Doncaster Knights 25 Nottingham 28: Careless Doncaster flop ahead of final showdown

Doncaster Knights coach Clive Griffiths
Doncaster Knights coach Clive Griffiths
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Doncaster begin preparations for one of the most important matches in the club’s history, Friday’s televised final of the British & Irish Cup against Worcester at Castle Park, which is predicted to attract a crowd of 3,500.

Before then, though, coach Clive Griffiths will be taking his players to task as to why they threw away home advantage against Nottingham.

Doncaster’s survival in the Championship looks almost certain with Plymouth the favourites to be relegated, but the Knights must not be satisfied with two points when at least four should have been the return.

With three games remaining against Rotherham, Bedford and Plymouth, Doncaster have 33 points but Griffiths will not sleep easily until his team’s status for next season is confirmed.

Lacking urgency in the first half which produced only one try from scrum-half Tomasi Palu, Doncaster collectively improved against effective opponents, whose win puts them back into fourth place, one point ahead of Rotherham.

Two of Nottingham’s three tries were conceded far too easily and Doncaster also had flanker Michael Hills and replacement scrum-half Brad Field sin-binned on 53 and 62 minutes, respectively.

Doncaster’s Dougie Flockhart also missed 12 points whereas opposite number fly-half Tiff Eden was successful with two conversions and three penalties.

Hills’s try on 46 minutes provided a 12-11 lead and once centre Mat Clark had scored Doncaster’s third on 74 minutes, the Knights’ recovery meant that Nottingham led by only 20-21.

Concentration in defence was lost as full-back Billy Robinson shot over for Nottingham’s third converted try. In the 80th minute, however, Flockhart scored Doncaster’s fourth try to secure two invaluable points.

Doncaster Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Catchpole, Clark, Lewis, Fosita, Palu (Field 55), List (Davies), Hunter (Thacker 55), Quigley (John 69), Hotson (Foden 79), Phelan, Challinor, Hills, Eggleshaw.

Nottingham: Robinson, Iongi, Stevens, Pohe, Styles, Eden, Romans, Porter (Ma’afu), Malton (Vickers 79), Carey (Holford 75), Freeman, (Price 69), Montagu, Cooper, Calladine, Grant.

Referee: I Tempest.