competitive edge still not enough for doncaster

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Doncaster may well have been seriously competitive at Castle Park against opponents who are through to the promotion play-offs, but they still went down – this time 27-21 to Nottingham.

The Knights remain bottom of the table, but are optimistic they can avoid the drop having a game in hand over Jersey. With three games left, six points separate the two.

They had to be content with a losing bonus point, but Nottingham were genuinely threatened. Two tries by centre Dante Mama and winger Will Sharp, cut the visitors’ lead to 18-14 and then to just 24-21.

Doncaster fought relentlessly, but allowed Nottingham fly-half James Arlidge too many kicking opportunities. The Kiwi, who has played for Japan in a World Cup, put over five penalties and a conversion in a match-winning display.

Nottingham set up their 14th league win in the Championship by scoring two tries in as many first-half minutes as they counter-attacked at speed.

Doncaster’s hopes rose on 42 minutes when Jamie Lennard’s conversion of Mama’s try slashed the gap to 18-16, and even though they added a second try late on, Nottingham’s win was confirmed by Arlidge’s fifth penalty on 80 minutes.

Meanwhile, coach Clive Griffiths says he will be remaining at Doncaster if they are relegated.

Doncaster Knights: Braid, Keating, Mama, Luke, Sharp, Lennard, Bedford (Hallam 38), Brown, Buckley, Francis, Challinor, Parsons, Kettle, Hafu (Sowery 60), Planchant.

Nottingham: Savage, Jackson, Streather, Forsyth, Lewington, Arlidge, Romans, Parr (Bower 64), Malton (Duffy 57), Holford, Montagu, Rouse,Cooper,Wilson,Shaw.

Referee: LLyr Apgeraint Roberts.

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