Bedford Blues 13 Doncaster Knights 18: Flockhart on target as Knights throw down gauntlet

Dougie Flockhart.
Dougie Flockhart.
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Doncaster Knights ended the first half of the Championship in second place.

Their victory at a windswept Goldington Road served to underline that Knights are a match for any side in the division home or away.

Director of rugby Clive Griffiths urged caution, saying: “We may have played the likes of Nottingham, Yorkshire Carnegie, Bristol, Rotherham and Bedford away but none of them will be easy in the return games at Castle Park.

“We had a good win at Bedford but we’ve got to back it up against Nottingham on Boxing Day and that won’t be easy.”

Knights winger Dougie Flockhart registered all of his side’s 18 ­points, enough to see the Castle Park outfit turn around a 10-point half-time deficit and pick up their eighth league win.

Bedford were previously undefeated in all competition at home this season and looked good value to extend that run after a solid first-half showing. With the wind at their backs and playing down the notorious slope, the Blues seized the early initiative and touched down after 10 minutes. Some haphazard defending from the Knights allowed No 8 Joel Conlon to rampage over from 40 metres with Jake Sharp coolly adding the extras.

Sharp quickly extended the advantage with a successful penalty before Flockhart opened the Knights account on 22 minutes.

The Blues kicked a penalty to lead 13-3 at the break.

Playing with the elements, the Knights did not take long to reduce the deficit, Flockhart converting his second penalty.

Knights began to take the upper hand at the set piece. The Doncaster front row of Richard List, Ben Hunter and Colin Quigley began to reap rewards. A series a post-scrum penalties went the Knights way and Flockhart added another six points to his tally.

The Blues were not done and almost scored what could have been a game winning try after centre Tom Griffiths took advantage of a mismatch to race clear. Thankfully for the Knights, full-back Paul Jarvis was able to retreat quickly and haul him down and from the subsequent phase Latu Makaafi tackled winger George Perkins to touch.

With five minutes left on the clock, the Knights, aided by the wind and dominant scrum, managed to force a further two penalties out of Bedford and Flockhart proved his worth to this Knights side once again, calmly converting both. The Blues rallied for one last attack but it came to nothing and the Knights held on for a hard fought win.

“Dougie was meticulous with his kicking and it wasn’t easy even with the wind behind him as their fly-half proved when he missed one from 25 metres out in the first half,” added Griffiths.

Bedford Blues: Jones; Tapley, Griffiths, Dodge, Perkins; Sharp,White; Lundberg, James, Boulton, Wells, Flanagan,Fenton-Wells,Buggea, Conlon. Rep: Clare, Parilli-Ocampo, Howard, Tupai, Burns, Dorrian, LeBourgeois.

Doncaster Knights: Jarvis; Flockhart, Clark. Hurrell, Lewis; Cusack, Heaney; List, Hunter, Quigley,Challoner, Phelan, Shaw, Hills, Stedman. Rep:Bergmanas, Veikoso, Young, John, Makaafi, Bulumakau, Edgerley.