Doncaster Knights 26 Jersey Reds 30: Falling short sums up Knights' frustrations

Doncaster's mediocre season by their recent high standards ended on a low note as this 12th league defeat confirmed a Championship finishing place of seventh which illustrated their decline during this campaign compared with reaching the promotion play-offs a year ago.

Doncaster Knights' Tom James(Picture: Marie Caley)

The Castle Park club have won only nine league games and while they have suffered injury crises and from referees who seldom, it is argued by coach Clive Griffiths, see things Donny’s way, the squad have not made the progress that seemed probable at the start of the season.

Griffiths’ plans for the 2018/19 season will be gradually revealed during the next few weeks and Knights’ supporters will be relieved that the excellent back row forward, Josh Tyrell, has decided to remain. So too has scrum-half Tom James who scored his side’s fourth try to set up a thrilling and tense climax as Doncaster fought back from trailing 27-7 to within a point, 27-26, going into injury time.

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Having been outplayed as they lost countless amounts of possession, Doncaster belatedly improved to threaten Jersey’s control that had produced four tries in 52 minutes, three by winger Auguy Slowik.

Just before Jersey’s third yellow card, full-back Cameron Cowell counter-attacked to score an exciting try to cut Jersey’s lead to 27-12, and then five minutes later, the contest changed, seemingly in Doncaster’s favour.

They were awarded a penalty try in the 78th minute and with Jersey reduced to 14 men with the sin-binning of centre George Eastwell, the Knights were in sight of an improbable win.

James broke through on 80 minutes and following the conversion from fly half Simon Humberstone, the deficit was a point.

With the referee choosing to play six minutes of added time, Doncaster had the opportunity to snatch victory, but Jersey’s forwards retained possession intelligently and Reds’ fly half, Brendan Cope, kicked a late penalty.

Doncaster Knights: Cowell, Bulumakau, Klim, Hayes, Wilson, Humberstone, Heaney (James 52), List (Bergmanas 53), Hunter (Langdon 63), Sproston (Quigley 52), Challinor, Hicks (Civetta 40), Hill (Batt 40), Shaw, Tyrell.

Jersey Reds: Van Breda, Pincus, Newey (Best 67), Eastwell, Slowik, Cope, Hardy, Woolmore (Godfrey 64), Saunders, Armstrong (Atalifo 68), Sexton, Koloofai (Quarrie 51), Bartle, Upfield, Rogerson.

Referee: Hamish Smailes.