Doncaster Knights maintained their 100 per cent start to the British and Irish Cup with a last-gasp win.
Trailing by three points and with seconds remaining, the Knights, camped on the Pirates try line, worked the ball wide for Paul Jarvis to score his hat-trick and seal the win. Afterwards, Doncaster director of rugby Clive Griffiths paid tribute to the former Coventry full-back.
“I’ve got to take my hat off to Paul Jarvis, by a country mile he was our man of the match,” said Griffiths. “I think the only people who didn’t enjoy that was the coaches. But for sheer guts and determination we deserved it.”
Having missed an early penalty, the home side took the lead minutes later when the ball was worked out wide and Jarvis crashed over for his first score and Paul Roberts converted.
Two Lawrence May penalties in quick succession reduced the arrears to just one point before Pirates took complete control with a fast breakaway try from Richard Lane, converted by May.
But back came Doncaster and when Jarvis found the Pirates defence wanting to cross for his second try, Roberts’s conversion established a half-time lead.
The visitors’ task was made even harder when Craig Holland was sent to the sin-bin for a deliberate knock on and Doncaster made their man advantage count when Tyson Lewis scored out wide, but Roberts missed the conversion.
The Knights were then reduced to 14 men when replacement Will Foden was sent to the bin for a dangerous tackle.
Late tries from Joe Atkinson and Stuart Townsend had Pirates’ fans celebrating what they thought was a win, but there was one final sting in the tail.
Camped on the Pirates line, Doncaster worked the ball out wide to Jarvis who squeezed through the tiniest of gaps. Roberts added the conversion to send Castle Park into raptures.
Doncaster Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart (Lennard 27), Bulumakau, Armitage, Lewis, Roberts (Lennard 12-18), Bravo (Tressider 67-77), List (T Davies 56), Hunter (Bergmanas 70), R. Davies (Quigley 55), Hotson (Challinor 55), Phelan, Makaafi, Hills, Eggleshaw (Foden 56).
Cornish Pirates: Bodilly, Holland (Hopkin 62), Hendrickson, Dancer, Lane, May, Townsend, Ford-Robinson, Elloway (Brooker 78), Paver (Andrew 67), Graulich (Garratt 70), Carrick Smith, Cheesman, (Morgan 38-40, 78), Atkinson, Parker.
Referee: Rhys Thomas (WFU).