Doncaster Knights 19 Ampthill 13: Kyle Evans frustrated as Knights pass up RFU Championship bonus

Doncaster may not have played to their usual high standards at Castle Park, but this 11th win increases the pressure on promotion favourites Ealing Trailfinders, who are one point clear at the top of the Championship table, having played two games fewer than the Knights.

Kyle Evans of Doncaster Knights (Picture: Steve Riding)
Kyle Evans of Doncaster Knights (Picture: Steve Riding)

The Knights, winners by three tries to two against a highly competitive Ampthill side, remain second on 50 points, and have another opportunity this Saturday at Castle Park to keep the momentum going in their promotion campaign when Bedford Blues play their re-arranged fixture.

As he prepares his squad for the Bedford game, coach Steve Boden will be keen to stress the importance of taking scoring opportunities which they failed to do against Ampthill.

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While fine tries by centres Joe Margetts and Mark Best followed by a sparkling effort by winger Kyle Evans, a regular menace, set up the victory, a bonus point, which would have regained the leadership of the Championship, wasn’t achieved during what was described as a poor performance by Boden.

Strong winds made playing conditions hard and several kicks were blown off-course, however, a close and entertaining contest developed with Doncaster leading 12-5 at the interval after the tries by Margetts and Best.

Ampthill, defending their line solidly, also seized rare scoring opportunities as Doncaster lost control of possession to hand over 10 points that cut the advantage to only 12-10 on 63 minutes.

The Knights’ pack, in which Guido Volpi, Sam Graham, Peter Roberts and Andy Foster stood out, then created sustained pressure on Ampthill’s line late in the second half.

When the ball came back, a slick move by backs Alex Dolly and Sam Olver carved space for Evans who grabbed his opportunity and after he shot over for his converted try, Doncaster’s lead stretched to 19-10.

However, they weren’t home and dry because an Ampthill penalty in the 78th reduced the deficit to only 19-13, and two minutes later as the Bedfordshire team raided Doncaster’s line, they might have scored a match winning try try under the posts with a simple conversion to follow.

But ferocious defending turned the ball over allowing Doncaster to survive as try scorer Evans explained: “Ampthill always fight to the end. The conditions didn’t help us to play to our standards and we’ll have to improve against Bedford. We’re disappointed not to get the bonus point.”