Nottingham 5 Doncaster Knights 26: Castle Park club end season in best possible fashion to lay down gauntlet to Ealing Trailfinders
In their final game, the Castle Park side collected a maximum of five points, and now have 77, as they scored four tries to one in the East Midlands, but their lead may not last long as Ealing are expected to beat Richmond tomorrow, and in that case, they would be crowned champions.
Two first-half tries by wingers Maliq Holden and Kyle Evans were followed by two after the break by hooker George Edgson and just at the end by replacement scrum-half Lloyd Wheeldon who capitalised on powerful work by his forwards who were superior throughout a competitive contest.
Doncaster’s solid defence was broken only once effectively as just before the final whistle Nottingham centre Morgan Bunting scored his team’s only try. Earlier, Doncaster started confidently as the pack dominated possession and territory and this control created two tries in little more than 10 minutes. Wingers Holden and Evans were quick to take advantage of kicks ahead as they pounced on bouncing balls, and with fly-half Sam Olver converting the Knights’ second try, they led 12-0.
With forwards Sam Graham and Sam Hudson competing aggressively and charging into Nottingham’s 22, Doncaster were showing why they’d enjoyed such an impressive Championship campaign. One aspect of the Knights’ play was the work-rate and creativity of their two centres Mark Best and Joe Margetts who both had a role in the tries for Holden and Evans.
As the half hour approached, Nottingham’s forwards at last began to threaten in Doncaster’s 22, but the Knights’ defence was able to deal with the pressure.
The away side pulled further away in the second half to ensure Ealing had to win their final league game.
Nottingham: Stapley, D.Williams, Thacker, Bunting, Graham, Hollingsworth, Stronge, T.Williams, Vanes, McNulty, Hall, Andrade, Kirwan, Tweedy, Poullet.
Doncaster: McBryde, Evans, Margetts, Best, Holden, Olver, Green, Davidson, Edgson, Foster, Kelly, Murphy, Hudson, Graham, Smith.