Doncaster Knights 34 Moseley 11: Knights go second in table

Latu Makaafi scores his 12th try of the season for Knights. Picture Scott Merrylees
Latu Makaafi scores his 12th try of the season for Knights. Picture Scott Merrylees

Doncaster Knights sprung a surprise party for club president and benefactor Tony De Mulder at Castle Park before Saturday’s Championship clash against Moseley.

Around 300 dinner guests, who had all been sworn to secrecy, packed into the clubhouse to celebrate his 25th year in the post.

He later led Knights onto the field where their victory over the improving Birmingham side proved less of a surprise.

Knights’ sixth successive league and cup win, allied to Yorkshire Carnegie’s defeat the previous night, saw them climb into second place just three points adrift of leaders Bristol.

But there was a concern among some home fans at half-time that Moseley would repeat last season’s success in the corresponding fixture and spoil the post-match celebrations.

They had snatched an 8-7 interval lead with an unconverted try by No 8 Chris Brightwell deep into injury-time and the likes of flanker Gregory Charlton had caused them problems at times.

Knights had got off to a bright start and had No 8 Ollie Stedman made use of a two-man overlap following a charge down the left rather than electing to go it alone their early efforts would have been rewarded.

It was left to Moseley fly-half Glyn Hughes to open the scoring with tenth-minute penalty.

Stedman claimed Knights’ first try two minutes later from a catch and drive.

Wing Dougie Flockhart, who kicked well all afternoon, added the extras to make it 7-3.

Rather than developing into a game worthy of two of the best attacking sides in the league – though the conditions didn’t help - the game rather fell away for the rest of the half with defences on top and it proved largely disappointing fayre for the biggest gate of the season at Castle Park.

The fact that Knights had the wind, though it tended to abate, at their backs in the second half, helped keep spirits high in the dressing room during the break.

Even so it needed an intelligent piece of centre play by Mat Clark, which led directly to a 47th minute converted try by wing Tyson Lewis, to help turn the tide.

Both sides exchanged penalties to leave Knights leading by 17-11 going into the final quarter of a dominant second half display.

Scrum-half Michael Heaney broke from a scrum deep inside his own half but failed him to capitalise on Flockhart’s subsequent kick down the touchline.

Fortunately, replacement flanker Latu Makaafi was on hand to claim his 12th try of the season.

Flockhart tagged on the conversion and a 71st minute penalty and also added the extras after full-back Paul Jarvis had finished off good work by replacement scrum-half Sam Edgerley at the death.

Doncaster Knights: Jarvis; Flockhart, Clark, Hurrell, Lewis; Cusack, Heaney; List, Hunter, Quigley, Challinor, Phelan, Shaw, Hills, Stedman. Rep: Bergmanas,Viekoso, John, Young,Makaafi, Bulumakau, Edgerley.

Moseley: Foley; Williams, King, Pinches, Cheshire; Hughes, Brown; Fidler, Caves, Voisey,Flagg, Charlton, Lawrence, Siggery, Brightwell. Rep: Warren, Tolmie, Gardiner, Keenan, Molenaar, Armstrong, Brazier.

Referee: Andrew Jackson (RFU).