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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 50 - Esher 25
Your News Doncaster Knights 50 - Esher 25

A glorious purple patch of outstanding rugby by Doncaster Knights mid-way through the second half when they scored 4 tries in the space of 9 minutes put pay to the challenge of the leagues form team Esher who, desperate to avoid relegation, had won their last 6 consecutive games.

After the disappointment of last weeks defeat away at Bedford, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby made a number of changes in the pack for the visit of Esher. Tom Davies and Michael Cusack came in at prop and Neil Cochrane was recalled at flanker in place of Richard List, Ngalu Tau and Simon Grainger respectively. In a positional change Josh Afu switched to No 8 with Adam Kettle moving to blindside flanker.

Doncaster were quickly into their stride and they went ahead after 5 minutes when, after winger Wez Davies had made ground down the right wing, the ball was quickly moved to the left where long pass put Afu over in the corner for a try that fly half Jamie Lennard converted with an excellent kick. Esher hit back after 19 minutes when their dangerous backs made ground down their left flank before putting winger Seb Stegmann over for his sides first try that fly half Neil Hallett converted to bring the scores level. The Knights struck from the kick off when a switched kick surprised Esher and Wez Davies made ground almost to the visitors line before the ball went to flanker Cochrane who ran over virtually unopposed for a try which Lennard again converted. Esher, with the advantage of the breeze, pinned the Knights into their own half and they reduced the deficit with two penalties by Hallett in the space of five minutes. Lennard increased his sides lead with a penalty of his own and the Knights should have gone into the interval when, after a period of intense scrummaging pressure on the Esher line, scrum half Matt DArcy was adjudged to have been held up over the try line.

Doncaster stepped up the pace with the breeze in the second half and they increased their lead with a try by centre and former Esher player Bevon Armitage after a good break by Lennard who then again kicked the conversion. Minutes later a mix up in the Doncaster defence in covering an attacking kick followed by an astute soccer type through ball gave centre Seb Jewell a clear run to the line for a try which Hallett converted. This setback really spurred the Knights into action and they proceeded to score 4 tries in 9 minutes as they blew the Esher defence away. Firstly a clever chip to the left wing gave Afu a catch and clear run to the line; then Cochrane scored his second try after good work by flanker Kettle; then prop Tom Davies was driven over the Esher line after a lineout; and finally Kettle scored a try himself after good approach work by full back Anthony Carter. With Lennard converting three of his sides four tries, Esher suddenly found themselves 30 points in arrear and their only hope in their battle against relegation battle was to secure a try bonus point. For the last five minutes they threw everything into attack and their enterprise was rewarded by a second try by Stegmann but, apart from that one occasion, the Knights were never really under pressure and they finished the game well deserved winners.

In the second half the Knights showed that when they execute their game plan well, a plan that is based on pace and power coupled with support and continuity allied with aggressive defence, there are few, if any sides, who can live with them as Leeds, Nottingham and Bedford have found to their cost at Castle Park. Although the home crowd saw some excellent tries, the biggest cheer of the day came when left wing Donavan Van Vuuren left the field after 70 minutes to bring to an end an outstanding five year spell at Castle Park with 101 1st XV appearances and every Knights supporter will wish him well in his retirement

Doncaster Knights: Carter; Davies W; Armitage (McColl); Tongauiha; Van Vuuren (Goss); Lennard (Warnock); DArcy (Hallam); Davies T (List); Boden; Cusack (Toke); Kenworthy (Grainger); Griffiths; Kettle; Afu; Cochrane

Esher: Ulph; Flockart (Lozides); Lowe; Jewell (Barbini); Stegmann; Hallett; Shaw (Barnes); Tunnicliff; Corrigan (Goldsmith); Hannon (Reid); Barker (Saynor); Ingles; Waterhouse, Starling; Stitcher (Renwick)

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