Doncaster Knights win but Steve Boden not content, while Otley, Hull Ionians and Rotherham Titans claim derby victories

As Doncaster Knights prepare for their campaign in the Championship Cup, starting at Castle Park on Saturday against Coventry, they can look back with mixed feelings about their progress in the league after seven matches.

The Knights have won four out of seven games and are now sixth, mid-table, on 21 points, putting them just behind Bedford and Nottingham once the league resumes in December.

But for the next three weekends, the Castle Park side, who scored foive tries to three in a 35-19 win over Ampthill on Saturday, are concentrating on the Cup with fixtures against Coventry, London Scottish away and then Bedford.

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If Doncaster can repeat their first-half performance, in which they scored four excellent tries to lead 28-5, they’ll enjoy a successful run in the Cup, but if they reproduce the form shown in the second 40 minutes when they were sloppy, allowing Ampthill to score two tries, they’ll fail to qualify for the next round.

John Kelly burrowed over for a late try to help Doncaster Knights beat Ampthill. (Picture: Tony Johnson)John Kelly burrowed over for a late try to help Doncaster Knights beat Ampthill. (Picture: Tony Johnson)
John Kelly burrowed over for a late try to help Doncaster Knights beat Ampthill. (Picture: Tony Johnson)

Tries by hooker Will Holling, centre Joe Margetts, flanker Sam Daly and winger Maliq Holden revealed Doncaster at their best, but after being so dominant, they declined rapidly as Ampthill began to control ball and territory and recovered to 28-19.

However, on 71 minutes, common sense returned as replacement forward John Kelly crashed over from a scrum to confirm a victory against opponents who were so indiscipline they received three yellow cards.

Doncaster’s coach, Steve Boden, though, was critical of his team’s performance, saying: “We played some good stuff in the first half, but our execution and work rate were poor in the second. We coughed up four or five opportunities. It could have been 50 or 60 to us.

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“Some of our rugby is of a high level and then the other half is low level. We are too inconsistent and some of the lads need to be fitter.”

After making a promising start Leeds Tykes were left empty-handed after a 29-20 defeat at Darlington Mowden Park in National One on Friday night. Stand-off Tighe Maxwell-Whiteley’s ninth-minute penalty put the Yorkshire side in front, but the hosts scored the first try shortly after, the conversion putting them 7-3 ahead.

Leeds went in front with a driving maul by hooker Ben Sugars edging them ahead, but before long they were 29-8 adrift, Kieran Davies and Charlie Venables scoring consolation tries.

Bottom-of-the-table Hull had to settle for a four-try bonus point from a 36-28 loss to visitors Taunton Titans.

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The visitors were three tries up with just 26 minutes gone before Hull opened their account in the 30th minute, left winger Charles Rawlins scoring and stand-off Rece Dean adding the conversion.

He was also on target with the extras following a 44th minute try from Mike Adlard which narrowed the gap, but the Titans kicked on and extended their lead to 35-14 with two more converted tries.

Replacement Jack Edwards touched down just before the hour mark and Adlard bagged a second converted try on 71 minutes, but it only served to give them a four-try bonus point with Taunton comfortable winners.

Flanker Adam Malthouse and outside centre Clark Wells scored tries for Otley to help them to a 16-10 derby victory over hosts Harrogate in National Two (North).

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Full-back Callum Irvine kicked a penalty on 24 minutes but missed the conversion following Malthouse’s 35th-minute try.

After the break Harrogate hit back to lead with wing forward Chris Jackson and hooker Jacob Percival touching down for a narrow 10-8 lead. However, Otley took the win with Wells scoring and Irvine adding a second penalty.

Hull Ionians bagged their seventh win of the season, beating visitors Sheffield Tigers 34-16. Ionians’ centre Lewis Minikin and Tigers’ stand-off Mark Ireland traded early penalties before Ireland converted full-back Sam Pocklington’s try on 17 minutes. Ireland added another penalty for Sheffield, and following Minikin’s try Ireland added a third penalty to make the score 15-9.

Hooker Ben Stephenson’s 44th-minute try was converted by Minikin, and winger Wilson’s 51st minute try gave Ionians a 27-9 lead.

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Replacement Will Metcalfe’s try was converted as Tigers narrowed the gap, but the hosts had the final word with Minikin converting his own 78th-minute try.

Rotherham Titans were 27-3 winners over Huddersfield with tries coming from prop Dan Rylance, centre Harry Dunne, winger Jack Hedley, winger Luckas Sableman-Blue and No 8 Zak Poole.

Tries from No 8 Robert Fawdry and wingers Matt Adcock and Chris Hooper weren’t enough for Sheffield who lost out 32-19 at Blaydon.

Two Tom Mann penalties were all Wharfedale could muster in a 15-6 defeat at home to Sedgley Park. Billingham’s 31-7 win at Ilkley helped them go top of the North East table.