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Home > News > Doncaster Knights 36 - Birmingham & Solihull 7
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Your News Doncaster Knights 36 - Birmingham & Solihull 7

A comfortable win for the Knights, coupled with losses for the teams immediately above them, saw them leapfrog into 8th place and into the promotion playoff places for the first time this season. Although the visitors showed some initiative in their backs, their pack was totally outclassed by the powerful Knights 8, particularly in the set scrums where they conceded two penalty tries.

For the game against basement club Birmingham & Solihull, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howell made four changes from the side that had played so well to win at London Welsh the previous weekend. In the backs Chris Briers came in for Bevon Armitage who was carrying a slight injury, at centre whilst, in the pack, hooker rotation continued with Steve Lawrie swapping with Steve Boden. In addition knee injury victims Chris Planchant and Tom Davies, having proved their recovery with cameo performances at London Welsh off the bench, replaced Andy Boyde and Stuart Corsar respectively. Another encouraging sign was the appearance of skipper and lock Glen Kenworthy and flanker Neil Cochrane on the replacement’s bench after their knee injuries.

Although well on top for the first 20 minutes Doncaster were unable to get on the score sheet and it took a punch from former Knights player Russell Earnshaw on lock Glen Townson to really spur them into action. The Knights won a quick lineout just inside the visitor’s 22 and Tongan international centre Hudson Tonga’uiha burst between two defenders before crashing through a third to score close to the posts to give fly half Ali Warnock an easy conversion. Warnock quickly followed this up with a penalty when Birmingham were penalised at a scrum. As the game went into first half injury time, the Knights pack decimated their opposition, weakened by the absence in the sin bin of their lock Stuart Ault for stamping, and they conceded a penalty try which Warnock converted.

From the restart the Knights attacked and some sparkling running by scrum half Chris Hallam was finished off by centre Chris Briers who scored a try that Warnock converted. For a 20 period after this score, the Knights went into “sloppy mode” and they allowed Birmingham to score a good flanker’s support try by Chris Brightwell which was converted by Simon Hunt. Birmingham then had their best period of the game as they attacked the Knight’s line and, in thwarting one drive on his try line, Tonga’uiha was yellow carded for killing the ball illegally. Some superb defence by the Knights kept the visitors at bay however and, when the ball was turned over, they counter attacked from behind their own goal line. Full back Steve McColl put a long pass out to right wing Doug Flockhart who raced 50 metres and, as he reached the halfway line and chipped ahead, he was callously tripped by the visitor’s replacement lock Matt Cox who, in everybody’s opinion bar the referees, should have been given a red card rather than the yellow one he was given. As the visitors visibly tired the Knights got back on top and they finished the game in style, firstly through a second penalty try from a scrum by their dominant pack and finally by winger Doug Flockhart from a good cross field kick by Warnock who converted both tries.

Looking back Doncaster will feel pleased with their performance but know that they will have to play a lot better when they visit Rotherham Titans this coming weekend. Pluses for the Knights were their scrummaging, which now has to up with the best in the Championship, and the electric pace of winger Matt Williams who put fear into the visitors every time he received the ball. For Birmingham their troubles continue and they were very lucky that two of their players, Russell Earnshaw and Matt Cox, were not shown red cards by a lenient referee. .

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Briers, Tonga’uiha (Armitage 77), Williams, Warnock, Hallam (D’Arcy 76), Davies (Corsar 53), Lawrie (Boden 53), Ta’u (Cusack HT), Griffiths, Townson (Kenworthy 62), Kettle (Cochrane 70), Planchant, Grainger

Birmingham & Solihull: Penn (Martin W 70), Hunt, McLean (Tomlinson 78), Lawson (Bingham 66), Culpin, Petty, Williams (Brown 66), Long, Preece (Gardner 35), Dowding, Davidson, Ault (Cox 47), Brightwell, Halavatau, Earnshaw Sub not used: Martin E

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