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Home > News > Doncaster 50 - Bedford 21
Your News Doncaster 50 - Bedford 21

Doncaster Knights produced a first half display of attacking rugby that completely destroyed any hope that Bedford may have had of victory at Castle Park. Such was the Knights dominance that they had secured their four try bonus point within 30 minutes and scored another for good measure before half time. The Knights performance in front of a crowd of almost 2,000, and on the day that the front of their new 1,600 seater West Stand was opened, was one of the best they have produced at home for several seasons.

For the game against Bedford, who were one place higher than them in the league, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made four changes from the side that had won away at Moseley the previous weekend. With full back Anthony Carter injured, Howells switched Jamie Lennard from fly half and brought in Ali Warnock in his place. The other change in the backs was at scrum half where Chris Hallam returned after injury in place of Jamie Albinson. In the pack Tongan international Ngalu Tau was brought back in place of Michael Cusack at prop whilst Neil Cochrane came in on the flank in place of Simon Grainger who was out with a calf injury.

Doncaster pressurised Bedford from the off and went ahead after 3 minutes with a penalty by Lennard which was cancelled out after 9 minutes by Bedfords fly half Billy Twelvetrees. There then followed 25 minutes of some of the best Doncaster rugby ever seen at Castle Park as they decimated the Bedford defence. The first try came from a quick penalty taken 15 metres out by Cochrane who dummied the first defender before racing over unopposed wide out which Lennard converted with a good kick. Five minutes later Doncaster gathered a poor Bedford clearance kick 25 metres out and quick passing to the right allowed Lennard to put winger Wez Davies over in the corner. Davies scored his second minutes later. Knights won a lineout on the Bedford 22 and, after powerful approach work by Tongan international centre Hudson Tongauiha and winger Donavan Van Vuuren on his opposite wing, the ball was switched to the left to fly half Warnock who put a lovely little pop pass back inside to Davies who cut a lovely line to score close to the posts for a try that Lennard converted. Next centre Bevon Armitage made a strong run down the right and, when the ruck ball was won and the ball moved to the left, big Tongan international flanker Josh Afu was on hand after quick hands by Warnock and Lennard to cut a good line to the posts beating three defenders on the way. Lennard again converted. The Knights fifth try was another gem. After winning a scrum midfield the ball was moved quickly to the left where Lennard joined the line to put Van Vuuren on a 22 metre run to the corner where he beat four defenders to score a superb individual try. Just as the game went into injury time Bedford got a toehold back in the game when after their lineout drive was stopped inches short of the Knights line, the ball was moved quickly to the right and, with the Doncaster defence sucked in, the visitors right wing Ollie Dodge managed to get over in the corner.

Turning around 34 points to 11 in arrear, Bedford needed a good start and they got it after 5 minutes when, after a quick tap penalty 5 metres out, Dodge scored his second try again wide out. Despite this set back the Knights were in no mood to let Bedford back in and they sensibly kept the score board ticking over with a 35 metre drop goal by Warnock and two further penalties by Lennard. It was exciting rugby with Bedford seeking to use their pacy backs at every opportunity and the Knights playing with a new found confidence every time they moved the ball. With 10 minutes left, Knights forwards and backs combined well to pile the pressure on the Bedford defence and by retaining possession well they were rewarded with a close in try by hooker Simon Jenkins after Lennard was stopped just short. Lennards conversion took the Knights score to 50. To their credit Bedford never gave in and, with both sides making liberal use of their replacements, a frenetic finish was on the cards. With the half entering injury time at the end, the ball went lose from a Bedford attack 10 metres from the Knights line and it broke for the visitors replacement scrum half Karl Dickson to pick up and score near the posts for the last try of the game.

This encounter was an example of the type of exciting and skilful rugby that advocates of the new 12 team Championship format for next season believe will be produced. Doncasters powerful pack were again dominant with their back row outstanding and flanker Neil Cochrane named as Lynn Howells man of the match. What was really good for the Knights however was the excellent display of their backs which left Assistant Coach Justin Bishop purring with delight (and offering to buy milk all round - just a joke!) with the power, pace and precision they brought to their game to outplay the much heralded Bedford backs.

Doncaster Knights: Lennard; Davies W; Tongauiha (McColl 76); Armitage; Van Vuuren (Goss 73); Warnock; Hallam (Albinson 73); List (Davies T 60); Jenkins; Tau (Cusack 43); Griffiths; Kenworthy (Smith 79); Afu; Planchant; Cochrane (Mackenzie 77)

Bedford Blues: Harris; Dodge; Burke; Roberts; Davey; Twelvetrees (Vass 68); Walshe (Dickson 60); Walsh (Cecere 47); Richmond (Locke 73); Boulton (Graham 75); Howard; Cannon (Gillanders 54); Botha; Tupai (Mackay 54); Harding

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