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Home > News > Plymouth Albion 21 - Doncaster Knights 18
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Your News Plymouth Albion 21 - Doncaster Knights 18

Yet again Doncaster Knights managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at Plymouth when, having had over 60% of the territory and possession, they still connived to cede the game by failing to capitalise on the vast amount of ball their pack won for them. The game was summed up by the fact that they got over the Plymouth line on six occasions but only two tries were awarded.

For the side that travelled to Devon, Doncaster’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made three changes from the side that had put up such a good performance in defeat against unbeaten league leaders Leeds the previous weekend. Two of these changes were in the backs with Ollie Goss came in on the wing for Chris Hughes after impressing in training and Ali Warnock returned at fly half in place of Jamie Lennard. In the pack Neil Cochrane was selected at openside with Simon Grainger moving to the bench.

Before the Knights had got into their stride, Plymouth struck with two penalties from their flyhalf Kieron Hallett in the 1st and 6th minutes. For the next 30 minutes it was all Doncaster as their powerful pack started to dominate proceedings and it was no surprise when No 8 Chris Planchant dived over in the corner from close in from a scrum after 12 minutes. Try as they may the Knights could not score again in spite of having two tries disallowed by the referee. When they did move the ball to their backs the passing was often sloppy giving the eager Plymouth defence opportunities to regroup. After 28 minutes Warnock put his side into the lead with a penalty but this was cancelled out by one by Hallett 10 minutes later. As the game went into first half injury time, Plymouth centre Ross Allen broke through in midfield before linking up with hooker James Owen whose final pass put prop Jane Du Toit over in the corner for the final score of the half.

Turning around only 14 points to 8 down, and with the diagonal wind behind them, the Knights went back into the lead after 4 minutes when Tongan centre Hudson Tonga’uiha crashed over from close in after good work again by his pack. Warnock’s conversion put them back a point in front and all that was needed was for the Knights to use the elements and to use their pack to attack from close in. With 51 minutes gone, a high fortuitous kick out of defence was misjudged in midfield and Plymouth wing Tom Jarvis snatched on the loose ball to race 60 yards to score wide out. Doncaster’s pack again took the game back to Plymouth but with their backs being no where near as effective as Plymouth had been in using the elements a home win seemed increasingly on the cards. Warnock’s penalty after 58 minutes reduced the Knight’s deficit to three points but Plymouth hung on with a superb defensive effort. The disappointment for the Knights was the fact that they continued to control the possession, apart from a period around the 70 minute mark, but they could not turn it into points and it was a disappointed Knights team that trooped off after the final whistle.

Doncaster Knights will look back on this game as an opportunity for an away victory squandered by poor decision making and passing. With their playmakers being anything but decisive, they will be asking themselves how they can turn the work of their powerful pack into winning performances that will put themselves back in touch with the leading teams at the top end of the table. On basis of this performance there is much work to be done!

Plymouth Albion: Saumi; Cruickshanks; Allen; Fisilau (Nethling 63); Jarvis; Hallett; Nicholls; Rice; Owen (Dawe 59); Du Toit (Hopkins 59); Lewis; Brenton; Sprangle, Denbee; Evans Subs not used: Newman; Laidlaw: Marriott; Thomas

Doncaster Knights: Carter; Davies W; Tonga’uiha; Armitage; Goss; Warnock (Lennard 74); Hallam (Albinson 40); List; Jenkins; Ta’u (Cussack 40); Kenworthy; Griffiths; Afu; Planchant; Cochrane (Grainger 68) Subs not used: Smith, G; Smith D; Davies T

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