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Home > News > Cornish Pirates 23 - Doncaster Knights 33
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Your News Cornish Pirates 23 - Doncaster Knights 33

A delighted Doncaster Knights squad returned from Cornwall in the early hours of Monday morning with their first away victory over Cornish Pirates, and a well deserved one it was coming on the back of a dominant scrum, excellent defence and some good finishing. However the match was marred by two red cards, one for each side, towards the end of the first half.

For the visit to Camborne, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made just two changes from the side that had been victorious over Esher the previous weekend. Both of these were in the threequarter line where Steven McColl and Andrew Wright replaced Hudson Tonga’uiha and Donavan Van Vuuren at centre and wing respectively.

Doncaster kicked off and put Pirates under immediate pressure on their own goal line and they had several close calls before eventually getting on the scoreboard with a penalty by flyhalf Jamie Lennard after 9 minutes. The Knights went further ahead 4 minutes later when, following a counter attack involving scrum half Matt D’Acy and winger Wright that covered over half the field, a ruck was won just on the Pirates 22 and near the Knights left hand touch and an inch perfect 35 metre cross field kick by Lennard found right wing Wez Davies in acres of space as the ran over virtually unopposed. The Pirates started to look dangerous as they attacked the Doncaster line but the Knights defence held out and they only conceded a single penalty that was kicked by the home flyhalf Rhys Jones. Things were starting to look ominous for the Pirates at scrum time as the Knights 8 got on top and it was no surprise when referee Terry Hall awarded a penalty try against them as they illegally prevented Doncaster scoring a pushover try. Lennard’s conversion extended the Knights lead to 12 points before two separate incidents of alleged foul play led to Pirates No 8 Matt Evans and Doncaster flanker Adam Kettle minutes apart being sent off. From Kettle’s offence Jones kicked a penalty and Pirates closed the gap to 4 points just before half-time when a good attack from a line out resulted in full back Marika Vakacegu diving over wide out for a try that Jones could not convert.

The Knights came out for the second half clearly determined to extend their lead and they piled the pressure on the Pirates defence. After narrowly missing with a long range penalty, Lennard increased the Knights lead with a well struck drop goal after 7 minutes. Under pressure the Pirates backs started to make mistakes and, when winger Tuohy made a mess of things, “Man of the Match” scrum half D’Arcy was on hand to pressurise him before picking up the loose ball and diving over. The Knights came straight back and, having pinned the Pirates scrum on their own try line, winger Davies was on hand to pounce on a loose ball and dive over. Lennard’s conversion put the Knights 19 points into the lead and it looked like game over. However Pirates had other ideas and they scored two quick tries by scrum half Nicky Griffiths and lock Heino Senekal. With Jones converting one of these tries, the deficit was quickly reduced to 7 points and it was “game on” as the match went into the final quarter. Throughout this final period, dour defence was the order of the day as both sides took it in turns to attack but it was the Knights who were the only side to score thanks to another Lennard penalty.

Doncaster Knights will be pleased that they have got “another monkey off their back” with this first ever win in Cornwall and they are becoming a very good side well capable of winning away from home against the top sides when on song. They will have the opportunity to take this a step further this Saturday when, in their final league game of the season, they are away against 2nd placed Exeter Chiefs who are the only side to have beaten the Knights at Castle Park this season.

Cornish Pirates: Vakacegu; McAtee (Ireland 40); Devlin; Luke; Tuohy; Jones (Whatling 80); Griffiths (Fairhurst 65); Paver; Elloway (Dawiduik 67); Heard (Franklin 58); Senekal (Gulliver 43 – 53); Burak (Gulliver 58); Cowan (Bedes 58); Morgan; Evans

Doncaster Knights: Carter; Davies W; Armitage; McColl (Tonga’uiha 69); Wright; Lennard; D’Arcy; Davies T (List 65); Boden; Cusack (Toke 65); Kenworthy; Griffiths; Kettle; Cochrane; Afu Subs not used: Hallam; Goss; Warnock; Smith; Grainger

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