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Home > News > Doncaster 9 - Exeter Cheifs 9
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Your News Doncaster 9 - Exeter Cheifs 9

A strong, almost gale force,wind blowing from end to end made playing conditions very difficult at Exeter’s exposed Sandy Park ground and a 9 all draw was probably a fair result in a game that neither the Knights or the Chiefs deserved to lose.

For his side’ second visit to the South West in six days, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made only one change from the side that had won away so well at Cornish Pirates the previous Sunday. This change was in the pack at flanker where Simon Grainger replaced Adam Kettle, who had been sent off at Pirates.

The Knights kicked off with the advantage of what locals described as a “20 point’s wind” and they went ahead after only 2 minutes when fly half Jamie Lennard, the league’s leading points scorer, kicked a monster penalty from 57 metres. Six minutes later Lennard extended the Knights lead with a drop goal from 35 metres after their initial attacks through their pack had been thwarted by Exeter’s resolute defence. Exeter’s fly half Tony Yapp had a penalty chance for his own side after 15 minutes but, such was the strength of the wind, that his kick head on from 35 metres did not even reach the posts. Lennard responded by extending his side’s lead after 19 minutes with another penalty, this time from about 35 metres out and 15 metres in from touch. After 23 minutes, whilst defending a rare Exeter incursion into their own 22, Knights flanker Grainger was yellow card for killing the ball at a ruck and his absence for the next 10 minutes seemed to nullify the wind advantage that his side had. However the Knights held out against some concerted Chief’s attacks orchestrated by their scrum half Clive Stuart-Smith. As soon as Grainger returned the Knights responded and Lennard narrowly failed with a difficult penalty from 40 metres across the driving wind.

A 9 points lead going into the second half and playing in to the wind did not seem anywhere like a big enough lead but the Knights had other ideas. For the first 20 minutes of the half as their pack started to get on top, particularly in the scrums where their front row of Michael Cusack, Steve Boden and “man of the match” Tom Davies were outstanding. Exeter had their first chance to score after 22 minutes when Yapp kicked a simple penalty and he reduced his side’s deficit to only 3 points shortly afterwards with his own monster penalty from 60 metres. The Knights defence was superb as they held out against waves of Exeter attacks and they counter attacked well when the opportunity arose. As full time approached Exeter were awarded a penalty at a ruck Yapp’s penalty from 30 metres levelled the scores. Although the remaining minutes were played mainly in the Knights half they counter attacked at every opportunity and they had their travelling supporters on edge as they took the game to the Chiefs. Unfortunately they were unable to penetrate the Exeter defence and, after 7 minutes of injury time, the referee blew up at the end of the game that the purists at least would have enjoyed.

After the game, a disappointed Knights squad heard that their rivals Nottingham had beaten Coventry which meant that Doncaster had slipped to 5th place in the final table. However they can be proud of their achievements over the past two weekends with a return of 7 points out of a possible 10 from their first ever win in Cornwall and the first time they had returned from Exeter with any points at all.

Exeter Chiefs: Lewis; Jess; Rennie (Lewsey 63); Bedford; Mackenzie; Yapp; Stuart-Smith; Moon (Sturgess 71); Nelson; Budgen; Bentley (Stevenson 12; Slade 78); Hayes; Johnson; Baxter; Miller Subs not used: Kingsland; Matavesi: Stupple

Doncaster Knights: Carter; Davies W; Armitage: Tonga’uiha; Wright; Lennard; D’Arcy; Davies T (List 57 – 66); Boden; Cusack (Toke 73); Kenworthy (Smith 73); Griffiths; Grainger; Afu; Cochrane Subs not used: Goss; Hallam: Warnock; McColl

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