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Home > News > Doncaster 27 - Plymouth 15
Your News Doncaster 27 - Plymouth 15

Very much a game of three parts as the Knights had their supporters hearts in their mouths for the middle section after a thrilling start and even more exciting finish of a Championship match that was crucial for both clubs in terms of them reaching the promotion play off stages of the league season.

For the match Knights Director of Rugby reverted to the tried and trusted after giving almost all of his squad in the previous weeks British and Irish Cup games. In the backs, influential Steve McColl returned at full back, Dougie Flockhart reclaimed his place on the right wing and scrum half Nathan Jones returned after injury. In the pack, skipper Steve Lawrie returned at hooker, Stuart Corsar came in for the injured Dan Frazier at prop and, in the back row, Ed Jackson and Neil Cochrane returned after injury.

Knights went into the lead in the opening minute with a penalty by fly half Tristan Roberts who, a couple of minutes later, scored his 7th try of the season when Plymouth failed for clear his attacking chip ahead and he was on hand to gather the loose ball and dive over. His conversion put the Knights ahead by 10 points with less than 5 minutes played. If the Knights thought that Plymouth were going to be a pushover, however, the visitors had other ideas as their flanker Rory Watts-Jones dodged his way through some poor Knights defence to race over only a couple of minutes later to score his sides opening try that was converted by their fly half Alex Davies. Although the Knights returned to the attack they were unable to breach Plymouths resolute defence and the visitors gradually came back more into the game. Such was the supremacy of both sides defences can be judged by the fact the only scoring in the rest of the half came from penalties, two each by Roberts and Davies.

Plymouth started well in the second half and they had several scoring opportunities, mainly originating from Knights mistakes. However, to the credit of the Knights, their scramble defence worked and they managed to keep the visitors out. After 53 minutes the Knights lost centre PJ Gidlow to the sin bin after he had stopped Plymouths Canadian international No 8 Aaron Carpenter dead in his tracks with a crashing tackle but then blotted his copybook by offending at the resulting ruck. From this offence, Davies kicked the penalty and it was all square at 16 all. The Knights managed to survive their period a man short though some excellent defence but they were still on the defensive when Andy Wright came on for Gidlow when his sin bin period finished. After surviving what seemed a long onslaught on their own line from line outs and driving mauls from the Plymouth pack, the Knights managed to turnover possession and they moved it along their goal line to Wright who raced through the Albion defence on a thrilling 80 metre run which was only stopped inside the visitors 22. However this lifted the Knights spirits and, with Roberts now calling the shows, the same player kicked a penalty when Plymouth offended. Now it was all Knights and they extended their lead when Wright crashed over from close in. Although Roberts missed the conversion he extended the Knights lead to 11 points with a penalty from in front of the posts with the final kick of the game

After the game the Knights can look back on a win that comes very close to ensuring their place in the promotion play offs unless there are some very strange results over the next three weeks. Once that happens, Howells newly announced successor as Director of Rugby Brett Davey will be able to start his planning for next season from a firm footing. For their part, Plymouth will have had to face the long journey home wondering how they did not come away with at least a bonus point after being in contention for so long.

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Briers, Gidlow (Wright 66), Williams, Roberts, Jones, Corsar (Thiede 66), Lawrie (Boden 56), Cusack, Kenworthy, Parsons (Challinor 50), Farivarz (Makaafi 45), Jackson, Cochrane Replacements not used: Hampson, Goss

Plymouth Albion: Hallett (McLoughlin 46), Mercer, Fisilau, Tuipulotu, Mitchell, Davies, Kessell (Cushion 77), Porter, Evans, Hopkins (Morton 78), Collier (Sprangle 78), Skelding (Copeland 77), Stephen, Carpenter, Watts-Jones Replacements not used: Johns, Freestone

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