Doncaster Knights floored after throwing away huge lead at Bedford Blues

DONCASTER KNIGHTS, who for an hour were playing their best rugby of the Championship season so far, must be wondering how they lost a thrilling game at Goldington Road where they seemed certain to win.

With their forwards, inspired by flanker Fyn Brown, who’s been signed by Northampton Saints, in control, they led 24-10 at half time and then increased their authority to 29-10 after winger Maliq Holden burst through to score the Knights’ fourth try.

That bonus point try stressed that Doncaster were outplaying their opponents who’d earlier conceded a penalty try, and outstanding scores by centre Connor Edwards and flanker Archie Smeaton.

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And with fly half Russell Bennett adding a penalty and two conversions, Doncaster’s healthy lead, with little more than 20 minutes remaining, appeared rock-solid.

OVER THE LINE: Doncaster Knightstry-scorer, Maliq Holden. Picture Tony JohnsonOVER THE LINE: Doncaster Knightstry-scorer, Maliq Holden. Picture Tony Johnson
OVER THE LINE: Doncaster Knightstry-scorer, Maliq Holden. Picture Tony Johnson

However, Doncaster, inexplicably, weren’t strong enough to resist a remarkable Bedford recovery, producing tries on 58, 62 and 78 minutes, a sequence that transformed the contest.

After the Blues’ fourth try had been converted, the score was level at 29-29, but the drama was far from finished.

Doncaster, under constant pressure, were now playing with 14 men after replacement scrum half Alex Dolly had been given a red card.

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Bedford launched one final attack towards Doncaster’s posts in the 80th minute and it delivered a memorable climax.

Replacement fly half Louis Grimoldby,showing calmness and skill, dropped a goal and with it three points to earn a dramatic victory which had earlier never seemed possible.

It was a sickening result for Doncaster who left with only two points. They remain, though, 5th in the Championship on 53 points.

Their next challenge, this Saturday at Castle Park, couldn’t be any tougher-against Championship leaders Ealing Trailfinders.

Meanwhile, the Knights have announced that 12 players have re-signed for next season and another five from the Academy have also signed contracts for 2024-2025.