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Home > News > Rotherham Titans 26 - Doncaster Knights 29
Your News Rotherham Titans 26 - Doncaster Knights 29

A penalty goal deep into injury time gave Doncaster Knights a victory that they deserved having outscored Rotherham Titans by three tries to two during a pulsating game that swung from end to end for most of the game. The home side stuck to their task against their full-time visitors but in the end they struggled to handle the powerful Doncaster pack whose scrum became more and more dominant the longer the game went on.

For this local derby involving, as it does, South Yorkshire bragging rights for the remainder of the season, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made two changes from the side of the previous weekend with former Titans favourites Jamie Lennard and Neil Cochrane being relegated to the bench. Into their places, at full back and flanker respectively, came Anthony Carter (another former Titan) and Simon Grainger.

After Doncaster started brightly, it was the Titans who opening the scoring with a well struck penalty by fly half Mike Whitehead after 5 minutes. From the restart Rotherham attacked and a mistake in the Knights defensive wall allowed the home backs through who made ground before linking with No 8 Jon Skurr who scored a try which Whitehead converted. Ten points adrift after less than 10 minutes and Doncaster regrouped to control play for the next 15 minutes before an attack from deep saw Knights full back crash over wide out for his sides opening try. Ill discipline by Doncaster as they tried to force the pace saw them conceded two more penalties which Whitehead kicked and, once more, the Knights were forced to regroup. With half-time approaching, Doncaster centre Bevon Armitage stormed into into the Titans 22 before linking up with Tongan international flanker Josh Afu who crashed over wide out for his sides second try. It was Rotherham who had the final say of the half however when Whitehead kicked his 4th penalty.

Turning around 19 points to 10 down, and rueing three missed kicks at goal, Knights replaced Ali Warnock at fly half at half time with Jamie Lennard who almost immediately kicked a penalty for his side. Minutes later Cusack and Cochrane came on for the Knights in place of Tau and Grainger respectively and this really lifted the Knights game. After winger Donavan Van Vuuren was stopped inches short after a good break by Hudson Tongauiha, his fellow wing Wez Davies dived over for a try that Lennard converted to put the Knights into the lead for the first time in the game. Within the next five minutes firstly Knights Afu and then Titans replacement Burrows were shown yellow cards as the game became very tense. The referee caused disbelief when he disallowed a Knights try after Armitage had charged down a Rotherham clearance kick ruling that the ball had been knocked on. Lennard extended the Knights lead to 4 points after 60 minutes but Rotherham recovered the lead with a try through scrum half Neil Chivers following a line out drive. Whiteheads conversion put his side into a 3 point lead which Lennard cancelled out with third penalty with less than 10 minutes left. As the game went into injury time both sides had their supporters hearts in their mouths as play went from end to end before the referee had the final say on the game when he awarded the Knights a penalty 30 metres out from the Titans line which Lennard gratefully accepted to give his side a narrow victory.

When Doncasters powerful pack took on the Titans eight in the second half there was really only one team in it but the home backs, exciting and adventurous throughout, always spelt danger. The introduction of Lennard, Cusack and Cochrane around half time had a major impact on the all aspects of the game with Lennards goal kicking, Cusacks scrummaging and Cochranes general all round work being adding significantly to the Knights performance.

Rotherham Titans: Hunt; Feeley; Buckley, Briers; Claassens; Whitehead; Chivers (Erskine 72); Corsar (Tea 68); Conroy (Horn 74); Prescott; Challinor (Ault 60); Hayter (Burrows 52); Barnes; Du Plessis; Skurr Subs not used: McGowan; Barlow

Doncaster Knights: Carter; Davies W; Tongauiha; Armitage; Van Vuuren; Warnock (Lennard 40); Hallam; Davies T; Boden; Tau (Cusack 45); Kenworthy; Griffiths; Afu (Kettle 63); Planchant; Grainger (Cochrane 45) Subs not used: McColl; Albinson

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