Bedford 35 Doncaster 29: Knights fall to seventh loss in row despite early dominance

FRUSTRATED: Doncaster Knights' head coach Clive Griffiths, left.
FRUSTRATED: Doncaster Knights' head coach Clive Griffiths, left.
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Doncaster Knights threw away a 23-9 half-time lead to lose in the dying seconds at Bedford Blues.

Clive Griffiths’s charges had raced into an impressive 14-point lead thanks to two tries from Latu Makaafi just before the interval.

Winger Dougie Flockhart added three penalties, matched by the Blues’ James Pritchard but a second-half rally from the home side saw Knights slump to a seventh straight Championship defeat.

Bedford’s Goldington Road playing surface is famed for a notorious slope and it was certainly no great surprise to see both sides enjoy the better of the game while playing downhill.

Despite this, the Knights actually increased their score playing uphill early in the second period as Flockhart slotted his fourth penalty.

From then on, the game firmly belonged to the hosts, a barrage of attacks fell on the Knights and after quickly spinning the ball wide, Bedford switched play to release winger Pat Tapley on the right flank to touch down.

The advantage was increased shortly after when Knights full-back Paul Jarvis was sin-binned for killing the ball during another threatening Bedford attack.

The hosts used the space well and, following a well-executed lineout, new signing Steffan Jones threw a wide pass to Dean Adamson, who raced over in the corner. Pritchard missed the kick so the Knights remained five points ahead with 10 minutes remaining.

The lead did not last long as an attempted chip ahead from fly-half Piers Francis fell straight into the arms of Michael LeBourgeois. George Catchpole, on loan from Leicester Tigers, did well to race back and make a tackle but in the following phase Jake Sharp touched down.

Knights rallied and were awarded a penalty for a scrum infringement and Flockhart comfortably converted.

A knock-on at the ruck, however, gave the ball back to the Blues and Sharp found space in the corner to record his second try and a bonus point for the Blues and, following Pritchard’s conversion, referee Andrew Jackson blew for time.