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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 14 - Coventry 17
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Your News Doncaster Knights 14 - Coventry 17

“Another bad day at the office” for the Knights where their own errors in retaining possession, poor first up tackling and finishing and erratic decision making contributed to their sixth consecutive Championship defeat against a resilient Coventry side that finished the game camped in the Doncaster half for the last 10 minutes.

For this key match against fellow strugglers Coventry, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made a couple of changes from the side that had given an improved performance against Nottingham the previous week. These were at prop where Stuart Corsar came in for Toma Toke and at fly half where James Brooks returned after injury with Ali Warnock moving to fullback.

The Knights started brightly enough having most of the play for the first 5 minutes until what was to become a weakness throughout the game struck. After attacking into the Coventry half, the ball was recycled to the right around halfway but the ball was lost in contact and the visitors quickly moved the ball to the left where good passing put left wing Romain Planey over wide out for a try that fly half George Crook converted. The Knights hit back after 10 minutes with a penalty by Warnock but they then suffered a set back when Brooks had to go off through injury to be replaced by Steve McColl. Shortly afterwards Coventry extended their lead though another Crook penalty before, at long last, Doncaster showed the type of rugby they are capable of. From a good counterattack from inside their own half, winger Douglas Flockhart and centre Bevon Armitage took the ball into the Coventry half from where it was recycled to the right for a move involving backs and forwards alike. Flanker Adam Kettle received the ball 35 metres out and he made it to within 5 metres of the try line before offloading to the supporting McColl for an unconverted try. Unfortunately this little cameo was all there was as the remainder of the half was littered with errors as both sides showed the lack of confidence that often happens when they are struggling.

Doncaster should have tied the game up in the first 10 minutes of the second half but they failed to take advantage of several try scoring opportunities. The most blatant of these was virtually from the kick off when they attacked down the blindside and they spurned a blatant two man overlap about 5 metres from the Coventry line. In the end all the Knights had to show for this 10 minutes of fairly intensive pressure was two Warnock penalties that took them into a 14 points to 10 lead. Again yet another Knights error gave Coventry the opportunity to take play into the Doncaster 22 and this time it was the visitors turn to pile on the pressure. After several driving mauls had been repulsed, Coventry recycled the ball inches from the Knights line and prop Dai Maddock scooped the ball over the line for a try converted by full back Ben Russell. This score took Coventry back into the lead and, for the last quarter, they pinned the Knights down inside their own 22. With the game deep into injury time the Knights were awarded a penalty 40 metres out. With no time for a line out, the Knights elected to kick for goal but, unfortunately for them, Warnock’s kick lacked both distance and direction condemning Doncaster to a single bonus point from a game which they could have won.

Although struggling badly with injuries and not always seeing “eye to eye” with referees, the Knights have to concentrate on reducing their basic error count. One feels that they are only one victory away from turning their season around but they will only do this by hard work and concentrating on the basics of retaining possession, tackling, decision making and finishing, things that they cannot blame of their high level of injuries and refereeing calls that have gone against them.

Doncaster Knights: Warnock, Briers, Armitage, Tonga’uiha, Flockhart, Brooks (McColl 17), D’Arcy (Hallam 65), Corsar (Thiede 82), Boden, Cusack (Toke 61), Townson, Griffiths, Kettle, Boyde (Smith 65), Grainger Subs not used: Lawrie and Davey

Coventry: Russell, Hurrell, Mackenzie (Locke 69), Apikotoa, Planey, Crook (Lewis HT), Jones (Walls 69), Maddock, Merriman, Hall (Roberts 54), Herrington, Dechartes (Brenton 63), Miller. Pons, Carpenter (Bignell 54) Sub not used: Prosser

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