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Home > News > Donaster Knights 13 - Cornish Pirates 16
Your News Donaster Knights 13 - Cornish Pirates 16

Atrocious weather conditions denied two of the Championships most attractive sides the opportunity to play to their strengths and instead the game turned into a rather feisty kicking-fest with both defences on top and no quarter asked or given. In the end it was the Knights indiscipline that again led to their downfall although, to be truthful, if was a vast improvement on recent weeks.

For once Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells had little problem with selection as he only had 22 players available from which to select his 22 man squad. For a change he had more backs fit and available than normal and they occupied four of the replacement places with two props and a hooker filling the other three.

The Knights started disastrously when they conceded a try in the opening two minutes. Pirates were awarded a scrum 30 metres out from the Knights line; it wheeled anti-clockwise taking the Doncaster back row out of the game leaving an opening which former home favourite, and now visitors centre, Tom Luke exploited to race through the defence to run 25 metres before evading the last ditch tackle of full back Steve McColl by showing his surfing skills to slide over for a try from 5 metres out. Full back Rob Cook converted and the Knights were on the back foot. They fought back into the game with a penalty by fly half Christian Lewis-Pratt after 6 minutes but this was cancelled out a couple of minutes later by a similar effort by Cook. A worry sign for the Knights however was the way, on one occasion, Pirates drove a maul over 30 metres into the heart of the Knights defence. After 26 minutes the game erupted with a fight involving a number of players after the ball had been moved away and it resulted in Knights flanker Zach Farivarz and Pirates Luke being yellow carded with the resultant penalty being awarded to Doncaster. Whilst both sides were down to 14 men, they both scored a penalty: the first for the Knights by Lewis-Pratt and then, for the Pirates, by Cook. As the game approached the interval, Knights winger Dougie Flockhart was yellow carded for what the referee deemed a high tackle on diminutive Pirates fly half Jonny Bentley.

The Knights withstood their period whilst down to 14 men again at the start of the second half and indeed had a penalty chance that unfortunately slid just wide of the posts. After 60 minutes Cook was given a chance which he took and now the visitors were 16 points to 6 ahead. For the remainder of the game the Knights struggled as they failed to control their own line outs which continually put them on the defensive. With both sides resorting to high kicks rather than risk handling in the conditions, it was the more experienced Pirates half back pairing of Gavin Cattle and Bentley who played the conditions better to keep their side on the front foot. Just as it looked like the defence would win the day, in the last seconds of the game the Knights at last won one of their own line outs, albeit somewhat fortuitously, 10 metres out and, although the first few drives were stopped, Doncaster No 8 Ed Jackson crashed over between the posts for a try that Lewis-Pratt converted for the final play of the game.

Afterwards Howells, whilst disappointed with the result and some of his sides mistakes, he was praised for the way that they had stuck on in when things were not going way. He highlighted the fact that his team had been forced to play 5 games in 15 days due to previously postponed matches and, in particular, praised his second row pairing of Matt Challinor and young Dom Parsons who had been forced to start in every one of them. He said his side were now looking forward to the promotion play off group they were in with Bedford, Rotherham Titans and the Pirates and he said that he was confident that the Knights would give a good account of themselves.

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Goss (Briers 56), Gidlow, Williams, Lewis-Pratt, Jones, Thiede (Corsar 50), Boden, Cusack (Thiede 78), Challinor, Parsons, Farivarz, Jackson, Cochrane Replacements not used: Doughty, Brown, Hampson, Gates, Devlin

Cornish Pirates: Cook, Davies, Hopper, Luke (Winn 65), Pointer, Bentley, Cattle, Rimmer (Storer 77), Ward (Elloway 77), Paver, Nimmo (Myerscough 56), Gulliver, Betty, Marriott, Holmes (Burgess 74) Replacements not used: Currie, Docherty

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