Doncaster Knights suffered their first Championship defeat of the season, 15-9 against Yorkshire Carnegie in a grandstand finish at Headingley.
Despite having lost their previous two league games at the ground Knights went into the game as favouritesbut failed to produce the sort of rugby which had brought them wins over Jersey and Rotherham and had to rely on the boot of fly-half Simon Humberstone for their points.
They retained third spot courtesy of the losing bonus point
What had been predicted to be an entertaining game was anything but in a dull first half. Knights came the closest to a first-half try through wing Tyson Lewis.
Humberstone rewarded their territorial pressure – a lot of which was down to scrum-half Michael Heaney’s tactical kicking - converting a brace of penalties to open up a 6-0 lead.
Callum Irvine, in at half-back for his starting debut, missed the chance to peg three points back after Matt Challinor was sin-binned.
But he made no mistake after Humberstone restored Doncaster’s six-point advantage on 45 minutes but Carnegie who called the shots for most of the second half.
Carnegie’s pressure paid off when former Doncaster No 8 Ollie Stedman touched down for an unconverted try.
Will Homer cleverly changed the direction of the attack in the Doncaster 22 to create the chance for lock Jack Wheton to crash over.
Homer added the extras to leave Knights needing a converted try. But handling mistakes continued to crop up until the last five minutes when, they camped in the home 22.
Their hopes of salvaging a late winner received a boost when prop Elliot Millar-Mills was sin-binned deep in stoppage time.
Knights had the chance of a dramatic victory when some neat handling gave big prop Joe Sprotson sight of the line in their left-hand corner.
Sprotson made it to the line despite the efforts of three defenders but the referee and his touch judge eventually decided he hadn’t got the ball down.
So Declan Cusack was spared the nerve-racking task of having to convert from touch to win the game just prior to the final whistle.
Doncaster Knights: Foley, J Bulumakau, A Bulumakau, Owen, Lewis, Humberstone, Heaney; List, Hunter, Quigley, Challoner, Hicks, Shaw Hills, Carpenter. Replacements: Nelson, Bergmanas, Sprotson, Eames, Hill, James, Cusack