Doncaster Knights 25 Bedford Blues 25 - Late try spoils landmark day for Challinor

Matt Challinor was making his 200th appearance for Doncaster Knights. Picture: Scott Merrylees
Matt Challinor was making his 200th appearance for Doncaster Knights. Picture: Scott Merrylees
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Doncaster Knights stalwart Matt Challinor’s 200th appearance was spoiled as Bedford Blues scored a late converted try to salvage a 25-25 draw at Castle Park.

Knights ran in four tries to three - earning them an extra bonus point - in a see-sawing encounter during which both teams squandered a 10-point lead.

Doncaster Knights' head coach Clive Griffiths. Picture: Steve Riding

Doncaster Knights' head coach Clive Griffiths. Picture: Steve Riding

Doncaster - who began the afternoon in fifth, two places behind Bedford - led 17-15 at half-time and seemed on course for a precious win when they went 25-15 ahead with a quarter of the game left.

“It was very disappointing,” Knights’ director of rugby Clive Griffiths reflected after seeing his side’s winless run in the Championship extended four matches.

“We had the game in the bag. The boys stepped up this week, we deserved five points and we didn’t get them.”

The visitors made a strong start and opened the scoring after just four minutes when George Edgson went over from close range.

Harry Sheppard added the extras, but Knights hit back immediately, Tyson Lewis finishing at the corner after outstanding handling by Michael Hills, Alex Shaw, Tom Hicks and Tom James, who provided the final pass.

An interception close to Bedford’s line led to a second try for the visitors on 17 minutes, through winger Richard Lane.

Sheppard failed to convert, but landed a penalty to make it 15-5 at the end of the first-quarter, but Doncaster dominated after that on the back of a string of penalties.

On 27 minutes Ben Hunter went over after Knights twice kicked for touch from close to Bedford’s line and Dougie Flockhart - making his first start of the season - tagged on the conversion.

Bedford’s replacement winger Jordan Burns - who had come on for the Championship’s top try scorer Dean Adamson - knocked on over the line from Sheppard’s kick and Knights punished that mistake by running in a third touchdown, Colin Quigley getting over after a strong run by Shaw.

Flockhart extended Doncaster’s lead with a penalty four minutes into the second half following a foul on Quigley which earned Sean McCarthy a spell in the sin-bin.

Knights secured a bonus point when Hunter scored his second try moments later in the wake of another penalty - their eighth in succession - and some strong work from the home pack

But Bedford’s William Hooley kicked a long-range penalty to cut the gap to seven points on the hour and they put Doncaster under heavy pressure after that.

The home team defended desperately, but were reduced to 14 men when Owen Evans was sin-binned with five minutes left.

Jordan Burns went over on the next play and Hooley landed the goal from close to touch to level the scores.

Doncaster had a late chance to snatch victory, but Simon Humberstone’s drop goal attempt drifted wide.

Former Hull and Wakefield Trinity rugby league coach Richard Agar has been assisting Doncaster following his departure from the backroom staff at Warrington Wolves.