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Home > News > Doncaster 36 - Bristol 13
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Your News Doncaster 36 - Bristol 13

Bristol were well in the game for the first 60 minutes giving as good as they got but they had no answer to the Knights who dominated the final quarter and delighted their Castle Park supporters by scoring three tries with some outstanding finishing and awesome scramble defence on the two occasions the visitors threatened to score down their left flank.

For this match Knight’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made three changes to the side that had performed so disappointingly in losing to Moseley the previous Friday. The one change in the backs saw the return of Dougie Flockhart on the wing. The two other changes were in the back row where fit again Latu Makaafi started at flanker after missing the last two months with a thumb injury and Ed Jackson returned at No 8 after missing last week with an ankle injury.

Both sides started well but it was Bristol who had slightly the better of the early exchanges with winger Jack Tovey almost scoring but for some resilient Knight’s defence before they eventually opened their account with a penalty by fly half Adrian Jarvis after 10 minutes. The Knights hit straight back with a penalty by their fly half Tristan Roberts. With 17 minutes gone, Bristol winger George Watkins was stopped just inside the Knights 22 and, from the resultant line out, Bristol totally misjudged a Knight’s high kick from inside their own 22. The chasing Flockhart picked up the loose ball on halfway and he made 10 metres before feeding the supporting Makaafi who powered his way over the remaining 40 metres for the game’s opening try that was converted by Roberts. Both sides continued to threaten and it was Bristol who scored next as half-time approached and with both sides reduced to 14 men after two separate, unrelated yellow card offences. They attacked inside the Knight’s 22 and, after Fatialofa had made ground he fed the supporting Watkins who scored a try that Jarvis converted. As they have done previously so often this season, the Knights hit straight back as they regained possession straight from the kick off. After a couple of forward drives at the Bristol line had been repulsed, the Knights moved the ball wide to the right where centre Oli Goss made a short break before feeding supporting full back Steve McColl whose pass to Flockhart put the winger over in the corner. Roberts’s excellent touchline conversion meant that his side went into the interval leading by 17 points to 10.

Bristol came out for the second half fired up with plan B and they drove the Knights pack back at every opportunity once making almost 40 metres with a rolling maul. However the Knight’s pack managed to withstand the pressure even managing to stop a 50 metre attack down the left flank was just stopped inches short by a combination of flanker Neil Cochrane and scrum half Chris Hallam. All Bristol had to show for all their second half territory and possession was a penalty by Jarvis after 56 minutes. Yet again the Knights hit almost immediately back. McColl started an attack down the right flank and made ground up to the Bristol 22. The ball was moved left and right again where McColl again received the ball midfield and 20 metres out from the posts, he made 10 metres before feeding the ball to replacement lock Dom Parsons who raced over for a try. By now the Bristol pack was visibly tiring from their efforts and it was the Knights who started to take the game by the “scruff of the neck”. Even so Bristol’s Watkins had one long range effort that was stopped just short by a combination of McColl and the covering Hallam again. With 70 minutes gone the Knights gained their bonus point try. Bristol tried to move the ball wide to the right on their own 22 but a poor pass evaded Fatialofa and it was picked up by Knight’s centre PJ Gidlow whose inside pass to winger Matt Williams enabled him to evade the sole defender to score a try just to the left of the posts that was converted by Roberts. By know Bristol’s composure was in tatters in the face of a rampant Doncaster defence and it was no surprise when they scored again. With the game in injury time, Bristol again dropped the ball, this time on the Knight’s 22, and Doncaster’s Jackson was on hand to fly hack the loose ball to the halfway line before winning the chase again before kicking it ahead to the flying Williams to chase. Unfortunately the winger was effected by cramp and, although the was winning the chase, he was illegally tackled without the ball a couple of metres short but Jackson was on hand to complete the work that he had started and his try was converted by Roberts for the final score of the game.

After the game, Howells said that, whilst he was very impressed with his team’s performance, it was unacceptable that there should be such a difference compared with their poor display the previous weekend. He said it was important that they achieved a far greater consistency if they wanted to really threaten the four teams in the league higher than themselves. However he said he was sure that today’s display against a decent Bristol side containing many experienced players would put them in good heart for their next two encounters away at second placed Bedford and then their next home match against Championship leaders Worcester.

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Goss, Gidlow, Williams (Wright 80m), Roberts, Hallam (Jones 71m), Frazier (Thiede 57m), Boden, Cusack, Challinor, Kenworthy (Parsons 57m), Maakafi (Doughty 30-40m, Walker 63m), Jackson, Cochrane Replacement not used: Lewis-Pratt, Doughty

Bristol: Marsden, Tovey, Adams, Fatialofa (Barnes 67m), Watkins, Jarvis (Little 60m), Shaw, Irish (Vunipola 50m), Hayes (Blaney 70m), Crompton (Thompson 50m), Sambucetti, Winters, Grieve (Barry 67m), Montagu, Merriman Replacement not used: Bolt

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