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Home > News > Worcester Warriors 30 - Doncaster Knights 28
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Your News Worcester Warriors 30 - Doncaster Knights 28

Absolutely gutted – there is no other way to describe the mood in the Knights camp after they were denied victory away at Sixways against unbeaten Championship highfliers Worcester Warriors by a penalty in the 8th minute of injury time following a remarkable comeback by the Doncaster side.

Doncaster’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells made four changes from the side that narrowly lost to Bedford Blues last week for the Knights’ visit to Worcester. In the backs, the only change saw Oli Goss returned on the wing after missing out recently with concussion. However, in the pack, injuries to locks Glen Kenworthy and James Craig meant starts for Matt Challinor, himself back after injury, and 6ft 8in youngster Dom Parsons. A further change saw Chris Walker, last season’s England U18 captain who is dual registered with Leeds, making his first Championship start in place of Andy Boyde at flanker. Peter Jericevich, a short term signing from Glasgow Hawks, started on the bench as scrum half.

Worcester put the Knights under extreme pressure from the outset and, with centres Samoan international Dale Rasmussen and Alex Crockett making inroads into their defence, things looked ominous for the visitors. After 7 minutes, Crockett put winger Miles Benjamin over for a try that was converted by English fly half Andy Goode who followed this with a penalty 5 minutes later. Then good interplay by Worcester saw Irish flanker Neil Best cross unopposed near the posts for a try that Goode again converted. With Knights No 8 Ed Jackson forced to leave the field at this point with a head injury to be replaced by Andy Boyde and conceding 17 points in 17 minutes, things did not look good for the Knights. However the young Doncaster side held their nerve as they came to terms with the intensity of the game and, with their scrum more than getting to grips with their more illustrious opposition, they started to get back more into the match. In the 30th minute, the Knights launched a series of attacks and, when Worcester were penalised 5 metres out, flanker Neil Cochrane took a quick penalty to crash over for a try near the posts that was converted by fly half Tristan Roberts for the final score of the half.

Although turning around 17 points to 7 down, the Knights started the half with renewed confidence and, after 7 minutes, they reduced the deficit when Boyde was driven over from close in for his side’s second try that was converted by Roberts. This stung Worcester back into action and full back Willie Walker scored an excellent try that had started back inside his own 22. Back came the Knights and they were rewarded with a penalty, kicked by Roberts, conceded by Crockett which earned him a yellow card. Another successful penalty by Roberts followed almost immediately and, with the Knights now only 2 points behind, the Worcester fans were sensing an upset. With 10 minutes remaining, the Knights turned over Warriors possession just inside their own half and 15 metres in from touch and the ball was passed by Boyde to the flying Matt Williams who raced 40 metres down the touchline before scoring with a spectacular dive in the corner to put his side 3 points ahead. Again Worcester came back and, just when it looked as if the Knights had weathered the storm, they gained a lineout 5 metres out and flanker Jake Abbot was driven over for his side’s fourth and bonus point try. Now it was the Knights turn to attack and, with the game now entering injury time, Worcester were penalised in their desperation to keep the Knights at bay and Roberts’ s successful strike put the Knights back in front by a single point. The Knights regained possession and tried to count the clock down by retaining possession with a series of forward drives. Just as it looked as if this tactic was going to be successful, unfortunately for them they lost possession midfield and, Worcester managed to gain a lineout on the Knights’ 22. Quick ball off the top was taken into the heart of the Knights’ defence by Goode and, after one attack had been stopped, Worcester were awarded a contentious penalty right in front of their posts which Goode goaled and the final whistle went after 8 minutes of injury time.

After the game, Howells was fulsome in his praise for his young team against a side that still contained the bulk of the players who had played in the Premiership last season. He said that whilst he had concerns about some of the first time tackling in the early stages of the game, he could not fault the way his side had forced their way back into the match scoring 28 points to 13 in the final 60 minutes. He concluded by saying that, as each game went by, the youngsters in his side, like 18 year old flanker Chris Walker and 21 year old lock Dom Parsons both making their Championship debuts, could only learn from the experience of playing sides like the Warriors and he saw this as standing the club in good stead as their demanding season evolved.

Worcester Warriors: Walker, Garvey, Crockett, Rasmussen, Benjamin, Goode, Arr (Williams 59), Black, Fortey (Shervington 56), Taumoepeau (Douglas 56), Rawlinson (Bowley 56), Kitchener, Best, Horstmann, Abbott Replacements not used: Collins, Carlisle, Short

Doncaster Knights: McColl, Goss, Briers, Gidlow, Williams, Roberts, Hallam, Frazier (Thiede 56), Boden, Cusack, Challinor, Parsons, Cochrane, Jackson (Boyde 16), Walker Replacements not used: Flockhart, Jericevich, Farivarz, Doughty, Cahill

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