Cornish Pirates 30 Doncaster Knights 31: Stunning comeback seals Knights place in B&I Cup quarter-finals

Dougie Flockhart
Dougie Flockhart

Doncaster Knights booked their place in the last eight of the B&I Cup after producing a stunning comeback to sink bogey team Cornish Pirates at Mennaye Field.

With the whistle poised to blow, club skipper Matt Challinor touched down from close range and wing Dougie Flockhart held his nerve to kick the resulting conversion to give the visitors an unlikely 31-30 Pool 4 victory.

Knights looked badly wounded and the battle seemingly lost when they trailed the in-form home side 30-10 going into the last quarter.

With Pirates having enjoyed the better of the exchanges for long periods of what was a must-win game for them in terms of topping the group, Knights were facing the prospect of not only their first competition defeat but also going home empty handed.

Had the margin of defeat remained more than seven points, Pirates would have closed the gap on Knights to just two points with one game remaining.

Pirates must still be wondering how they missed out on avenging a 29-25 defeat at Castle Park in October more than 36 hours later.

They led 20-10 at the break and when they bagged a bonus point fourth try within seven minutes of the restart they had the wind in their sails and looked to be on course to plunder the spoils.

But Knights know what it is like to make the long journey back to South Yorkshire empty handed and were always going to fight to the end.

It was Flockhart, who had helped create the position for a first half try by centre George Catchpole, as well as kicking two goals, who inspired Knights’ rally.

He touched down for a try he also converted after Knights had sucked in Pirates – who had wing Craig Holland in the sin-bin at the time - and then moved the ball wide.

Pirates went close again before Flockhart pulled off an interception near his own line and ran the ball out before setting up a try for full-back Paul Jarvis.

The resulting conversion left Knights just six points adrift, though they rode their luck when Lawrence May pulled wide a late kickable penalty, which realistically would have put paid to their hopes of salvaging a result.

Knights would probably have settled for a point at that stage, but in the final analysis their never-say-die attitude earned them a bonus point win which boosted their hopes of home tie in the quarter-final.