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Home > News > Nottingham 40 - Doncaster Knights 15
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Your News Nottingham 40 - Doncaster Knights 15

There is an old adage in rugby that you struggle to win games without the ball and that is what happened at Meadow Lane as Nottingham denied the Knights any possession for long periods of the match making it difficult for them to get their own back line into play.

For the match, Doncaster Knight’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made numerous changes to the side that had played four days earlier as he sort to give other members of his squad a game. In the backs, Andy Wright moved into the centre from wing with Matt Williams returning whilst Leeds dual-registered player Christian Lewis-Pratt was given his first 1st XV start at fly half. In the pack, the whole front row were changed with Stuart Corsar, Steve Lawrie and Lewis Thiede coming in, Dom Parsons replaced the injured Glen Kenworthy at lock and, in the back row, Chris Walker and Zack Farivarz started on the flanks.

After Nottingham fly half James Arlidge had put his side into the lead with a penalty after only 2 minutes, the Knight’s Matt Williams scored a try when he gathered a loose ball 40 metres out following up a high up and under kick by full back Steve McColl. Lewis-Pratt converted from wide out. McColl extended the Knights lead after 17 minutes with a massive penalty from five metres inside his own half but it was Nottingham who had had most of the play. After 20 minutes, Nottingham drove the Knights back 10 metres at a maul well inside the visitor’s half and, after a period of intense pressure, home lock Craig Hammond went over for a try in the corner. Arlidge put his side back in front from 25 metres out after 26 minutes when the Knights were penalised for collapsing a scrum. With 34 minutes gone, Nottingham broke through a tackle just inside the Knights 22 before releasing big No 8 Sione Kalamafoni on a 35 metre run for try to put his side back in the lead. Just before half time Knights were struck a blow when No 8 Ed Jackson came off injured to be replaced by Jacob Rowan.

Turning around 16 points to 10 down, the Knights need a good start but it was Nottingham who immediately piled on the pressure and spent the next 10 minutes camped in the Doncaster 22 metre line. Eventually this pressure paid off when Nottingham flanker Chris Eggleshaw crashed over for a try from a maul wide out for a try that Arlidge converted. Doncaster now made three changes with regulars prop Michael Cusack, flanker Latu Makaafi and centre PJ Gidlow joining the fray and they were rewarded with a try when they drove a maul over from 10 metres out for a try that was credited to Steve Lawrie. Doncaster then brought on two more regulars in flanker Neil Cockrane and fly half Tristan Roberts followed scrum half Craig Hampson shortly afterwards. However it was Nottingham, refreshed by some of their own replacements, that finished the stronger and they scored two more tries following a lovely break by centre Tim Streather and a second try, this time from close in, by Kalamafoni, both of which were converted by Arlidge.

It was a disappointed Knight’s team that returned to Doncaster after the game to prepare for Saturday’s clash at Castle Park with Esher (KO 2.30pm) who need a win desperately to have any chance of keeping out of the relegation play offs. For the Knights, they need a win to gain them a point when they move forward into the group stages of the promotion play offs.

Nottingham: Jackson, Cobden (Savage 60), Steather, Sifa, Sempere, Arlidge, Usasz (Barnham 70), French, Stevens, Buxton, Shaw, Hammond (Kench 60), Eggleshaw, Kalamafoni, Baird (Sherriff 67) Replacements not used: Youngs, Halsall, Carter

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Goss, Wright, Williams (Gidlow 54), Lewis-Pratt (Roberts 63), Jones (Hampson 66), Corsar, Lawrie, Thiede (Cusack 54), Challinor, Parsons, Farivarz (Makaafi 54), Jackson (Rowan 38), Walker (Cochrane 63)

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