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Home > News > Doncaster blow Nottingham away
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Your News Doncaster blow Nottingham away

A spirited and totally committed performance by the Knights blew away Nottingham and took the Championship Play Offs semi-final spots down to the wire in two weeks time when Doncaster entertain London Welsh in the final game. A bonus point win will secure the spot for the Knights – anything less and London Welsh will fill it – unless Nottingham defy all the odds and gain a bonus point win at Exeter. Such are the permutations that are still available.

For this crucial game, Doncaster Knights Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made five changes from the side that got well beaten at Exeter Chiefs the previous weekend. In the backs, Anthony Carter replaced Steve Mccoll at full back, fit again Dougie Flockhart was recalled on the wing and James Brooks came in at fly half in place of Alistair Warnock. In the pack, the only changes saw Steve Boden came in for the injured Steve Lawrie at hooker and skipper recalled in place of Bryn Griffiths at lock.

Although Nottingham started the brighter, it was the Knights who opened the scoring after 8 minutes when winger Andy Wright latched onto a sloppy pass just outside his 22 before racing 75 yards to score a try that Brooks converted. Both sides tried to stretch each other’s defence but both sides tackling held firm in what was quickly becoming a very exciting match. In particular Nottingham looked very powerful every time they got their driving maul working. With 23 minutes gone, and playing a penalty advantage, Nottingham threw wave after wave at the Knights defence before fly half Greg Tonks ghosted through a gap for his sides opening try that full back David Jackson converted. After 36 minutes Knights prop Ngalu Tau was sin binned for a technical offence and Nottingham tried to pile the pressure on. However, as the game went into injury time, Doncaster forced an error and gained a lineout 5 metres from the Nottingham line. After several drives were stopped just short, the ball was moved to the left and centre Bevon Armitage crashed through a Nottingham forward to dive over in the corner to make the half time score 12 points to 7 to the Knights.

Ta’u rejoined the fray early in the second half but, shortly afterwards, the Knights lost fly half James Brooks to a yellow card after 14 minutes and they were back down to 14 men again. Almost immediately however Doncaster increased their lead with two penalties by winger Dougie Flockhart standing in for Brooks as kicker. Now it was Nottingham’s turn to upset the referee and this time it was replacement prop Peter Cook’s turn to go to the sin bin for a technical offence. Although the ball was being moved from side to side by both teams, defences still held firm but it was exciting rugby for both sets of supporters. With 10 minutes left, Nottingham failed gather a kick ahead by Flockhart just on their 10 metre line and the bouncing ball was picked up by Boden and moved quickly to lock Glen Townson who fed back row Neil Cochrane. Cochrane made ground into the heart of the Nottingham defence before passing to Armitage who gave the scoring pass to Wright who cut back inside to score between the posts. Brooks’ conversion put the Knights 18 points ahead with 9 minutes left. With 6 minutes left a Knights clearing kick was gathered by Nottingham full back Savage and, three passes and one poor attempted tackle later, centre Tim Streather was over under the posts for a try that Savage himself converted for the final score of the game.

Knights must now turn their attention to next Sunday when they travel to Cornwall to play the Cornish Pirates in the semi-final of the British and Irish Cup with the winner hosting the final on May 16th. The Knights will be looking to continue their good form of today against a Pirates side that who are now all but out of the Championship playoffs.

Nottingham: Jackson, Savage, Casson, Streather, Blake, Tonks, White, Parr (Cook 47), Youngs (Sammons 58), French Buxton 74), Rouse, Green, Hammond, Slater, Sherriff Replacements not used: Hayter, Marshall, Eggleshaw, Raven

Doncaster Knights: Carter, Wright, Briers, Armitage, Flockhart, Brooks, Griffiths N, Toke (Thiede 29), Boden, Ta’u (Toke 52), Kenworthy (Griffiths B 69), Townson (Smith 84), Boyde, Cochrane, Grainger Replacements not used: McColl, Warnock, Hallam, Doughty

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