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Home > News > Esher 34 - Doncaster Knights 38
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Your News Esher 34 - Doncaster Knights 38

For the fourth week running Doncaster Knights secured a 5 point win with a bonus point for scoring 6 tries to consolidate their position in 5th place in the Championship. Although they could have lost with the last play of the game against an Esher team who never gave in, the Knights deserved their win from the clinical way they score from almost every opportunity they had.

Doncaster Knight’s Director of Rugby made four changes for the trip to Esher from the side that beat Rotherham last weekend. In the pack Dan Frazier returned at prop in place of Stuart Corsar to face the club he was dual registered with last season, Steve Lawrie was selected at hooker in place of Steve Lawrie and 6’ 8” Dom Parsons was picked at lock in place of Matt Challinor. The only change in the backs saw the return of Chris Briers at centre in place of Oli Goss.

After former Rotherham favourite Mike Whitehead had put Esher in front with a penalty after 2 minutes, the Knights hit back 7 minutes later when, after they had pressurized the home side in front of their own posts, the ball was moved quickly to the left where winger Matt Williams bounced off a couple of tackles for a try that was well converted by fly half Tristan Roberts. Next it was Esher’s turn when the Knight’s defence gave Esher too much room on the left to allow winger Gerard Mullen to score in wide out for a try that Whitehead converted and extended his side’s lead after 23 minutes with his second penalty. Then, after losing speedy number 8 Ed Jackson when he injured his ankle on the uneven pitch, in the last 13 minutes of the half the Knights scored 3 tries to secure their bonus point. First, Roberts made a break midfield and, as the cover caught him a couple of metres short, his long pass to the right was picked up by lock Parsons who dived over wide out: then skipper Lawrie scored from a driving line out from close in; finally, when Esher lost possession just outside the Knights 22, two quick passes to the left by Briers and Roberts set up Williams of a 50 metre dash up the touch line to score his second try. With Roberts converting the second two tries the Knights went into half time 26 points to 13 ahead.

Esher regrouped and they reduced the lead after 52 minutes when scrum half Andy Garner dive over for a try, which Whitehead converted, after a forward drive had been stopped just short. The Knights hit straight back when they drove a maul 40 metres out from the Esher line before moving the ball quickly to the left where Steve McColl arrived at pace just outside Briers whose short pass put the full back on burst through the cover to score wide out. Esher never gave in and they started to get an increasing share of the possession. With 65 minutes gone, they had another driving maul close to the Knights line which which resulted in prop David Millward being driven over for another try that Whitehead converted. The Knights hit back again after 69 minutes through McColl who cut a lovely line through the Esher defence from 30 metres out to take a short pass from Roberts to race over in the corner for a try that the fly half converted. Still not to be outdone Esher gained possession and they scored their bonus point try through flanker Luke Wallace from yet another close in drive by the pack. Whitehead’s conversion reduced his team’s deficit to just 4 points as the game went into injury time. Esher threw everything into the attack but the Knights defence just about held out. Then, in the 9th minute of added time, Esher had one final attack down the right hand side and, when big winger Sam Smith cut back inside, a try seemed certain. However Roberts got back to bring off a try saving tackle and Smith was penalised for not releasing the ball and it was game over.

After the match, Howells said that, whilst it was possible to criticise his team for conceding 4 tries, he said that if he had been offered 4 consecutive 5 point wins a month ago, he would have taken it willingly. He said that the team now needed to face up to a short turn over of only 5 days before they travel to Moseley for Friday night’s game as they seek revenge for their home defeat back in September in what was undoubtedly the Knight’s worst performance of the season.

Esher: Chisholm, Smith, Mackenzie, Cruickshanks, Mullen (Ulph 51), Whitehead (Slemen 73), Garner. Millard, Corrigan (Walker 63), Nebbett (Tunnicliffe 63), Rudzki (Waterhouse 63), Blakebourn, Wallace, York (Renwick 73), Stitcher Replacement not used: Losardo

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Briers, Gidlow, Williams, Roberts, Hallam (Jericevich 62), Frazier, Lawrie (Boden 54), Cusack (Thiede 54), Kenworthy, Parsons, Boyde, Jackson (Farivarz 26), Cochrane Replacements not used: Challinor, Davey, Goss

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