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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 24 - Cornish Pirates 27
Your News Doncaster Knights 24 - Cornish Pirates 27

For the second successive home game in the play offs, the Knights failed to make use of the territorial and pressure advantages they had for great parts of the game and so narrowly failed to reach the Championship semi-finals against Worcester. They had a number of chances but their visitors were much more clinical in converting the only three real try scoring opportunities that came their way.

Again Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells, in his final game with the club, had little choice with selection as further injuries hit his already decimated squad. On the plus side however Nathan Jones and Glen Kenworthy past late fitness tests to take their places at scrum half and lock respectively after missing last Saturday. Unfortunately these were offset by injuries to No 8 Ed Jackson and flanker Neil Cochrane who were replaced by Jacob Rowen and Zack Farivarz respectively.

After a fairly even start the Knights went behind after 6 minutes to a penalty by Pirates winger Grant Pointer. However from then on the Knights started to gain a slight territorial advantage and went ahead after 13 minutes with a great individual try by centre Andy Wright. Wright received a flat pass straight from scrum half following a good line out on the Pirates 10 metre line and stepped inside his opposite number and then wrong footing the visitors defence as he raced to the line for a try that was converted by fly half Tristan Roberts who, shortly afterwards, extended the Knights lead with a penalty. The Knights spent the next 15 minutes mainly inside the Pirates half but were unable to break down their dogged defence. During this period, in just about their only incursion into the Knights half, Pointer kicked his second penalty. With 5 minutes to go to half time, the Pirates put pressure on the Knights and, from a routine move just outside the Doncaster 22, full back Rhodri McAtee broke past a poor attempted tackle to score wide out which Pointer converted with the help of a goal post.

It was difficult to believe that the Knights had turned around 13 points to 10 in arrear and they continued to pressurise the Pirates defence. Their break came after 55 minutes when full back Steve McColl brilliantly caught his own high up and under on the Pirates 22 and the ball was then recycled wide to the left where lock James Craig and prop Lewis Thiede were on hand to give flying winger just enough space to race the final 20 metres to dive over in the corner for a try that Roberts converted with a good strike. As in the away play off game at Penzance, the Knights fell foul of two sucker punches with two tries for the Pirates in the space of five minutes by McAtee and wing Nick Jackson both of which came as a result of two poor attempted tackles. Pointers conversion of both tries put the Pirates 27 points to 17 ahead with 15 minutes left and it could have been game over. However the Knights pack had other ideas and, after a 5 minute period of intense pressure on the Pirates line, scored through scrum half Nathan Jones who drove over from a Knights five metre scrum. McColl added the extras and it was game on. The Knights now threw caution to the wind and a good run by McColl down the right touchline looked to have brought its just reward by unfortunately Chris Briers, on as replacement for Roberts, could not quite hang on to the inside pass and a chance to win the game went begging with just a minute of so left.

The Knights supporters must have been pleased with the way the injury hit squad had competed in the play offs particularly as they started the season as one of the relegation favourites. What was particularly galling was the fact that todays game was probably lost by three poor defensive efforts by the same player which let down the massive commitment shown by the remainder of the team. Congratulations must go to the Pirates however for their clinical performances when the opportunities arose and we wish them good luck for the remainder of the competition.

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Goss, Wright, Williams, Roberts (Briers 66), Jones, Frazier, Lawrie (Boden 65), Thiede (Corsar 63), Kenworthy (Parsons 50), Craig, Rowen, Makaafi, Farivarz Replacements not used: Doughty, Hampson, Devlin

Cornish Pirates: McAtee, Pointer, Hopper, Winn, Jackson, Luke, Doherty, Storer (Currie 52), Elloway (Cowan-Dickie 78), Rimmer, Nimmo, Gulliver, Betty, McGlone, Burgess (Ward 63) Replacements not used: Paver, Andrew, Morgan, Cattle

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