Winger Jack Spittle, signed from Nottingham, scored two thrilling tries in the first half to set up the Knight’s win by four tries to three in a tense and entertaining contest in which Doncaster had to defend for long periods in the second half as Hartpury recovered to score on 55 minutes by replacement forward Will Crane.
A conversion slashed the Knights’ lead to only 21-25 and with a yellow card against prop and skipper Robin Hislop on 59 minutes, Doncaster were in some trouble, but solid defence at crucial times when Hartpury’s pack attacked kept out the Gloucestershire side.
Doncaster’s victory was assured, however, late in the second half when a powerful drive from the pack forced over hooker Ben Hunter whose score guaranteed the bonus point meaning that the Castle Park club earned a maximum of five points.
Doncaster started superbly by scoring a try after only seven minutes when Argentinian forward Guido Volpi barged over following excellent work by his pack.With Hartpury down to 14 men following a yellow card against fly-half Josh Bragman, Doncaster were looking to capitalise, and in his absence, scored an exciting second try as full-back Billy McBryde set up Spittle.
However, Hartpury fought back as centre Robbie Smith sprinted to the line for a converted try. Nevertheless, the Knights continued to build pressure and again from a line-out, Spittle shot through to complete his second with Sam Olver converting.
Just before half-time, Hartpury fought back again as winger Ben Foley beat the defence for their second try. Olver completed a good night’s work with 12 points.
Hartpury: Partington, Stanton, Smith, Williams, B.Foley, Bragman, Flinn, Challenger, Selway, Knight, Lemon, Russell, Ward, Safe, Wilson.
Doncaster Knights: McBryde, Evans, C.Foley, Edwards, Spittle, Olver, Warr, Hislop, Hunter, Jones, Challinor, Sexton, Kelly, Graham, Volpi.
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