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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 19 - London Welsh 21
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Your News Doncaster Knights 19 - London Welsh 21

A lapse in concentration in the opening two minutes saw the Knights go behind to a converted try and, although their spirited fight back for the reminder of the game closed the score difference to only two points, they were unlucky not to win a game they deserved to when Steve McColl’s monster penalty attempt from 57 yards with the last act of the match landed on the cross bar and bounced back into the field of play.

With the team having had no action since mid-December, Knight’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells was surprisingly short of selection options due to players not yet recovered from injury. A training injury deprived the Knights of Oli Goss in the centre, Nathan Jones was preferred to Chris Hallam at scrum half, hooker Steve Boden retained the No 2 shirt with Steve Lawrie suffering from swine flu and Zac Farivarz took the place of Ed Jackson, out with an ankle injury, in the back row.

With the game only a minute old, a poor London Welsh clearance kick was misjudged by the Doncaster cover, the ball popped loose and a quick pass put the Championship’s leading try scorer Josh Drauniniu on a 50 metre dash down the touchline for a try that former Knights fly half Jamie Lennard, now on loan to the Welsh from London Irish, converted. The Knights came straight back and, after a spell of pressure, their fly half Tristan Roberts put them on the scoreboard with a drop goal. With 12 minutes gone, the Knights were penalised their own lineout just inside their 22 and, from the resultant scrum, the visitors moved the ball wide before a poor bouncing pass to the right evaded the home defence and was picked up by Welsh centre Dominic Shabbo, who as he was tackled, popped the ball back inside to his fellow centre Paul Mackey who scored wide out. Lennard extended the visitors lead after 23 minutes and the Knights were left to reflect on a quarter that they had dominated territorially and yet found themselves 12 points in arrear. With 35 minutes gone, the Welsh ran the ball out of defence before a poor chip ahead was gathered by Nathan Jones on his own 10 metre line and he made ground up the touchline to the halfway lane before giving an inside pass to Knight’s big winger Andy Wright who evaded the cover to score with a 50 metre run. Roberts converted this try and then completed the scoring for the half with a penalty in injury time to give a score of 15 points to 13 to London Welsh.

The second half had the big Bank Holiday crowd on the edge of seats for most of the time as play went from end to end but with defences holding firm. The Knights pack were now comfortably on top at the set scrums but were not quite able to make the inroads necessary against the London Welsh rush defence that had the crowd shouting for offside time and again. The score changed hand four times during the first 25 minutes of the half. Roberts put the Knights in the lead with a penalty after 42 minutes; then, after 57 minutes, Lennard put his side back in front; a second Roberts drop goal after 63 minutes shaded the game for the Knights before Lennard’s third penalty against his old club put London Welsh back in front. With less than 5 minutes left the Knights were awarded a kickable penalty but this time the nomally reliable Roberts’s attempt from 40 metres and fairly wide out fell just short. As the game went deep into injury time, the Knights were awarded another penalty, this time 5 metres inside their own half and 15 metres in from touch. With no time to go for a line out, the Knights opted to go for a kick at goal and full back Steve McColl’s monster effort looked to just about have the legs before it died and landed on the cross bar. The Knights were in hot pursuit and the ball was tapped back by the jumping Matt Williams before a London Welsh hand appeared to knock the ball forwarded before it disappeared under a mass of bodies. To the Knights’s amazement the referee penalised them for an offence at the ruck instead of giving the knock on and the game was lost.

After the game a very disappointed Howells had some harsh words to say about the referee as did some of his players and many of the home crowd. Looking back the Knights will reflect on their 1st minute mistake and their failure to capitalise on the territorial advantage that they had for most of the game. Apart from the result, their performance after such a relatively long lay off will stand them in good stead for the Championship and British and Irish Cup fixtures they have over the next two months.

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Wright, Gidlow, Briers, Williams, Roberts, Jones (Hallam 67m), Frazier (Corsar 55m), Boden, Cusack (Thiede 63m), Challinor, Craig (Parsons 72m), Makaafi, Cochrane, Farivarz (Rowan 67m) Replacements not used: Doughty, Flockhart

London Welsh: Claasens, Sampson (Luveniyall 61m), Shabbo, Mackey, Drauniniu, Lennard, Runciman (Lewis R 70m), Pittman, Ma’asu, Ward (Johnson 67m), Powell (Corker HT), Purdy (Russell 67m), Mills, Taione, Hills Replacements not used: Herring, Lewis J

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