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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 10 - Cornish Pirates 21
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Your News Doncaster Knights 10 - Cornish Pirates 21

After ill-discipline and simple errors lost Doncaster the game at Exeter last week, exactly the same thing happen again at Castle Park on Friday night as a committed Cornish Pirates side gratefully accepted the points offered to them by a Knights team that seems totally out of sorts with itself. Admittedly injuries to key forwards Glen Kenworthy, Dan Smith and Tom Davies in the first 60 minutes did not help their cause but by then the Knights were on the back foot and could have lost by even more if Pirates had not missed five other kickable penalty attempts.

After their defeat at Exeter, Director of Rugby Lynn Howells gave a first start to fit again former Pirates scrum half Nicky Griffiths whilst Andy Boyde was preferred to Adam Kettle at flanker. Otherwise he gave the other players the opportunity to redeem themselves against unbeaten Pirates who had former Knights players Ben Jones and Wes Davies in their ranks.

The Knights were under pressure from the off and, after an early penalty miss, Pirates centre Rhys Jones was on target with two successful kicks within the first 10 minute after Doncaster were twice penalised for offences at the breakdown. With lock Glen Kenworthy struggling with a knee injury and No 8 Dan Smith suffering from a heavy knock, the Knights cause was not helped by falling foul of the referee at two scrums as well as losing several of their own lineouts. With all these setbacks the Knights were finding it difficult to get any continuity and when they did win the ball they seemed reluctant to use it. With Jones missing two more penalty attempts to the Knights one, the game meandered towards half time and, as the game went into injury time, the Knights eventually got on the scoreboard with a simple penalty from 23 metres out by James Brooks when the Pirates were punished for not binding at a scrum. However, from the kick off the Knights again made a mess of fielding a high kick and they were penalised for offside which Jones punished to put his side into a 9 points to 3 halftime lead.

Kenworthy and Smith did not return for the restart and they were replaced by Bryn Griffiths and Adam Kettle respectively. With 2 minutes the Knights were down to 14 men as Boyde was yellow carded for entering a ruck on his own line from an offside position and Doncaster were under even more pressure. After defending one driving lineout on their own goal line, they were again penalised and this time lock Luke Collins was awarded a try following intervention by the touch judge after the referee had originally signalled held up. This time Jones was on the mark with his kick to put his side 13 points clear. This reverse at last stung the Knights into action and, although a man short, they managed to spend some time in the Pirates half. They were awarded a scrum 8 metres from the Pirates line and their seven man pack drove the opposition over for a pushover try which was credited to Kettle who had done excellent work in controlling the ball. Brooks conversion was spot on and, with Boyde returning to the fray, it was game on. For the last quarter the game was hard fought, mainly in midfield, with Jones missing with two more penalty attempts and Knights prop Tom Davies leaving the field with a knee injury. With the game approaching injury time and the Knights desperately seeking a winning try, two simple mistakes – the first yet again under a high ball and the second at the back of their own scrum shortly afterwards – allowed Pirates to put Doncaster back under pressure. From the last play of the game, Pirates No 8 Blair Cowan crashed over for a try from a 5 metre scrum in the 85th minute which probably gave the score a better reflection as to how the game had gone.

When the Knights return to Castle Park on Tuesday they will need to reflect on their performance and to cut out all the needless penalties and simple mistakes that has besmirched their game in the first three Championship games. Although suffering from injuries to key players, this is basically the same squad that perfomed so well for most of last season and it is difficult to see why the game plan that was so successful for them then is not being allowed to work now. Although their defence for the most part is still sound, there seems a lack of confidence that is preventing them from playing with the style that they did last year

Doncaster Knights: Davies R, Wright, Armitage, Tonga’uiha, Flockhart, Brooks, Griffiths N (D’Arcy 78), Corsar (Toke 50), Boden (Lawrie 71), Davies T (Corsar 60), Kenworthy (Griffiths B 40), Townson, Boyde, Smith (Kettle 40), Grainger Subs not used: Warnock, Briers

Cornish Pirates: Davies W, Havili (Bright 63), Ireland, Jones R, Moore, Bentley, Jones B (Cook 64), Rimmer (Brits 60), Ward (Elloway 63), Paver, Collins, McGlone, Morgan (Holmes 69), Cowan, Betty Subs not used: Andrew, Winn

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