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Home > News > Coventry 7 - Doncaster Knights 27
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Your News Coventry 7 - Doncaster Knights 27

An improved performance by Doncaster Knights gave them a well deserved victory away at Coventry in a match that was vital for their hopes of securing a position in the end of season Championship promotion play-offs. In spite of the very cold weather the Knights backs looked much sharper than their opposite numbers and, between them, scored all three of their sides tries.

After their last second win against Rotherham Titans last Sunday, the Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made eight changes to his starting line up, three in the backs and five in the pack. In the backs, Sunday’s try scoring replacement Steve McColl started at full back in place of Anthony Carter, fit again Andy Wright came in for Chris Briers on the right wing and James Brooks recovered sufficiently from illness to replace Ali Warnock at fly half. In the pack, Stuart Corsar replaced the injured Tom Davies at prop, Steve Lawrie came in for Steve Boden at hooker as well as taking over the captain’s mantle, Bryn Griffiths took over from Glen Kenworthy at lock, and Christian Bundy and Simon Grainger were selected in the back row in place of Andy Boyde and Neil Cochrane respectively.

Doncaster went ahead after only 2 minutes with a 45 metre penalty goal by McColl followed, 8 minutes later, by a similar score, but from closer in, by Brooks. Coventry hit back and, after the Knights were penalised 5 yards from their line, scrum half Ollie Frost took a quick tap and just managed to avoid the Knights defence to score a try that was converted by Ben Russell. The rest of the half belonged to Doncaster as they kept the ball in hand and played some attractive rugby. Within the next 10 minutes they were unlucky not to score two tries through winger Doug Flockhart, who unluckily knocked on 10 metres out, and flanker Adam Kettle, who was forced into touch 2 metres short. After 22 minutes, the Knights won a lineout 22 metres out and big Tongan prop Ngalu Ta’u took the ball on the burst. The ball was fed back to Lawrie by Brooks and the hooker’s inside pass put centre Bevon Armitage over for his side’s opening try. Brooks’ conversion put his side into a 6 point lead. The Knights were now well on top and they attacked consistently. With halftime approaching, Doncaster won another lineout and Lawrie, Bryn Griffiths and Kettle linked up to put Tongan international centre Hudson Tonga’uiha over for a try that McColl converted for the final score of the half.

Coventry put the Knights under pressure from the restart and, from an attack inside the Doncaster 22, scrum half Chris Hallam was yellow carded for slowing play down. For the next ten minutes the Knights depleted defence was outstanding as they kept Coventry out of their 22. Coventry were now starting to play with a little confidence and they took the game to the Knights who rose to the task and defended resolutely. The Knights weathered the storm and started to attack themselves. Play went from end to end as both sides were desperate to score but, unfortunately for both sides supporters, they made mistakes with their over eagerness. With just under 10 minutes left and Coventry under a spell of sustained Doncaster pressure, the home fly half put in a poor clearance kick. The ball was caught by Knights winger Doug Flockhart who made ground into the heart of the Coventry defence before linking up with fellow winger Wright who crashed through a tackle to score between the posts for a try that Brooks converted to give his side a deserved 27 points to 7 win.

After the game, Rugby Times chief reporter Neal Harvey, who was present, said that he thought that the Knights showed real character. He said that we might not have fancied the conditions and a short three day turnaround from the Rotherham game but what he saw was a team that dug in, tried to play some rugby and fought for the shirt when they might have caved in during Coventry’s second half pressure. He said that whilst it was not perfect by any means, what he saw a team that played with immense heart and has the potential to still do some damage in the league.

Coventry: Apikotoa, Frewin (Johnson 58), Mackenzie, Lewis, Plantey, Russell, Frost (Walls 68), Dugard (Maddock 49), McMillan (Dwyer 74), Hall (Roberts 69), Brenton (McGowan 78), Herrington, Carpenter (Pons 40), Shaw, Bignell

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Wright, Armitage, Tonga’uiha, Flockhart, Brooks, Hallam (Griffiths 67), Ta’u (Cusack 40), Lawrie (Boden 69), Corsair, Townson, Kenworthy, Kettle, Bundy (Cochrane 69), Grainger Replacement not used: Kenworthy, Warnock, Carter

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