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Home > News > Birmingham & Solihull 35 - Doncaster 29
Your News Birmingham & Solihull 35 - Doncaster 29

The fact that the Knights seem to reserve their worst performances of the season against Birmingham sides should not take away credit from a spirited Bees side that deserved their win at Damson Park if only for the fact that they scored four tries to Doncasters two. For their part, the Knights will wonder how they can have played so well against third place London Welsh last Sunday but, a week later, lose to the bottom side in the league side that has previously only won twice all season.

For the trip to Birmingham, which also served as double header for the previously postponed British and Irish Cup game between the two sides, Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made four changes from the side that started against London Welsh. Chris Hallam returned at scrum half in place of Nathan Jones, Stuart Corsar started at prop for the injured Dan Frazier, lock Glen Kenworthy, recovered from his neck injury, came in for Matt Challinor and fit again Ed Jackson replaced Zack Farivarz in the back row. The Bees contained three former Knights players in fly half Mark Woodrow, prop Ngalu Tau and flanker Russell Earnshaw

For the second week running, the Knights conceded a try in the opening minutes. The Bees won a scrum on the halfway line near the right hand touch, they moved the ball to the left and the Knights midfield totally failed to tackle England Sevens winger Simon Hunt as he came off his wing before racing 50 metres to outpace the defence for a try that Woodrow converted. Knights came back with a penalty by their fly half Tristan Roberts after 9 minutes but, within minutes, the Bees had struck again. Again they breached the Knights midfield defence and this time it was left wing Ollie Grove for a try in the corner that Woodrow converted with an excellent kick. The Knights came back and, after pressurising the Bees defence down the right flank, they moved the ball to the left where flanker Neil Cochrane raced over unopposed from 22 metres with two men outside him for a try that Roberts converted. Roberts then punished Bees indiscretions with three penalties to put the Knights in front before Woodrow kicked a penalty to take his side into half-time with an 18 to 16 lead.

Roberts put the Knights back in front with a penalty after 2 minutes of the second half. However a couple of minutes later the Knights put themselves under pressure deep inside their own half and Bees gained possession before big lock Semisi Tualava forced his way over for his sides third try that Woodrow converted. Roberts hit back for the Knights when he intercepted a poor Bees pass 40 metres out to race over for his sides second try that he also converted to take the Knights into a single point lead which Woodrow negated with another penalty shortly afterwards. Bees then lost Tualava to a yellow card but, before the Knights could take advantage, Woodrow spotted a space behind the Knights defence and his inch perfect kick gave Hunt the chance to outpace the cover to acore his second try that the fly half converted with a good kick from wide out. The last 15 minutes was all Knights but, as throughout the game, their execution and decision making was poor. Having turned down two kickable penalties, even though they needed two scores as they were 9 points behind, they eventually opted to kick their third chance to bring them into bonus point territory but their final efforts were to no avail and they crashed to a surprising defeat.

After the game Howells said that the Knights performance was totally unacceptable. In particular, he said that the players need to ask why they allowed themselves to get dragged into a style of play that suited their opponents and did not give the Knights the opportunity to play the expansive game that suits their strengths.

Birmingham & Solihull Winter, Hunt, Connolly, Petty, Grove, Woodrow, Williams, Tau, Preece, Halavatau, Tualava, Wright, Earnshaw, Clayton, Denbee

Doncaster Knights McColl (Flockhart 74), Wright, Briers, Gidlow, Williams, Roberts, Hallam (Jones), Corsar (Thiede), Boden (Lawrie), Cussack, Kenworthy (Challinor), Craig, Makaafi (Farivarz), Jackson, Cochrane Replacement not used: Lewis-Pratt

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