick Lewis. 14.Kyle Evans. 13.Harri Millard. 12.Ben Thomas (Dafydd Smith 60’). 11.Corey Howells. 10.Ben Jones. 9.Lewis Jones (Jamie Hill 14’), 1.Rhys Carre (Huw Owens 75’). 2.Ethan Lewis (Iestyn Harris 69’). 3.Dillon Lewis (Louis Jones 62’). 4.Callum Bradbury (Owain Lloyd 75’). 5.Ben Murphy. 6.Shane Lewis-Hughes. 7.Sion Edwards (Alun Lawrence 69’). 8.Sion Bennett.
Replacements; Iestyn Harris; Huw Owen; Louis Jones; Owain Lloyd; Alun Lawrence; Jamie Hill; Dafydd Smith.
Tries; Jones L 3’, Bradbury 32’, Millard 55’, 67’, 80’
Conv; Jones B 55’
Knights XV; 15) Paul Jarvis (Charlie Foley 44’), 14) Curtis Wilson, 13) Mat Clark, 12) Will Owen, 11) Junior Bulumakau, 10) Declan Cusack, 9) Tom James (Michael Heaney 69’), 1) Owen Evans (Richard List 34’) (Jack Bergmanas 69’), 2) David Nelson, 3) Joe Sproston (Colin Quigley 69’), 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Morgan Eames, 6) Alex Shaw (Adam Batt 55’), 7) Jack Ram (Sam Jones 46’), 8) Jason Hill.
Replacements; 16) Jack Bergmanas, 17) Richard List, 18) Colin Quigley, 19) Adam Batt, 20) Sam Jones, 21) Michael Heaney, 22) Charlie Foley.
Tries; Wilson 8’, 80’, Jarvis 19, James 30’, Owen 46’, Foley 50’
Conv; Cusack 8’, 20’, 30’, 46’, 50’, 80’
Referee: Anthony Wood Thorpe.