Doncaster Knights 12-22 Richmond
In arctic conditions the Knights were unable to turnaround a slow start as they fell to a first home defeat since January versus a committed Richmond outfit.
Prior to kick off a minute’s applause was observed as the Knights and Richmond remembered Ian Williams. Ian and his family have a long-affiliation with Richmond Rugby Club and it was fitting that the Knights first game back at Castle Park since his passing might be against the London Club.
The snow fell intermittently all morning and the slippy conditions and bitter weather made for a stop start opening to proceedings. Early chances were often spurned through handling errors and both sides seeked to gain a territorial advantage through the air.
It took almost quarter of an hour for the game’s opening score and it came shortly after the Knights most promising charge of the early stages. Despite this, it was the visitors who struck first after flanker Jack Allcock was able to breakaway from a surging driving line out and barge his way through the bodies in goal. Full back Rob Kirby bettered the effort, 0-7.
The score was followed by more bad news as skipper Michael Hills limped off with a knee injury suffered in the maul preceding Allock’s try and then Kirby extended the lead to ten points with an on target penalty moments later.
Donny produced a couple of half chances shortly after with big Joe Sproston seeming to have broken away on the left wing only for play to be brought back for a forward pass. Richmond nearly capitalized on confusion in the Donny rank moments later when Tyson Lewis was forced to track back after he and the touch judged disagreed on whether a looming kick had found touch.
The second try of the game came in rather innocuous circumstance but credit to Richmond loose head Jeremy Cunnew who spotted a gap at a ruck from outside the Knights 22m and set off. The covering defence raced to bring down the front row man but he would not be stopped, scoring to leave Kirby with the simplest of conversions.
At 0-17 the signs were not good but Donny showed signs of revival and almost scored immediately from the restart. The Knights attack stretched Richmond to the point of breaking and seemed to just need to pick their gap but unfortunately time and time again the final pass was just not found and the visitors held out.
A first Donny score did come shortly after, however, and it was another case of good front row vision as Joe Sproston was the quickest to react to a messy Richmond line out. Having seized possession deep in the visitors 22m the tight head put his foot down to race over the try line – Simon Humberstone just wide with the conversion.
With half time fast approaching the Knights suffered a knock out blow. Having seemingly halted a visiting attack and forced a penalty on their own goalline referee Hamish Smales, following consultation with his touch judge, awarded a try with second row Chris Davies credited with the effort much to the bemusement of the Donny players.
Half time 5-22.
Donny couldn’t have made a much better start to the second period and almost scored immediately from the restart when Curtis Wilson was able to interrupt the Richmond attempt at fielding possession. From the resulting scrum the Knights opened up an overlap put possession got caught in midfield before Allcock forced a penalty to clear the danger.
The Knights wouldn’t be denied for much longer and got their second on 47 minutes. Flanker Jesse Liston gave away a penalty for a deliberate knock on which Humberstone kicked deep to touch. The pack drove well from the lineout before it was pulled down deep in the Richmond 22m. From here a series of pick and go carries got the hosts closer and closer until Josh Tyrell was able to fight through and touch down. Humberstone’s successful conversion made the gap ten points and it was game on.
The Knights continued to enjoy the vast majority of possession and territory in the second half but just lacked a little sharpness at times as the visitors managed to absorb the pressure without too much threat to their goal line.
A handful of half chances went their way but in fairness Richmond also threatened but neither side added to their score allowing the Londoners to complete a home and away double over the Knights this term who now have seven days to dust themselves down ahead of trip to Goldington Road and Bedford next weekend.
HALF TIME DRAW NUMBER: 53163
Doncaster Knights vs Richmond.
Knights XV: 15) Cameron Cowell, 14) Curtis Wilson, 13) Andy Bulumakau (Les Klim 70’), 12) Charlie Foley., 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Simon Humberstone, 9) Michael Heaney (Tom James 68’), 1) Jack Bergmanas (Jake Pope 65’), 2) David Nelson (Curtis Langdon, 60) Joe Sproston, 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Tom Hicks (Jason Hill 70), 6) Jack Ram, 7) Michael Hills © (Alex Shaw 14’), 8) Josh Tyrell.
Replacements: 16) Curtis Langdon, 17) Jake Pope, 18) Colin Quigley, 19) Jason Hill, 20) Alex Shaw, 21) Tom James, 22) Les Klim.
Tries; Sproston 38’, Tyrell 47’
Conv; Humberstone 47’
Richmond XV; 15 Rob Kirby, 14 Jono Woodward, 13 Cameron Mitchell, 12 Ronnie McLean, 11 Jordan Simpson-Hefft (Jamie Gibbs 13’), 10 Rory Damant, 9 Luc Jones (Jamie Gibbs 73’), 1 Jeremy Cunnew, 2 Ross Grimstone, 3 Joe Tarrant (Craig Trenier 56’), 4 Will Warden (c), 5 Chris Davies, 6 Jesse Liston, 7 Jack Allcock, 8 Jake Parker (Max Crawford 61’)
Replacements; 16 Jason Phipps, 17 Will Goodrick-Clarke, 18 Max Crawford, 19 Jamie Gibbs, 20 Freddie Gabbitass, 21 Harison Edwards, 22 Craig Trenier
Tries; Allcock 14’, Cunnew 31’, Davies 40’
Conv; Kirby 15’, 31’
Pens; Kirby 17’