Match report: Nottingham 7 Doncaster Knights 29
Doncaster Knights completed their second Championship double of the season when beating Nottingham 29-7 at Lady Bay last night.
Knights’ bonus point win not only cemented their grip on third spot but effectively killed off any outside hopes of a play-off spot the Green and Whites may have entertained.
Knights made the early running with centre Andy Bulumakau, who had the difficult job of covering for the injured Matt Clark, wasting no time in making his presence felt.
Hooker Ben Hunter went close after three minutes but although the subsequent attack broke down the visiting fans didn’t have to wait long to cheer a try.
Recent signing Aaron Carpenter helped set up the move which led to full-back Paul Jarvis touching down for an unconverted try after some good handling from a fifth-minute lineout.
The Green and Whites, who had dropped to eighth after a run of defeats, came more into the game and fly-half Gearoid Lyons had the chance to open their account with a 13th minute penalty.
Knights returned to the attack, after a patient build-up, where prop Colin Quigley helped set up a try for wing Dougie Flockhart, which the Scot converted, to make it 12-0 towards the end of the first quarter.
Knights mounted another attack only for the move to fizzle out in the Notts 22. It was then their turn to defend after Notts second rower Ben Morrris latched on to a wayward pass.
Knights rode their luck prior fit-again fly-half Simon Humberstone, given the nod over regular No 10 Declan Cusack, going over for a third try following good work by Bulumakau in the build-up. Flockhart again added the extras to make it 19-0.
A lapse of concentration at a ruck would have gifted the home side a badly-needed score on 37 minutes but for more last ditch defending.
The home side were not to be denied, however, and prop Ben Hooper crashed over from a ruck for a converted try soon after.
But for Hunter holding Morris up over the line, after good work by wing Joe Cobden, the home side would have made further inroads into Doncaster’s 19-7 lead on the stroke of half-time.
The break came at a good time for the Castle Park club as it checked Nottingham’s momentum.
Knights edged the opening exchanges after the restart, with No 8 Carpenter showing up well on his starting debut, and their efforts were rewarded on 55 minutes when skipper Michael Hills scored their bonus point try following a number of pick and go carries.
The home side needed a quick response if they were to entertain any hopes of salvaging something from the game and but for a better pass, Codben may have obliged.
A long ball by Humberstone in his own 22 set the pacy Jarvis free in a move which ended with wing Tyson Lewis being tackled just short.
Former Notts back-rower Alex Shaw came off the bench for his first outing since dislocating his shoulder over three months ago, along with hooker Harry Allen.
The ex-London Welsh man made an immediate impact from a lineout in the move which led to a second try for Hills after play had been switched to the blind side.
Both centre Lloyd Hayes and Lewis went close to bagging a sixth try at the death from kicks.
Nottingham: Williams, Hall, Thacker, Hakalo, Cobden, Lyons, Veenendaal; Matthews, Harris, Hooper, Morris, Eames, Langley, Coghlan, Buckley. Rep: Stevens, Morley, Heard, Holmes, Everard, McConnell, Eden.
Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Bulumakau, Hayes, Lewis, Humberstone, Heaney; List, Hunter, Quigley, Challinor, Young, Ram, Hills, Carpenter. Rep: Bergmanas, Allen, Sprotson, Maksymiw, Shaw, Edgerley,Cusack