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Home > News > Bedford Blues 42 - Doncaster Knights 20
Your News Bedford Blues 42 - Doncaster Knights 20

A poor first half performance, when playing up the slope and into the wind, saw Doncaster Knights concede 35 unanswered points which took the game out of their grasp when they had the advantage of the elements in the second half. Although the Knights scored 2 tries of their own after the interval in all honesty they were never really in the game and were well of the standard they had set themselves in recent weeks.

For this key match between two of the in-form sides in National Division One, Doncasters Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made several changes from the previous weeks winning side. In the pack their were recalls for Richard List (prop), Bryn Griffiths (lock) and Simon Grainger (flanker) in place of Tom Davies, Dan Smith and Neil Cochrane respectively. In the backs, the only change saw Donovan Van Vuuren come in for his 100th 1st XV league start in place of the injured Andy Green on the left wing.

Although Doncaster managed to withstand a first 15 minutes of pressure from a fired up Bedford side anxious to make amends for their 51 points to 21 hammering at Castle Park earlier in the season, the writing was on the wall as the home side piled on the pressure which the Knights only managed to keep out. The turning point of the game was around the end of the first quarter when a penalty by Bedfords full back James Pritchard was quickly followed by tries by wing Ryan Owen, flanker Greg Gillanders and wing Ollie Dodge as they took advantage of gaps in a strangely lethargic Knights defence. Three conversions and two more penalties by Pritchard and an injury time try by Bedfords outstanding scrum half Harlequins bound Karl Dickson put the home side in a virtually unassailable 35 points to 0 half time lead.

Turning around with the elements, the Knights knew that their only option was to plug away at the Bedford lead and go for a big finish if they could get within a reason distance of their hosts score. The first part of the plan went according to plan as fly half Jamie Lennard kicked two penalties for his side, the first from 50 metres. However as the Knights tried to up the tempo they allowed Bedford to break from their own half which lead to a try for the games other outstanding player Leicester bound fly half Billy Twelvetrees which Pritchard duly converted. Although well behind, the Knights did not give up and they were rewarded with two late tries by winger Van Vuuren and replacement fly half Ali Warnock, both of which were converted by Lennard. The final whistle gave Bedford a well deserved win and Doncaster pondering what had happened to their recent form when they struggled to put their mark on the game even on the two occasions when the home side were down to 14 men with players in the sin bin.

After the game Lynn Howells said that he wanted to offer his apologies to the Club and its supporters for his players who underperformed on the day and who have the ability to play far better. However it is not the end of the season and team are still targeting a top four finish by winning their three remaining fixtures. He said that in sport sides fail to perform on the day when they are capable of far better performances but he said that full credit had to be given to Bedford who deservedly won well on the day.

Bedford: Pritchard (Roberts 67; Walshe N 71); Owen; Burke, Vass, Dodge (Knight 76); Twelvetrees; Dickson; Walsh S (Cecere 61); Richmond (Locke 73); Boulton; Howard; Botha (Hoy 76); Gillanders; Tupai (McKay 76); Harding

Doncaster: Carter; Davies W; Armitage; Tongauiha (McColl 66); Van Vuuren; Lennard (Warnock 69); DArcy (Hallam 63); List (Davies T 54); Boden; Tau (Cusack 40); Kenworthy; Griffiths (Smith 40); Afu; Kettle; Grainger (Cochrane 36 40; 59)

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