Hartpury 37 Doncaster 24: Knights go through pool despite suffering fifth consecutive loss

Tyson Lewis.
Tyson Lewis.
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Doncaster KNights suffered a fifth straight defeat but still progressed through to the ­Championship Cup’s knockout stages after going down 37-24 at Hartpury.

The point taken from this match was enough to see the Knights finish level with Ampthill in their pool and go forward in the competition due to a superior try count over the Bedfordshire side of 19-15.

Doncaster trailed 22-5 at the interval in this ALPAS Arena encounter, although Josh Bragman’s two penalties for the home team in the opening 15 minutes were somewhat against the run of play.

The fly-half continued to dominate the early proceedings by claiming a penalty, try and conversion all in the space of an eventful five minutes.

Another penalty subsequently saw the visitors trail 19-0, but the Knights finally got on the scoreboard following a Rory Pitman drive that led to fly-half Sam Olver perceptively picking out Tyson Lewis with a perfect grubber kick down the left wing.

The latter gratefully collected it to crash over in the corner.

It was Bragman that still had the final say in the first half, however, kicking another three points from a penalty.

The hosts’ advantage was extended at the start of the second half when Jack Preece barged over from a driving maul.

But Doncaster fought back strongly with a try from replacement Colin Quigley, as the forward made an instant impression, getting on the end of a driving maul.

Hartpury were always a threat, though, with a couple of phases leading to an overload that resulted in replacement Robbie Smith touching down in the corner to make the score 32-12.

The Knights again replied with a try on 70 minutes when Olver passed the ball wide to replacement Ben Hunter, who made a quick offload to Lewis for his second of the game.

Olver then converted and Clive Griffiths’s men consequently grew in confidence with Rory Pitman barging over from close range to make it 32-24 with five minutes left. The outcome was put beyond doubt, however, as Hartpury dotted down in the final stages after Will Nagle-Taylor capitalised fully having intercepted a pass in the visitors’ 22.