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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 36 - Otley 15
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Your News Doncaster Knights 36 - Otley 15

After a “curate’s egg” of a first half, a much changed Doncaster Knights overcame a game Otley side by 36 points to 15 scoring six tries to two in the process and showing some glimpses of the style their fans can expect over the league campaign. Putting all the rumours of possible league restructuring behind them both sides went about their business with both a little rusty after their summer’s break but it was, as expected, the full-time Knight’s squad who outlasted the part-timers from Otley who were making a return to National Division One after being relegated the previous season.

For their first League game of the season the Knights included 14 of their new signings in their 22 man match day squad. With two new halfbacks, an entirely new three quarter line, two new forwards and a new captain in Adam Kettle, all of which allowed the Knights to reduce their average age from 28 to 24, Director of Rugby Lynn Howells was clearly putting his stamp on the team and everyone, players and supporters alike, was looking forward to an exciting season.

Otley had the better of the possession and territorial exchanges in the first quarter as their big pack took the game to the Knights and they went ahead after 19 minutes. After gaining a scrum 40 metres out, their scrum half Dave McCormack broke down the blindside and, after two Knights defenders had collided, he fed the ball to his support before taking the final pass and step inside the last two covering defenders to score 10 metres in from touch for a try that was converted by Robin Kitchen. This reverse stung the Knights into action and they scored two tries within the next five minutes. The first came when a poor clearance kick by Otley fullback Ian Shuttleworth had cost his side 70 metres by kicking the ball dead and the Knights won the resultant scrum 30 metres from the visitors line. After initially attacking to the right, they cleverly switched the ball back to the left through new winger Andy Wright who linked up with big flanker Bryn Griffiths whose pass gave new winger Chris Hughes an unopposed run in for his first try for the Knights. Almost from the restart Doncaster attacked again and wave after wave of Knight’s attacks, with backs and forwards combining to show some excellent contunity of play, it eventually fell to new skipper and No 8 Adam Kettle to cut inside the last defender to score near the posts giving new flyhalf Ali Warnock an easy conversion. Although that was the end of the scoring in the first half, the pressure was building up on Otley as the Knights, with their new Tongan international centre Hudson Tonga’uiha to the fore, started to click.

The Knights opened the scoring in the second half after only one minute. With the referee playing scrum advantage to the Knights on the halfway line after the Otley backs had been caught in possession, Doncaster moved the ball quickly to the left where Griffiths showed a surprising turn of pace down the left touchline. When he was stopped, the ball was moved back to the right where flyhalf Ali Warnock sold a dummy before cutting a perfect line through the remaining Otley defence to score near the posts for his first try for the club which he converted himself. The Knights should have scored again from the kick off as their powerful forwards inter-passed at pace down the left touchline but unfortunately the move broke down only a few metres from the Otley line. Kitching brought his side back to within 7 points of the Knights after 55 minutes with a penalty but the home side hit back immediately, again with two tries within the space of five minutes. The first came when the Knights won a lineout 20 metres from the Otley line but, in spite of the visitors best efforts to legitimately pull down the well drilled driving maul six times, they ran out of defenders and Bryn Griffiths crashed over wide out for Doncaster’s bonus point try. The Knights piled on the pressure as they attacked down the left flank and Otley again had to defend desperately. Unfortunately for them they were unable to withstand the onslaught as Knight’s full back Anthony Carter beat two defenders to score in the corner. With both sides now using their substitutes, game started to really open up and, although the Knights had their chances, it was Otley who scored next. After taking the game into the Doncaster 22 through a couple of penalties down the right flank, the visitors moved the ball to the left and, although there appeared to be an obstruction on one of the Knight’s defenders, a delicate grubber kick behind the cover allowed winger Kitchen to pick up and score wide out. Again the Knights hit back and they scored their sixth try with the last move of the game when replacement Tongan international prop Toma Toke crashed over between the posts after a series of forward drives. Warnock’s conversion took the final score to 36 points to 15 and a well deserved win for the Knights.

After the game Doncaster’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells said that he felt that with so many newcomers in the side they needed time to gel. He said that although he thought some of the Knight’s play was excellent he was disappointed with the manner of the two Otley tries and that he felt that his side tried to play too much rugby in the wrong areas of the field.

Doncaster Knights: A Carter (J Lennard 76); A Wright; G Hughes; H Tonga’uiha; C Hughes (B Armitage 50); A Warnock; C Hallam (J Albinson 68); N Ta’u (M Cusack 50); S Boden (S Jenkins 70); R List (T Toke 60); D Smith (N Cochrane 60); G Kenworthy; B Griffiths; A Kettle; S Grainger

Otley: I Shuttleworth (T Whitaker 60); R Kitching; J Buchanan; K Dench; D Smith (S Parsons 45); A Monks (T Rhodes 45) S Trethewey (R Wederall 52); J Parkes (W Kay 64); K Fullman; P Williams; H Parr; M McComish; M Lewis; M Stockdale (R Baldwin 45)

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