Doncaster Knights: Last-gasp Tyson try makes mark against Park

Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths. Picture: Malcolm Billingham

A fiery contest at Castle Park saw Clive Griffiths’ Doncaster Knights leave it late to dispatch Rosslyn Park 24-17 in the top of the table clash.

The visit of Park saw league leaders Knights facing their second-placed counterparts in a mouth-watering fixture.

With neither side giving away too much in the opening minutes, Doncaster went on the ascendancy when Lucas Guillame announced his first start in superb style with a 13th minute try. The on-loan Leicester Tigers man capitalised on good work from Shaun Jones to crash over.

Paul Roberts defied the difficult angle to add the extras as Doncaster raced into a 7-0 lead in the opening exchanges.

Rosslyn Park hit back through a 20th minute Scott Sneddon penalty - just minutes after the number 10 saw an earlier effort crash back off the posts and into the grateful arms of flanker Guillame who went on the counter.

But Rosslyn soon found themselves further behind as Bevon Armitage showed power and pace to intercept a Park pass in their own half before sprinting over the line.

Roberts again made no mistake for a 14-3 lead to the hosts.

Doncaster had to finish the half a man down after number 8 Adam Kettle was sent to the sin-bin for an alleged shoulder off the ball spotted by the touch judge.

Despite the numerical disadvantage, Roberts could have extended the lead for the home side, however, his attempt to place the ball between the posts from a penalty around 40 metres out just fell short as Doncaster went into the break 14-3 up.

Park were quick off the mark after the break as Harry Broadbent raced over to finish off a strong Rosslyn move and reduce the deficit. Sneddon had the simple task of putting the ball through the posts from a great position to make it 14-10 early on.

Kettle re-entered the fray following his yellow card as Doncaster attempted to work the ball into Rosslyn’s half and apply the pressure once more.

Roberts sent a penalty wide of the left-hand post in the 54th minute as Knights continued the match just four points up and everything to play for during a tense encounter in Armthorpe.

Some incidents of ill-discipline from the hosts in the first half were emulated by Park during the second period as Roberts was gifted another chance to convert a penalty. However, the Knights man failed in his kick, firing wide of the mark as Rosslyn escaped.

Rosslyn took the lead for the first time in the game in the 62nd minute when Peter Hodgkinson pounced on a cross-field ball down the right to dive over. Sneddon converted for 17-14 to the visitors in the table-topping crunch match of National One.

Doncaster had the chance to level the tie with a penalty and set-up a nervy finish. Kicking duties went to replacement Jamie Lennard and his experienced boot made no mistake for 17-17 with little more than 10 minutes to spare.

Lennard missed a late penalty in the 78th minute to mark 12 points dashed by the hosts throughout the match.

But they saved their best moment until last as Tyson Lewis touched down on the left flank following superb work from Mat Clark who worked the space. Lennard converted for 24-17 as stoppage time ensued.

Despite a nerve-wracking few final minutes, Doncaster defended well and did enough to clinch victory on home soil.