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Home > News > Doncaster win first game in British and Irish Cup
Your News Doncaster win first game in British and Irish Cup


Doncaster Knights enjoyed a comfortable 32 points to 7 win over Scottish champions Ayr in their first appearance in the inaugural British & Irish league cup. Although Ayr never gave up, the Knights always looked in control and should really have scored more than the four tries that secured them their bonus point.

For this match, Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made eight changes to the side that had lost the previous weekend. In the backs Club skipper Anthony Carter had his first start of the season at fullback after sustaining a serious neck injury during the summer; Chris Briers came in for Bevon Armitage at centre and Irishman Matt DArcy was given a run at scrum half in place of Chris Hallam. In the pack Howells continued his front row rotation with Tom Davies, Steve Lawrie and Michael Cusack all starting this time out; Glen Townson came in at lock in place of the injured Glen Kenworthy whilst, in the back row, early season regular Andy Boyde was selected at blindside flanker and Neil Cochrane, now recovered from a pre-season knee injury, made his first start of the season at openside flanker. A very strong side which showed the importance the Knights placed on this new cup venture.

The Knights put Ayr under pressure from the start and they went ahead after only 5 minutes. They were awarded a scrum 5 metres out and, after No 8 Chris Planchant was pulled down just short, centre Hudson Tongauiha joined in the maul and drove over for the games opening try. Doncaster continued to dominate proceedings but could not put the finishing touches to all the possession they were gaining through their powerful pack. After 20 minutes they were awarded another 5 metre scrum and, after the initial drive had been just held by Ayr, Planchant burst off the back to score a try which fly half Ali Warnock converted. Although they continued to enjoy the lions share of the territory and possession, the Knights were unable to breakdown the Ayr defence and they only went into half time with a 12 points to 0 lead.

The third quarter of the game was similar to the first half with the Knights being on top but unable to score apart from two penalties by Warnock as Ayr were penalised in attempting to stop the Knights adding to their try tally. On the occasions that Ayr did attacked they were thwarted by the resolute Doncaster defence. With 60 minutes gone, a loose Ayr kick was gathered under pressure by Carter and, from the ensuing ruck just outside the Knights 22, the ball was moved quickly to the left where Tongauiha made a 50 metre break before chipping ahead to enable Doncasters exciting new flying winger Matty Williams to gather cleanly without breaking stride to score between the posts to give Warnock a simple conversion. After this score the Knights relaxed a little and allowed Ayr to get back into the game. They put pressure on the Knights line and, after a series of drives had been stopped, Ayr replacement prop Steve Adair crashed over between the posts for a try that was converted by centre Mark Stewart. This reverse stung the Knights back into action and they again started to pile the pressure on Ayr. With 6 minutes left, Ayr tried to run the ball out of defence having turned over Doncaster possession but a careless inside pass bounced of a supporting player and into Warnocks hands who raced unopposed to the posts from 40 metres out. Warnocks conversion was a formality and the Knights ended the game well on top.

Looking back on the game, Knights will have the satisfaction of a bonus point win in their first appearance in the B&I Cup but they know that they will have to improve significantly on their finishing in the remaining pool games that lie ahead for them, starting with an away game in South Wales at Pontypridd this coming Friday evening.

Doncaster Knights: Carter, Flockhart (McColl HT), Briers, Tongauiha, Williams, Warnock, DArcy (Hallam 75), Davies (Corsar 56), Lawrie (Boden 72), Cusack (Thiede 75), Townson , Griffiths, Boyde (Kettle 56), Planchant, Cochrane (Griffiths)

Ayr: Steele, Wilson (Manning HT), Stewart, Anderson, Taylor, Curle, Hunter (MacFarlane 55), Mitchell (Fenwick 55), McArthur (Adair 75), Sykes (Reid HT), Sutherland, Kelly (Nimmo 75), Crossan, Tippet (Francis 55), Dunlop

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