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Home > News > Otley 16 - Doncaster Knights 27
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Your News Otley 16 - Doncaster Knights 27

Doncaster Knights made a blistering start scoring 15 points in the first 8 minutes before a combination of deteriorating weather, visibility and ground conditions and an improved performance from the home side limited them to only two more tries on a day better suited to watching TV in front of a warm fire.

For this potential banana skin of a match, Doncaster’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells rested key players Hudson Tonga’uiha and Bryn Griffiths to give their injuries chance to recover and they were replaced at centre and lock by Stephen McColl and Dan Smith at centre and lock respectively. The only other change from the team that started the previous week against Exeter was at prop where Tom Davies was selected in place of Richard List. For their part, Otley’s 22 man squad included 7 players on loan from Leeds Carnegie.

Otley kicked off but the Knights were soon in the home half and they quickly gained a lineout 5 metres out. Lock Dan Smith made a good catch in the lineout and, after the first drive was rebuffed, flanker Neil Cochrane was driven over for his side’s first try. For the next 4 minutes it was all Knights as wave after wave of Doncaster attacks threatened the Otley line before left wing Donavan Van Vuuren dived over in the corner which full back Jamie Lennard converted from near touch. Two minutes later Lennard kicked a penalty from 40 metres and a cricket score threatened. With both sides resorting more and more to kicking, Doncaster went off the boil allowing Otley to get back into the game. Otley fly half Tom Rhodes kicked two penalties in the second quarter as the Knights started to fall foul of the referee Terry Hall and, when half time came, Doncaster only lead by 16 points to 9.

Whatever was said at half time stirred the Knights and they drove at the Otley line but the home defence managed to hold out. With 52 minutes gone, the Knights had a line out 5 metres from the home line and they scored their 3rd try through prop Tom Davies after a series of rolling mauls close to the Otley line. Otley quickly responded with a penalty through replacement fly half Adam Greendale but the Knights hit back a few minutes later. The Knights pack made in-roads into the Otley half before the ball was moved to the right where powerful young Scottish centre McColl burst through some poor home defence to race 25 metres to score near the posts for his first ever try for Doncaster that Lennard converted. With the Knights now with an 18 point lead, they again fell foul of the referee as replacement prop Richard List was yellow carded for a technical offence. With their numerical superiority Otley sensed the chance of gaining a bonus point or even an upset and they threw everything at the Knights with Leeds loan player Greendale calling the shots. Just as it looked as if the Knights would hold out another Leeds loan player Luther Burrell burst through near the posts for Otley’s first try of the match which Greendale converted. Shortly afterwards the Knights were down to 13 men as their scrum half was yellow carded for a late tackle that was clearly a case of mistaken identity as the wrong player appeared to be penalised. Shortly afterwards List returned to the fray and the 14 man Knights held out for the remaining few minutes as darkness descended on Cross Green.

After the game Lynn Howells said that his side came to gain 5 points and that is what they had done. It might have been an “ugly” win but, given the atrocious conditions that were a great leveller, it was a win nevertheless and kept the Knights on target for their aim of a top four finish that would take them into next season’s proposed Anglo-Welsh Cup along with the Premiership sides and the Welsh Regions.

Otley: Wackett; Andre; Burrell; Buchanan; Smith; Rhodes (Greendale 50); McCormack (Brown 50); Trethewey; Kay (Wederell 70); Hopcroft; Denton; Parr; Williams (Rowan 70); Baldwin; Hyde Subs not used: Steele; Craig; Whittaker

Doncaster Knights: Lennard; Davies W; Armitage; McColl; Van Vuuren; Warnock (Carter 60); Albinson; Davies T (List 55); Jenkins (Boden 41); Ta’u (Cusack 41); Kenworthy; Smith; Afu (Kettle 78); Planchant; Cochrane Subs not used: Goss; Tonga’uiha

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