Knights take derby day spoils

The Knights triumph over their South Yorkshire rivals, beating Rotherham Titans 25-13 at Castle Park.

Lloyd Hayes marked his first derby day appearance in Doncaster colours with a victory sealing try against his former teammates.

The former Titan touched down over the after a Beau Robinson break enabled scrum-half Michael Heaney to put through an inch perfect kick to the on-rushing Hayes.

Late Rotherham pressure was to no avail. Substitute Charles Foley almost lead a late fight back as he broke the Knights line late on but the Knights were able to close out the game with some excellent defence.

It was a typically cagey first half, both teams struggled to take hold of the game giving away very simple penalties. Rotherham were gifted two shots at goal within the first ten minutes and fly half William Robinson was happy to convert from just in-front of the half way line and then again from the 22m to give the Titans a 6-0 lead early on.

The first half was awash with errors with both teams struggling to make anything out of their possession. Despite having to defend for long periods it was Doncaster who looked more threatening, waves of Rotherham attacked came to nothing and frustrations showed on the quarter hour mark giving Dougie Flockhart a chance to open the Knights account with a penalty kick, he obliged.

It was the Titans who created the first try-scoring chance, after a succession of penalties saw them march up the field and then attack from the line out. A fantastic piece of defensive play from flanker Beau Robinson on his own goal line won a penalty for the Knights just as it looked like Rotherham had gone over.

The Knights backs were bale to Rotherham when permitted space but it wasn't until very late in the first half that they were finally able to make a breakthrough.

Paul Jarvis fielded a deep kick just outside his own 22m then ghosted his way through the Titans defensive line before skipping past of the Titans back line. Jarvis was brought down just a few yards away from the try-line and with a little offload he was able to put Michael Heaney through who finished calmly. Dougie’s conversion gave the Knights 10-3 lead.

Bouyed by the score the Knights continued to press late into the half and on the stroke of half time appeared to have the Titans defence on the ropes. The pressure told and Roth gave up their seventh penalty in the first half, they’re third in the last five minutes of the half, Flockhart dispatched the penalty to give the Knights a 13-3 at the break.

The Knights began the second half with the same intensity in which they finished the first, pushing Rotherham deep into their own terrirtory from the very first kick. Opportunity knocked and, if it wasn't for slightly mistimed pass to Flockhart, might have scored minutes of the resumption.

Rotherham responded to the Knights pressure, pushing their way up the pitch and getting a well deserved penalty just 25m out. Robinson hit the post with his effort and then a Flockhart try saving challenge ended a good spell of pressure for the Titans.

The Knights quickly turned defence into attack and were over again shortly after. Harry Allen produced a nice turnover in centerfield and smart hands down the line saw the Knights with a three on one in the corner, Tyson Lewis took posession and the result, invariably, was a score in the corner 18-6.

Rotherham hit back just ten minutes later, they too working the ball into the corner where William Owen took his opportunity and scored his second of the season to bring the Titans to within a score with time left on the clock.

The Knights kept their cool late on and closed out the game with a fine try from centre Hayes. Flanker Robinson broke in field before offloading to Heaney in contact, the scrum half showed a nice turn of foot before chipping ahead. The ball rolled over the try line perfectly and Hayes showed the scrambling defence a clean pair of heels to dive over and seal the win.

Derby games are never plain sailing but a much improved performance for the Knights who will now look forward to a trip to the Capital to face Richmond Rugby.

Knights XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Lloyd Hayes, 12) Mat Clark, 11) Tyson Lewis, 10) Dec Cusack, 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Rich List ©, 2) Harry Allen, 3) WillGriff John, 4) Matt Challinor, 5) Glen Young, 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Beau Robinson, 8) Alex Shaw. 

Replacements; 16) Dave Nelson, 17) Robin Hislop, 18) Colin Quigley, 19) Dave Nolan, 20) Jarad Williams, 21) Simon Humberstone, 22) Sam Edgerley

Tries; Heaney, Lewis & Hayes

Conv; Flockhart (2)

Pens; Flockhart (2)

Titans XV; 15. Will Goodwin, 14. Jack Hayes, 13. Cameron Hudson, 12. Will Owen (C), 11. Jake Henry, 10. Will Robinson, 9. Matt Dudman, 1. Tom Williams, 2. Charlie Maddison, 3. Danny Herriott 4. Miles Normandale, 5. Tom Hicks, 6. Ollie Curry, 7. Dan Grange, 8.Buster Lawrence

Reps: 16. Luke Cole, 17. Toby Williams, 18. Ian Williams, 19. Toby Salmon, 20. George Oliver, 21. George Tressider, 22. Charlie Foley

Tries; Owen

Conv; Robinson (1)

Pens; Robinson (2)

Attendance; 1,831

Written by Connor Hickinbottom.

Knights take derby day spoils

League Table

TeamPoints
1 London Irish 39
2 Ealing Trailfinders 35
3 Jersey Reds 32
4 Nottingham 30
5 Bedford Blues 30
6 Cornish Pirates 30
7 Coventry 21
8 London Scottish 18
9 Doncaster Knights 17
10 Richmond 16
11 Hartpury College 11
12 Yorkshire Carnegie 7