A superb second half performance from the Knights handed them their first win of the season in terrible conditions at Castle Park.
Cameron Cowell and Steve McColl grasped the victory away from Hartpury with two tries in the last 20 minutes of the match.
The first half was a bleak affair much like the weather with neither side finding fluency in their play. It was however, the Knights that put the first points on the board. Kurt Morath on his first start in a Doncaster shirt scoring a penalty from 25 metre out.
Hartpury began to insert their own dominance and were strong in the mauls on a number of occasions. Richard Bolt dotted down to score the visitors first try of the afternoon. Luke Cozens added the extras, before scoring a drop goal to extend his side’s lead.
Captain Michael Hills then limped off with a knee injury after 22 minutes with Josh Tyrell replacing the flanker for his first appearance of the season.
The Knights kept within touching distance after Morath scored another penalty after missing an earlier one.
Soon after though, it was Harpury’s turn to make their mark on the game and after a series of pick and goes squeezed the ball over, despite the Knights best efforts to hold firm. Cozens was on hand to score the conversion once again, however could’ve made it a more difficult second half task for the Knights had he scored a penalty just before the half time whistle.
Doncaster came out in the second half with a renewed intensity straight from the kick off.
After a flurry of attacks, the away side began to crack under the pressure and Robert Langley was shown a yellow card for repeated fouls. Moments later a penalty try was awarded after a collapsed scrum to begin the Knights’ fightback.
Doncaster’s dominance prevailed when Cameron Cowell slide over in the pouring rain after a superb offload from Tyson Lewis to give the Knights a 20-17 lead after Morath converted.
The Tongan International showed his experience once again as he extended the lead with a penalty on 65 minutes.
Hartpury did not accept defeat laying down though and tried to muster a response, but the Knights’ defence held firm with a number of great tackles on their own try line.
Winger Steve McColl then gave Doncaster breathing space when he intercepted a pass, before making a driving 60 yard sprint to get his first try of the season and the Knights their opening victory of the Championship campaign in a 28-17 win over Hatpury RFC.
Knights Starting XV: 15. Cowell 14. McColl 13. Hayes 12. Matavesi 11. Lewis 10. Morath (Foley 69) 9. James (Seniloli 78) 1. Hislop (Williams 69) 2. Hunter 3. Quigley (Sproston 57) 4. Eames (Challinor 70) 5. Hicks (Tyrell 23) 6. Calladine 7. Hills 8. Ryan
Replacements: Tyrell, Williams, Sproston, Challinor, Malcolm, Seniloli, Foley
Tries: Cowell, McColl, Penalty Try Conversions: Morath 2 Penalties: Morath 3
Hartpury RFC Starting XV: 15. Foley 14. Sheldon 13. Eves 12. Forrester 11. Henry 10. Cozens 9. Bolt 1.Murphy 2. Stratford 3. Gibson 4. Craig 5. Linsell 6. Langley 7. Gilbert 8. Grieve
Replacements: Tanner, Merrey, Morris, Pashley, Stephenson, Cochrane, Chamberlain
Tries: Bolt, Stratford Conversions: Cozens 2
Referee: John Meridith