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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 46 - Nottingham 42
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Your News Doncaster Knights 46 - Nottingham 42

Three tries in the last seven minutes, two of them in injury time, saw Doncaster Knights run out deserved winners in their local derby with Nottingham in spite of being behind by 42 points to 27 when the late try fest started. Whilst Nottingham will look back at a game they could have won, they would have only done so because the young Knights side gifted them points by giving them two tries and numerous penalty opportunities that were gratefully accepted by Nottingham’s fly half James Arlidge.

For this match, Knight’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made four changes from the side that had just lost the previous weekend at Worcester. In the backs the only change saw the return of Dougie Flockhart on the wing in place of Oli Goss. In the forwards, fit again talisman Glen Kenworthy came in for youngster Dom Parsons whilst, in the back row, Andy Boyde replaced injury victim Ed Jackson and Irishman Zack Farivarz made his first Championship start in place of Leeds’ dual registered youngster Chris Walker.

The Knights started the game at 90 mph and, after fly half Tristan Roberts had kicked an early penalty after only 4 minutes, they went further ahead 2 minutes later. The Knights counterattacked from deep inside their own half and, after a good break by winger Flockhart and the involvement of most of the other backs down the left hand flank, full back Steve McColl was on hand to take the final scoring pass to dive over in the corner for the game’s opening try. Another Roberts’s penalty after 2 minutes and the Knights were buzzing. However their enthusiasm brought about their downfall a couple of minutes later when, attempting to move the ball under pressure midfield, a pass was intercepted by Nottingham centre Jack Cobden who chipped ahead. With the Knights unable to clear the ball it was kicked ahead by Notts powerful No 8 Sione Kalimafoni who then outpaced the cover before picking up and diving over for a try that was converted by fly half James Arlidge. The remainder of the half was played out at the same hectic pace with Roberts kicking three more penalties compared with Arlidge who kicked four for his side on almost the only occasions that Nottingham got into the Knights’ half.

Turning around only 20 points to 19 ahead in spite of having enjoyed most of the territorial advantage, the Knights could have increased their lead from the outset but Flockhart was hauled down after a 50 metre run just inside the Nottingham 22. Then, in the space of 10 minutes, the Knights did their best to throw the game away as their inexperience led them to concede two tries, both converted by Arlidge who also kicked a penalty. The first try came through winger Andrew Savage after a poor Knights clearance kick had wrong footed their own defence and the second by flanker Tom Armes came when the Knights were caught asleep at the back of a long lineout just inside their own 22. At this point, following a lineout close to the Nottingham line, the Knights’ increasingly powerful pack gained possession and hooker Steve Boden was driven over for a try that was converted by Roberts. Almost immediately the Knights shot themselves in the foot when replacement prop Stuart Corsar was yellow carded for a technical offence and which Arlidge punish them even further by kicking the resultant penalty. The next 10 minutes saw the 14 man Knights under pressure although there was one memorable occasion when the 7 man Knights pack shunted the full Nottingham pack back at a scrum. Hardly had Corsar returned than the Knights were penalised again and Arlidge continued his 100% record for the day with his seventh penalty. The Knights, realising that they had nothing to lose at 42 points to 27 behind, threw caution to the wind and with lock Matt Challinor and replacement flanker Walker to the fore, they took the game to Nottingham. Skipper Neil Cochrane broke through from a quick tap penalty just outside his own 22 and made 40 metres before linking up with Corsar who fed Challinor who, in turn made ground before popping the ball up to supporting centre Chris Briers who ran the final 30 metres to score a try that Roberts converted. The belief was now with the Knights and their cause was helped when Nottingham skipper Craig Hammond was sin binned for killing the ball close to his own posts. With three minutes of injury time left, the Knights opted for a scrum instead of kicking the penalty that would have brought them within bonus point distance and they were rewarded with a penalty try following Nottingham’s scrummaging infringements. Roberts’s conversion brought the Knights to within a single point and there was one minute of injury time left. Knights gathered the restart and threw caution to the wind but, unfortunately left lost possession 35 metres out from their own line and just in from touch, giving Nottingham a scrum with just 10 seconds left. The Doncaster pack destroyed the depleted Nottingham pack to regain possession and the ball was moved right and left through several phases of play. From the last of these, two long passes to the right by Roberts and centre Gidlow allowed Flockhart to run a perfect line to cut inside his opposite number and race 55 metres to score his side’s winning try with the last play of the game.

The celebrations of the Knights’ players after “Man of the Match” Flockhart’s try said it all as they rid themselves of the frustrations of their two undeserved defeats in their last two matches against the league’s top two sides Worcester and Bedford. After the match, Howells said that he thought that his side thoroughly deserved their victory as they were more creative than Nottingham throughout and, but for their inexperience which caused them to give the visitors all three of their tries, he felt the game would never have been in doubt.

Doncaster Knights: McColl (Goss 73), Flockhart, Briers, Gidlow, Williams, Roberts, Hallam (Jerecevich 80), Frazier (Corsar 49), Boden, Cusack (Thiede 51), Kenworthy (Parsons 78), Challinor, Cochrane, Boyde (Cusack 59 – 66), Farivarz (Walker 51) Replacement not used: Doughty

Nottingham: Sempere, Savage, Streather (Marshall 25), Cobden (Shaw 73), Jackson, Arlidge, Barnham (Roussaire 68), French, Farrell, Adams (Buxton 54), Green, Hemmingway, Hammond, Kalimafoni, Armes (Sherriff) Replacements not used: Majewski, Davies

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