Doncaster may well have lost their fourth consecutive match, but the Knights’ encouraging performance against the club which will surely return to the Premiership at the end of the season gives the Castle Park side optimism for the remainder of the campaign.
While they lost by six tries to two to a Newcastle team which has won all 11 games in league and cup, Doncaster’s improvement was noticeable as they played with conviction, total commitment and on several occasions fluency as their backs attacked promisingly.
It was, therefore, self-defeating that raids which had penetrated Newcastle’s defence broke down carelessly, and in one instance led to the Falcons’ fifth try by winger Ben Stevenson, who ran the full length of the field after Doncaster lost the ball.
Considering that eight senior players were missing, mainly because of injury, and replacement forward Andrew Foster was hurt during the contest, Doncaster were highly competitive. Their pack was deservedly awarded a penalty try and scrum-half Tom James shot over in the corner for their second try.
Doncaster struggled to contain the pace of Fijian winger George Wacokecoke who scored a hat-trick, but Tongan forward Fotu Lokotui, on debut, impressed as did Namibian flanker Wian Conradie. Rory Pitman and Matt Challinor also worked overtime in the pack and in the backs, winger Howard Packman threatened.
“We put in a lot of effort against a good outfit, created opportunities and our attacking play is coming on, but we have to be more patient,” was the verdict of assistant coach Steve Boden.
Doncaster Knights: McColl (Cowell 67), Evans, Doherty, Foley, Packman, Olver (Hayes 78), James (Warr 67), Hislop (Thomas 54), Hunter (Edgson 56), Suter (Foster 54), Challinor, Pitman (Sproston 56), Conradie, Lokotui, Calladine (Hills 67).
Newcastle Falcons: Tait, Wacokecoke, Perry(Owen 67), Waldouck, Stevenson, Hodgson( Connon 66), Stuart(Takulua 62), Lockwood(Brocklebank 52), Blamire(McGuigan 52), Tampin(Daniels 52), De Chaves(Farrar 52), Robinson, Van der Walt, Welch, Nagusa( Chick 66).
Referee: F Kirby.