Doncaster Knights 54 Cross Keys 0: Eight-try Knights turn on style to win B&I Cup group

Doncaster Knights v Cross Keys
Doncaster Knights v Cross Keys

Doncaster Knights put Cross Keys to the sword as they ended their B & I Cup Pool 4 campaign in style at Castle Park.

They ran in eight tries, many of them eye-catching affairs, as they cemented top spot in the group, and a home tie in the quarter-finals next month, with a 54-0 win over the Welsh Principality Premiership side.

Keys’ cause wasn’t helped by the fact that they had two forwards in the sin bin at the same time during the second quarter, but they proved no match for Knights for most of the game even when at full-strength.

Even allowing for the fact that the visitors had nothing to play for and possibly had an eye on this weekend’s visit to league leaders Pontypridd, this was an impressive display by Knights.

Admittedly they made handling mistakes at times as a direct result of trying to play too much rugby. But their eagerness to entertain the crowd should be applauded, not criticised.

Centre Andy Bulumakau made a welcome return to the side after missing the last five games with an ankle injury, scoring a try and having a hand in another.

He was a constant threat with his pace and strong running and formed part of an impressive-looking three-quarter line.

Full-back Paul Jarvis, who opened the scoring on eight minutes, also showed up well until suffering a knock and being replaced at half-time.

His departure meant that fly-half Piers Francis, who celebrated his home starting debut with a second half try, had to switch to centre after the break.

But the wholesale positional changes to the back division didn’t knock Knights out of their stride.

In addition to Bulumakau, Dougie Flockhart, who also kicked seven conversions, touched down after some sparkling handling down the left and Tyson Lewis scorched in for a brace - much to the delight of the home fans.

Flanker Latu Makaafi celebrated his return to the starting line-up after several weeks on the bench with a first-half try from a forward drive, with club captain Matt Challinor making it two in as many games when claiming the first of Knights’ five second half tries.

But it wasn’t all about tries on the day: Knights were equally as impressive in defence.

Even with the result long having been a foregone conclusion, Knights defended their line as though it was still in the balance as Keys pressed for a late consolation try.

Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Bulumakau, Armitage, Lewis, Francis, Palu, List, Veikoso, John, Challinor,Phelan, Makaafi, Hills, Shaw. Replacements: Brugnara, Bergmanas, Ross Davies, Hotson, Eggleshaw, Roberts, Field.

Referee: Stuart Graffikin.

Attendance: 1,421.