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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 41 - Sedgley Park 12
Your News Doncaster Knights 41 - Sedgley Park 12

For their National Division One game at home to struggling Sedgley Park, Doncasters Director of Rugby Lynn Howells initially made four changes from the side that had started the previous weeks match against Northampton Saints. These were Wez Davies at full back in place of Anthony Carter; Donavan Van Vuuren on the wing in place of player-coach Justin Bishop; Tom Davies at prop in place of Richard List and Ollie Cook at flanker for the injured James Jones. However, during the course of the warm-up, centre Spencer Davey pulled his hamstring which meant a recall for Bishop with Tom Luke coming in on the bench.

The ground conditions were absolutely perfect for the match which lead to a number of comments about the Doncaster Rovers game in the nearby 15mn Keepmote Stadium being called off due to the ground being too hard. After an initial scare from the kick-off, the Knights soon secured a line out 5 metres from the visitors line and, from the resultant driving maul, big flanker Bryn Griffiths crashed over for a try that was converted by flyhalf Mark Woodrow. Sedgley Park were now into full defensive mode as they strung defenders across the field and their tactics worked for the next 20 minutes as the Knights struggled to breakdown the resolute Manchester side. With 20 minutes gone Knights giant USA international lock Luke Gross left the field with a calf strain and he was replaced by Tongan World Cup star Lisiate Faaoso. Shortly afterwards Woodrow kicked a penalty for the Knights from 25 metre when the visitors were penalised for playing the ball after a tackle. With the Knights failing to play their phases, Sedgley Park held out against wave after wave of Doncaster attacks and it looked as if they were going to hold out until half-time. However well into injury time former Knights lock Ed Norris, now with Sedgley, was penalised for deliberately killing the ball at a ruck 25 metres out from his own posts and he was sent to the sin bin. From the resultant penalty Woodrow kicked the goal that took his side into a 13 points to 0 half-time lead.

Whatever Howells said to his team at halftime obviously worked as they came out firing on all cylinders as they took advantage of their numerical superiority to score three tries in nine minutes. From a lineout on the halfway line, flanker Cook turned up in midfield and made a bullocking 30 metre run through the Sedgley defence and then feeding the ball to Faaoso who brushed aside tacklers before crashing over 15 metres to the left of the posts for a try that Woodrow converted. The kick-off was gathered by Faaoso and the ball was moved across field to Van Vuuren on the left wing, A ruck was formed and the ball then moved across the field to the right where a move featuring giant Tongan prop Ngalu Tau (twice) and Faaoso ended with winger Paul Bailey racing over for a try that Woodrow again converted. With Norris desperate to get back on the field, the Knights cut loose again. The visitors lost control of a wheeled scrum 20 metres from their line and Griffiths picked up the loose ball to race to the try line taking several defenders over with him in the process. This try, Griffiths second, gave the Knights a bonus point and Woodrow his sixth successful kick of the afternoon. At this point both sides were making liberal use of their replacements with Doncasters other Tongan international prop Toma Toke making an immediate impact with a bruising charge from a lineout. The game came slightly loose for a while with Doncaster prop Tom Davies being sin binned for entering a ruck inside his own 22 from the side. It was now the visitors turn to try to make use of their numerical superiority and they did so when, with their best attack of the match, they worked full back Chris Hall into space to score about halfway out to the right. Jones conversion attempt was unsuccessful and this was his sides last scoring chance for a while as the Knights defence closed down any attacking opportunity that they had. Back at full strength, the Knights were awarded a penalty in front of the Sedgley posts and they opted for a scrum. The ball was cleanly won and moved quickly to the left by Dan Storey (on at scrum half for Ben Jones) to fly half Cerith Rees (on for Woodrow) to Tom Luke (on for Bishop) who took two defenders with him as he scored a try that Rees converted. With the game deep into injury time, Sedgley took advantage of some poor Knights tackling, firstly to make inroads into the Doncaster half and then when fullback Hall burst through 40 metres out before feeding the ball to his supporting winger Chris Briers who scored a deserved consolation try. Fly half Phil Jones conversion was the final score as the referee blew time on a match that had been played throughout in a good spirit and on an excellent pitch that was a credit to the Knights ground staff and the investment that had been put into it over the years.

After the match Lynn Howells said that he was pleased with his sides overall performance coming so soon after his sides two bruising encounters with Northampton. Although the first half had not been outstanding he said that praise had to be given to the Sedgley defence who had bravely withstood wave after wave of Doncaster attacks. He said that his side had upped the tempo in the second half and the visitors had then not been able to live with the home side as they showed their full range of attacking abilities.

Doncaster Knights: W Davies; P. Bailey; B Hunt; J Bishop (T Luke 61); D Van Vuuren; M Woodrow (C Rees 66); B Jones (D Storey 66); T Davies; S Boden (B Phillips 50); N Tau (T Toke 53); G Kenworthy; L Gross (L Faaoso 16); B Griffiths; C Planchant; O Cook (sub not used R List)

Sedgley Park: C Hall; J Van Deventer; A Craig (F Payne 69); L Burrell; C Briers; P Jones; C Leck (D White 72); P Gazzola (A Livsey 65); J Roddam (P Keys 58); P Du Plessis (D Birchall 70); E Norris (G Townson 60); J Crous (T Fourie 55); A Newton; J Ponton; J Skurr

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