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Home > News > Rotherham Titans 20 - Doncaster Knights 42
Your News Rotherham Titans 20 - Doncaster Knights 42

A much improved second half performance saw Doncaster Knights cruise to a comfortable victory over local rivals Rotherham Titans and put themselves into a position to reach the Championship Semi-Finals when they entertain Pool Group B leaders Cornish Pirates at Castle Park next Saturday. After allowing the Titans pack to control possession for a lot of the first half, the Knights upped the tempo after the interval to ensure that they retained the South Yorkshire bragging rights for yet another year.

With his selection options very limited by injuries, Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made four changes from the side that had beaten Bedford Blues the previous weekend. Three of them were due injuries incurred in that game with young locks Dom Parsons and James Craig and on-loan youngster Craig Hampson replacing Glen Kenworthy, Matt Challinor and Nathan Jones respectively. The other change was at hooker where Steve Boden came in on rotation for Steve Lawrie.

Titans went ahead after 6 minutes when, following a line out 5 metres from the Knights line, Rotherham hooker Dan Baines drove over. However their lead was short lived as, following a scrum straight from the restart, the Knights were awarded a penalty which they ran at the Titans defence before moving the ball to the right where centre Ollie Goss sliced though from 20 metres to score his sides opening try that was converted by fly half Tristan Roberts. Rotherham came back at the Knights and, after winger Jonny Hampsey had made ground towards the Knights line following forward pressure, lock Louis McGowan was on hand to dive over for a try that was converted by fly half Cliff Hodgson. Rotherham then has a period of pressure through their pack but, after 25 minutes, then Knights were back in the game with a well taken try. After Rotherham had yet again failed to deal with a high kick ahead, the Knights re-gathered the ball just outside the Titans 22 and, after the ball had firstly been moved wide to the right, it was then switched back in field where Goss cut diagonally across a non-existent home defence to score his second try that Roberts again converted. Although Hodgson put his side back in front just before half-time with a penalty, one felt it was only a matter of time before the Knights would cut loose.

Whatever was said at half-time certainly worked and it was a much more fired up Knights team that came out after the interval. Almost from the outset they gained possession and, after a Titans clearance kick had been charged down on their 22, the loose ball was claimed and a pop pass by centre Andy Wright gave supporting No 8 Ed Jackson a simple run to the line from 15 metres for a try that Roberts converted. From now on the Knights had a simple game plan which was to put the ball high into the air and wait for the Titans back three to make a mistake. Three minutes later the Knights gained a line out 5 metres from the Titans line and they drove over with the try being awarded to hooker Boden and Roberts again kicked the conversion. After 55 minutes, the Knights won a line out on the Titans 10 metre line and moved the ball to the left where Wright and then flanker Neil Cochrane made ground into the Rotherham defence. When they were halted, the ball was moved to the right where full back McColl and hooker Boden created space for right winger Dougie Flockhart to race through some poor Titans defence to score his sides fifth try that Roberts converted. Almost from the restart the Knights put themselves under pressure when, with ample time to clear the ball from well inside their own 22, they elected to move the ball to the right to launch a counter attack but, unfortunately their execution was not up to their ambition, and Titans lock McGowan pounced on the loose ball to stretch over the Knights line to score his second try. With the Knights now content to keep the ball deep in the Titans 22, the result was never in doubt and they scored their final try with 8 minutes to go. Titans were again pinned back inside their own half with the howitzer boot of McColl and, when they attempt to break out with a little chip and chase, the ball bounced into the hands of the Knights full back and he easily evaded the first tackle before racing 50 metres unopposed down the touchline before cutting around behind the posts to give Roberts an easy final conversion.

After the game, Howells said that he has always believed that his team would be capable of causing an upset in the play offs and he said he was looking forward to this coming weekends fixture with the Pirates. However he will be keeping an anxious eye on the physio room where hooker Steve Boden and flanker Neil Cochrane will be having intensive treatment on the injuries that forced them off the field in the second half to join flanker Latu Makaafi who had to be replaced at half time with a mysterious illness.

Rotherham Titans: M James, Hampsey (McMahon 61), Swatkins (Du Randt 66), S James, Rhodes, Hodgson, Bedford, Kilbane (Loney 55), Baines (Smidt 65), ODonnell, Harris, McGowan, Doneghan (Worrall 55), Burrows (Aikman 55), Dougall Replacement not used: George

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Goss (Briers 78), Wright (Gates 78), Williams, Roberts, Hampson, Frazier, Boden (Corsar 74), Thiede, Parsons, Craig, Makaafi (Farivarz HT), Jackson (Rowan 65), Cochrane (Lawrie 70) Replacement not used: Devlin

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