In-Form Doncaster Knights made it eight games unbeaten as they climbed to the top of their pool with victory over a Newport-Gwent Dragons Select side in poor conditions on Saturday.
Clive Griffiths’ men, beaten finalists in last season’s competition, began this year’s edition with a draw at Jersey but have now assumed control of the pool after this gutsy display.
With the wind at his back, Newport fly-half Arwell Robson kicked the Dragons into a three-point lead but Doncaster struck back immediately; their reliable source a forward maul finished off by Latu Makaafi put them in front, the flanker scoring his 13th try of the season.
Dougie Flockhart missed the conversion against the wind but was accurate with a penalty from one of the many scrum infringements the Knights forced throughout the game.
A Makaafi break produced another chance to set up the maul and once again the big Tongan No 8 was on the back of the pack to touch down.
Flockhart converted and it appeared the Knights would head in for shelter at half-time with a 15-3 lead, only for Charlie Davies to break two tackles and cross the whitewash, Robson’s conversion cutting the deficit to five.
Penalties either side of the break by Flockhart kept Doncaster’s noses in front and despite two further Dragons’ penalties as the wind and rain battered Castle Park, the Knights’ prevailed.
Doncaster Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Bulumakau, Clark, Lewis, Cusack (Olver 69), Edgerly (Heaney 69); List, Veikoso (Hunter 58), Quigley (Sproston 61), Hotson (Challinor 73), Young, Makaafi, Owen, Shaw (Hills 48).
Newport Dragons XV: Jones, Frewen, Brew, Nightingale (Edwards 72), Warren, Robson, C Davies (O Davies 77); Garrett (Cornock 40), Gustaffson (Buckley 48), Brown (Jeffries 72), Andrews, Brown (Sweet 72), Crocker (Matthews 40), Cudd, Keddie.