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Home > News > Esher 10 - Doncaster Knights 23
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Your News Esher 10 - Doncaster Knights 23

A dour, hard fought game played in poor conditions against an Esher side desperate to avoid relegation at the end of the season ended with an “ugly” victory for Doncaster Knights. The four points the Knights gained put them up into 4th place with London Welsh losing at home to Coventry and set them up for the humdinger of a match at home to 2nd place Exeter next Saturday.

For the match Doncaster’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made three changes from the side that had destroyed Bedford the previous Saturday. In the backs Jamie Albinson came in at scrum half in place of Chris Hallam, who had to have a groin operation, whilst at prop Tom Davies and Michael Cusack came in for Richard List and Ngalu Ta’u respectively.

Kicking off late at 5pm at Esher’s request to avoid clashing with the England v New Zealand international, Doncaster had the better of the opening 10 minutes but were unable to capitalise on the possession they gained. The game then evolved into an “aerial ping pong” battle as both sides sort to take advantage of the deteriorating conditions and light which was not the best of entertainment for the few hundred spectators present. With the referee continually penalising Esher, Doncaster gained territorial ascendancy and they secured a position close to the home line. After penalising Esher for collapsing an attempt Knights pushover try attempt, he awarded the Knights a penalty try after the home side immediately repeated the offence. Jamie Lennard’s conversion put the Knights 7 points ahead but Esher quickly struck back. After Doncaster attacked into the Esher 22 they gave away possession and the home side counter-attacked through their full back Neil Hallett who dodged 50 metres through the Knights defence. With 25 metres to go Hallett chipped ahead and Esher winger Doug Flockhart gathered the kind bounce to score near the posts for a try that Hallett himself converted to make the half-time score 7 all..

The Knights went ahead almost from the re-started when a planned move resulted in fly half Ali Warnock put in a clever cross kick to the right wing where Wes Davies caught the ball to dive over for a try which Lennard converted with an excellent kick from the touchline. From then on Esher were always trying to keep in the match whilst the Knights went looking for a 4 try bonus point, Unfortunately the poor weather became a bigger influence the longer the game went on and mistakes started to stop the match from flowing. After Hallett had reduced the Knights lead with a penalty after 49 minutes, Lennard with a penalty of his own and a drop goal by Warnock put Doncaster 10 points ahead after 70 minutes. Shortly afterwards Knights replacement hooker Steve Boden was unfortunately yellow carded after a dubious decision by the referee but even with 14 men Doncaster kept the pressure on Esher through solid defence which kept the home side on their back foot. As the game approached full time Lennard kicked his second penalty to make the final score 23 points to 10 to the Knights.

After the game the Knights could look back on a game which they thoroughly deserved to win and helped them to consolidate their place in the top four of the league. Although the rugby played was not pretty, the Knights did what they had to do on their visit to the capital even though they failed to come back with the bonus point they expected to get.

Esher: Hallett; Flockhart; Barbini; Clouston (Jewell 61); Lozides; Slemen (Baumberg 76); Barnes (Shaw 51); Millard (Elosu 59); Corrigan (Goldsmith 76); Croall; Ayling (Barker 54); Walker; Waterhouse; Starling; Renwick (Tubasei 610

Doncaster Knights: Lennard; Davies W; Tong’uiha; Armitage; Van Vuuren; Warnock; Albinson; Davies T (List 56); Jenkins (Boden 52); Cusack; Griffiths; Kenworthy; Afu; Cochrane; Planchant Subs not used: McColl; Goss; Ta’u; Smith; Mackenzie

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