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Home > News > Doncaster 37 - Newbury 9
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Your News Doncaster 37 - Newbury 9

After their backs spurned two clear cut try scoring changes in the first half which would have given them their four try bonus point before half-time, it was left to the powerful Doncaster Knights pack to make the final score a better reflection of the game with two tries in the final ten minutes against a game, young, but eventually overpowered, Newbury side.

The Knights team showed a number of changes from the previous week. In the backs, Anthony Carter swapped places with Jamie Lennard at full back with the latter on the bench and Tongan international Hudson Tonga’uiha moved to outside centre in place of Bevon Armitage to allow a first start for Scottish Under 20 star Stephen McColl at inside centre. In the pack the big story was the return of one of last season’s stars Chris Planchant at No 8 after a series of hamstring injuries that have kept him out until now. Elsewhere Richard List replaced Tom Davies at prop, Bryn Griffiths switched from flanker to lock in place of Dan Smith, Adam Kettle moved to flanker from No 8 to accommodate the return of Planchant and Simon Grainger took the place of Neil Cochrane on the other flank.

Although Newbury gave a good account of themselves in the opening 15 minutes, it was the Knights who should have gone ahead when they missed a good scoring chance wide out to the left that went behind winger Donavon Van Vuuren who would have been over. Knights then missed a penalty through fly half Ali Warnock before Newbury fly half Gareth Griffiths put his side ahead with a penalty after 17 minutes. However, almost immediately, Warnock made up for his earlier miss with two penalties to put his side into the lead. After 25 minutes the Knights scored their first try and a cracker it was. From the restart after Warnock’s second penalty, the Knights pack drove the ball to their own 22 and they won the ruck ball. They moved the ball quickly to the right where Planchant burst through into midfield before linking up with McColl who made ground deep into the Newbury half before giving a perfect pass to the supporting Bryn Griffiths to give the big lock a clear run to the try line for a superb try. The Knights were now dominant and they camped in the Newbury 22. In a repeat of their earlier mistake they again missed a clear chance wide out to the left with, this time, what would have been a scoring pass ending at Van Vuuren’s feet. The Knights pack won a scrum against the head 5 metres out and, as they drove over the line, Premiership referee Ashley Rowden had no hesitation in awarding them a penalty try after a deliberate offence by one of the Newbury backs after having just before yellow carded Newbury centre Matthew Humphries for a similar transgression. Warnock’s conversion was a formality but then it was the Knight’s turn to lose a player to the sin bin when flanker Adam Kettle was penalised during a minor fracas. Even a man short however the Knight’s pack spent the last 5 minutes of the half battering away unsuccessfully at the Newbury line through a series of 5 metre scrums. At half-time Knights lead by 18 points to 3 but ruing at least another 10 points that they let go begging.

It was Newbury who started the second half the brighter and Griffiths cut back his side’s deficit with two penalties. Although Warnock then missed another penalty, with the Knights now totally on top, his side extended their lead after 61 minutes. They robbed Newbury of the ball just inside their 10 metre line and replacement scrum half Chris Hallam quickly went down the blindside before linking up with flanker Kettle. Kettle long floating pass went straight to winger Van Vuuren who raced down the touchline before passing inside to full back Carter who ran over unopposed from 5 metres out. For the last 15 minutes of the game it was all Doncaster as their pack took total control of the game and they scored one try from a line drive by replacement prop Tongan International Toma Toke and the other from a pushover try from 5 metres credited to Kettle now playing at No 8 in place of Planchant who had been replaced by Neil Cochrane. To the relief and cheers of the home crowd these last two tries were converted by Jamie Lennard on at fly half in place of Ali Warnock.

The 37 points to 9 winning margin would have been a lot more if the Knights had taken all their chances but as their young side settled in to the tasks ahead of them, there was a lot to be pleased with. However the Knights now embark on a series of harder fixtures starting with Nottingham away next Sunday at Meadow Lane and they will need to lift their game to the next level as they seek to consolidate their position in the top four of the table.

Doncaster Knights Carter; C Hughes; Tonga’uiha; McColl; Van Vuuren (G Hughes 73); Warnock (Lennard 62); Albinson (Hallam 52); List (Davies 73); Boden; Cusack (Toke 70); Kenworthy; Griffiths (Smith 73); Kettle; Planchant (Cochrane 70); Grainger

Newbury: Williams (Perry 72); Hylton; Henderson; Humphries (Sweeney 68); Nutt; Griffiths (Stevenson 68); Gasson; Green; Fincken; Fidler (Burgess 60); Ashcroft-Leigh; Noonan; Clark (Perkins 60) Fox (Williams 68) Sub not used: Widdop

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