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Home > News > London Welsh 31 - Doncaster Knights 16
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Your News London Welsh 31 - Doncaster Knights 16

Doncaster Knights failure to control key parts of the game, coupled with an outstanding kicking game by London Welsh flyhalf Aled Thomas, meant that they were chasing the match from 25 minutes onwards. This lead them to running the ball at inopportune times as they tried to put pace on the game instead of settling for the game plan that had served them well the previous weekend.

After beating Otley last weekend, Doncaster’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made a number of changes for the encounter away at London Welsh in order to see as many of his new players in the early games. In the backs, Oli Goss was given a chance at fullback whilst the experienced Justin Bishop and Wez Davies came in on the wings. At scrum half Jamie Albinson got the nod over Chris Hallam. In the pack, Tom Davies came in at loose head prop; Bryn Griffiths moved from flanker to lock and Neil Cochrane got a start in the back row.

The first 10 minutes was played at a fast and furious pace as both sides with many new faces threw everything at each other. After spending much of the first 20 minutes in London Welsh’s half, all the Knights had to show for it was two well struck 40 metre penalties by fly half Ali Warnock to take the visitors into a 6 points to 0 lead. However, with 22 minutes gone, disaster struck the Knights as they ran the ball from a scrum on their own 22 to try to take advantage of an overlap and then lost possession on their own 10 metre line The Welsh flyhalf Aled Thomas snapped up the loose ball and then beat the covering defence as he raced down the right touchline to score a try in the corner which he then converted with an excellent kick. Four minutes later London Welsh had a scrum just inside the Knights half and, after wheeling it to take the visitor’s backrow out of the game, their right wing Paul Sampson made a good break when joining the line coming off his wing running right to left before putting his full back Ed Lewis-Pratt over for a try in the left corner. With 31 minutes gone Thomas kicked a simple penalty and then converted a try by London Welsh prop Paul Dorian Jones when he crashed over following a scrum on the Knights line. As the game went into injury time Warnock kicked his third penalty to bring the half-time deficit down to 13 points.

Doncaster needed an early score in the second half but it was Thomas who extended his side’s lead with another penalty. For the next 20 minutes Thomas and Lewis-Pratt kicked Doncaster to death as they pinned them into the corners every time they gained possession during which period Thomas also kicked another simple penalty. With 25 minutes gone the Knights managed to gain possession for a period of time and they were awarded a penalty try when London Welsh were penalised for persistent infringement. Warnock’s conversion brought the Knights back into a sniff of a bonus point but Thomas took this away from them with his fourth penalty of the game. With a couple of minutes left Ollie Goss was yellow carded for killing the ball on his own line but the 14 man Knights held out for the last 5 minutes to deny London Welsh their own bonus point.

After the game, a disappointed Howells said that at least he had now had had the chance to see most of his much changed squad in a game situation. Whilst both sides had had a big change of personnel over the summer it was the home advantage that had enabled London Welsh to settle quicker and deservedly take the spoils from the game. With Monday night’s “A” XV game at home against a strong Worcester “A” XV (ko 7.30pm) to come, Howells said this would give the remainder of his squad the opportunity to push for selection against Rotherham Titans this coming Sunday.

London Welsh: E. Lewis-Pratt; P Sampson; T Rock; P Mackey (A Hopkins 69); T Tombleson; A Thomas; N. Runciman (A Chiltern 60); P Dorian Jones (D Williams 60); K Vuli Suna (D George 62); A Liffchak; W Lewaravu; M Powell (M Corker 70); J Mills; D Ball; T Brown subs not used T Audley; T Marks.

Doncaster Knights: O Goss; J Bishop; G Hughes (B Armitage 59); H Tonga’uiha; W Davies; A Warnock; J Albinson (C Hallam 48); T Davies (T Toke 59); S Boden; N Ta’u (M Cusack 52); G Kenworthy; B Griffiths; S Grainger; N Cochrane; A Kettle subs not used S Jenkins; D Smith; C Rees

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