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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 41 - Rotherham Titans 26
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Your News Doncaster Knights 41 - Rotherham Titans 26

Another Jekyll and Hyde performance by Doncaster Knights as, after scoring 31 unanswered points in the first devasting 34 minutes, they allow Rotherham Titans to get back into the game with 4 tries before making the game safe with a late try of their own.

After return disappointedly empty handed from their visit to Cornwall last weekend, Knight’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells has little option but to keep faith with the bulk of his side due to his continuing injury crisis. On the plus side he was able to recall prop Dan Frazier after injury and he also gave a start to Knight’s Scottish “A” hooker Steve Lawrie. On the down side prop Michael Cusack and replacement prop Lewis Thiede had to play in spite of having been down with flu for most of the week.

The Knights were on the score sheet in the opening minute when winger Matt Williams was put over in the corner after the ball was firstly moved to the right and then back to the left. The Knights had two further chances to score which they missed, the first when they cut back inside with men clear outside and then, when faced with a two against one, they managed to pass the ball to the Rotherham player. The Knights were on fire at this point and they increased their lead after 12 minutes when they were awarded a penalty try when the Titans were penalised as their scrum was being driven back over their own goal line. After 19 minutes the Knights scored their 3rd try when lock Matt Challinor scored against his former club after he was driven over from 15 metres with the Titans pack in disarray. Shortly afterwards Knights flanker Latu Makaafi was yellow carded for an alleged dangerous tackle but this did not stop Doncaster. From the penalty given against Makaafi, Rotherham tried to drive the Knights over their line but they lost possession, flanker Neil Cochrane broke clear from his own goal line and he raced 22 metres before putting centre Andy Wright on a 70 metre dash for his sides bonus point try. With fly half Tristan Roberts converting both the penalty try and Wright’s effort, the Knights were 24 points ahead after only 25 minutes. After the Knights had missed yet another two against one by again passing to the Rotherham player, they continued to attack and skipper Lawrie crashed over from short range after 34 minutes. Shortly before half-time Rotherham profited from a badly missed tackle and flanker Sean Dougall scored wide out.

Whatever was said to Rotherham at halftime clearly worked as they came out a different team and scored within 2 minutes when lock Louis McGowan charged through indifferent Knights defence from 10 metres out for his sides 2nd try. Worse was to come for the Knights when, five minutes later, Titan’s fly half Juan Pablo Socino received the ball from his retreating following a scrum 5 metres from the Knight’s line and went through some more indecisive Knight’s defence to score a try that he converted to go with his earlier conversion of McGowan’s try. Now with 12 points of the Knights, Titans tried to pile on the pressure but Doncaster managed to “steady their ship” in spite of losing influential fly half Roberts with a calf injury. After 60 minutes, full back Steve McColl, now operating at fly half, calmed the Knight’s supporters nerves slightly with a penalty but Rotherham hit back after 70 minutes. After the Knights pack had withstood a couple of minutes of pressure on their own goal line, the ball was moved a few metres to the left where Titans No 8 Ryan Burrows took advantage of a misalignment in the Doncaster defence to score. With Socino’s conversion reducing his side’s deficit to 8 points it was game on but the Knights held their nerve and they took play to the other end of the field courtesy of two penalties against Rotherham. A maul formed 30 metres out from the Titan’s line and just to the left of the posts and centre Wright joined in before taking the ball and bursting through three attempted tackles to score his second try that McColl converted for the final score of the game.

After the game, Knight’s supporters will be entitled to wonder which Doncaster side will turn up next week when, after playing some devasting rugby in the first half during which time they could easily have scored three more tries, they allowed Rotherham back into a game that they should never really had a sniff of and one that they were totally out of after 35 minutes.

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Goss, Wright, Williams, Roberts (Briers 63), Jones (Hampson 80), Frazier (Thiede 52), Lawrie (Boden 65), Cusack, Challinor (Craig 78), Kenworthy (Parsons 52), Makaafi (Rowan 77), Jackson, Cochrane

Rotherham Titans: Hodgson, Hampsey, Hepworth (Bedford 57), Godfrey (McMahon 2, Hunt 65), Swatkins, Socino, Rhodes, Harris, McGregor (Loney 33), George (Aikman 33), Smidt (Worrall 57), McGowan (Kilbane 74), Baines, Burrows, Dougall

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