The Knights ended 2016 in impressive fashion with a 34-3 bonus point win against Richmond meaning that they enter the New Year secure in the Championship top four.
Matt Clark’s first half brace provided the Knights with a cushion as Clive Griffiths’ charges looked the stronger of the two sides for the duration of the clash and deservedly collected a four try bonus point five minutes from time. Dougie Flockhart made Club history during the game as his 14-point haul made him the Knights all-time leading point scorer – a truly remarkable achievement.
The opening quarter of the game didn’t give the crowd a great deal to get excited about and it was probably the visitors who enjoyed the better of the early exchanges. Not dissimilar to the reverse leg at The Athletic Ground, Richmond attacked confidently and defended with zeal from the whistle. The visitors seemed happy to carry the game to Doncaster who only really looked to play in attacking positions and kicked for territory often early on. A penalty each from Rob Kirby and Dougie Flockhart were the only points to show in the opening twenty minutes with neither side producing much of any note.
It was Flockhart who kicked the Knights into the lead for the first time and from that point they never looked back. The game’s first try came moments later; the first of two quality efforts finished by Mat Clark. Michael Heaney made a smart break from the base of a ruck, sprinting into the Richmond half before offloading to Jarad Williams this sparked an impressive series of offloads to open up the visitors defence for Clark to sprint through and finish. One to watch back on the highlights!
Richmond reacted well with some good attacking pressure & managed to get work their way downfield with patient and sustained phase play. They made progress despite some thundering hits from the Knights defence but had their passage stopped as they entered the 22m as WillGriff John scooped up a loose ball following another bone rattler.
Donny finished the half in the ascendancy and Mat Clark was the fulcrum once again; the centre burst forward as he collected front foot ball to open space for Sean Scanlon who was hauled down just shy of the try line. The pack flooded forward and crashed into Richmond’s frantic defence but it was Clark who powered his way over; picking and going from the back of a ruck. Flockhart’s conversion meant the Knights went into the break leading 20-3
Last week the Knights held a similar advantage against Rotherham but were unable to hammer home the position in the second half but that wouldn’t be the case today. Within two minutes of the restart Doncaster had scored again as Robin Hislop crashed over from short range following some smart breaks and nice hands from Jarvis, Williams and Scanlon. Flockhart added the extras and with a 24-point buffer the game was won.
The final task for the Knights was to wrap up the bonus point and credit goes to Richmond who refused to roll over and defended admirably to the last. The visitors enjoyed spells in possession but the Donny defence looked as good as it has all season and made it two games in a row without conceding a try.
With five minutes left to play thebonus point try was secured as Ben Hunter collectedat the front of a clever line out move to sprint home untouched and Dougie completed what was a perfect afternoon with the boot to convert from the touch line.
An impressive festive season has left the Knights perched in third in the Championship table and the performances leave much to be positive about in 2017.
Happy New Year!
Knights XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Sean Scanlon, 13) Mat Clark, 12) Dougie Flockhart, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Dec Cusack (Simon Humberstone 56’), 9) Michael Heaney (Sam Edgerley 69’), 1) Robin Hislop (Richard List 57’), 2) Ben Hunter , 3) WillGriff John (Colin Quigley 69’), 4) Matt Challinor (Huw Taylor 68’), 5) Glen Young, 6) Jack Ram (Latu Makaafi 68), 7) Michael Hills © (Jack Bergmanas 77’), 8) Jarad Williams.
Replacements; 16) Richard List, 17) Jack Bergmanas, 18) Colin Quigley, 19) Huw Taylor, 20) Latu Makaafi, 21) Sam Edgerley, 22) Simon Humberstone.
Tries; Clark 23’, 37’, Hislop 42’, Hunter 75’
Conv; Flockart 23’, 37’, 42’, 78’
Pens; Flockhart 6’, 20’
Richmonds XV; 15) Rob Kirby 14 Jono Woodward 13 Cameron Mitchell 12 Ronnie McLean 11 Henry Cheeseman 10 Rory Damant (Rory Lynn 75’) 9 Sam Stuart (James Gibbs 75’) 1 Jeremy Cunnew (Joe Tarrant 52’) 2 Ross Grimstone (Toby Saysell 70’) 3 Rupert Harden (Timmy Walford 68) 4 Will Warden (Tyler Hotson 60’), 5 Matt Corker 6 Adam Peters 7 Jack Allcock 8 Chris Davies (Harry Edwards 58’)
Replacements; 16 Toby Saysell 17 Joe Tarrant 18 Tyler Hotson 19 Jamie Gibbs 20 Rory Lynn 21 Harry Edwards 22 Timmy Walford
Pens; Kirby 4’