Worcester 25 Doncaster Knights 5: Armitage’s sin-binning leads to downfall of Doncaster

Clive Griffiths
Clive Griffiths
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Wily Clive Griffiths almost pulled off a master-stroke as his resurgent Knights showed amazing resilience against title-chasers Worcester.

Looking to build on the excellent B&I Cup defeat of Munster the previous week, the Castle Park director of rugby crafted a cunning plan to frustrate the Warriors, starving them of the ball.

It worked right up until the stroke of half-time when a missed tackle allowed Worcester centre Max Stelling to nip through and score in the corner.

The wayward conversion ensured the Knights were just five points adrift going into the second period when they would also have the gale force winds at their backs.

The game was there for the taking. Or at least it was until a rash decision by centre Bevon Armitage saw him up to no good in a ruck right on the Doncaster line. He saw yellow and the home side promptly ran in three tries to wrap up the win.

Griffiths said: “The sin-bin killed us – three tries and 15 points when he was off – but I cannot fault my guys for real guts and determination out there.

“We were the architects of our own downfall. Bevon tried to play the professional card and get away with it but you might as well cop one try and keep 15 players on the field. He took the law into his own hands and the ones he hurt were the boys left out on the field.”

Even playing into the blustery conditions Worcester saw more of the ball in the second period. Back-row Sam Betty was driven over from a catch-and-drive straight from the Armitage penalty that had been kicked to touch. Three minutes later, winger Tom Biggs dotted down and Betty then went over in the opposite corner.

The visitors were back up to their full quota when Worcester prop Mike Daniels charged 60 metres upfield for a fifth score, leaving young scrum-half Jack Maplesden in his wake.

The damage was done and the points were in the bag. But Doncaster had the final say, replacement prop Ross Davies being driven over in the corner for a deserved score.

Worcester Warriors: Howard, Hammond, Stelling (Grove 58), Symons, Biggs, Lamb (Mieres 73), Arr (Mulchrone 56); Bower (Porter 67), Creevy (George 58), Schonert (Daniels 17), Williams, Thomas, Senatore, Betty, Van Velze (Sanderson 73).

Doncaster Knights: Fosita, Flockhart, Bululmakau, Armitage, Lewis, Francis (Clark 37), Maplesden (Hoadley 73); List (Bergmanas 61), Hunter (Veikoso 39), Quigley (Davies 39), Hotson, Phelan (Eggleshaw 66), Challinor, Hills (Foden 77), Shaw.

Referee: JP Doyle.