THERE was no triumphant outcome for New Yorker Nick Civetta last night, his red card eventually proving so costly despite a valiant effort from his Doncaster Knights team-mates in a remarkable derby against Yorkshire Carnegie.
The USA second-row, who hails from the Big Apple and is on dual-registration from Newcastle Falcons, was red-carded for a high tackle on scrum-half Will Homer in first-half injury-time.
His side led just 15-13 at that point yet ignored the numerical disadvantage to forge 25-13 ahead in the 56th minute.
It says plenty about the spirit of Clive Griffiths’s side that they were still in front until the 81st minute only to, cruelly, see Carnegie hooker Joe Buckle finally bundle over for Alex Davies to kick the injury-time winning conversion.
Griffiths had sacrificed winger Tyson Lewis at the break to send on lock Morgan Eames in a bid to keep parity up front and the tactic almost paid off in an incident-packed game.
Indeed, it was a shame Sky Sports’ live transmission failed.
Doncaster started positively, but only had Simon Humberstone’s penalty to show for their early endeavours.
It meant, although Carnegie did not even get into the home 22 until the 16th minute, when they did they took the lead.
Doncaster only had themselves to blame; both Humberstone and Michael Heaney kicked out on the full to gift over possession.
Tom Casson’s lovely inside pass then sent George Watkins surging through midfield and, though he was dragged down by Curtis Wilson, Alex Davies’s crossfield kick soon found the unmarked Chris Elder, who sauntered over.
Davies converted, but Elder was soon in bother. Michael Hills charged down Davies’s kick to put pressure on Carnegie and Colin Quigley looked like proving to be an unlikely try assister as the tighthead prop floated a pass wide to the right. Full-back Elder stretched up a hand to knock it down and – after plenty of deliberation with the TMO – was eventually not only yellow-carded but also saw a penalty try awarded against his side.
Initially, they dealt well with the numerical disadvantage, Davies levelling at 10-10 with a penalty .
However, Homer became the latest player to nudge out on the full from a box kick and Doncaster capitalised with in-form winger Wilson angling over for a fine finish after great work from Alex Shaw and Charlie Foley.
Humberstone missed the conversion attempt and then, after Davies slotted a penalty, also sailed the restart clear into touch to invite the pressure that led to the Civetta incident.
Nevertheless, Davies missed the penalty and Doncaster got the perfect start to the second period with a fine try from the excellent Will Owen.
Jack Ram’s break down the right saw Wilson go close and, though Elder denied the winger, Heaney’s brilliant cut-out pass put over the ex-Rotherham centre. Humberstone improved and added a 56th-minute penalty to leave his side improbably 25-13 ahead. But Carnegie immediately hit back from the restart with a swift move to the right where Andy Forsyth exploited the space vacated by the departed Lewis.
Soon after, Watkins supplied Elder for his second as they targeted that channel again and Davies levelled – only for Doncaster to strike straight back with a Mat Clark try in the 66th minute.
It seemed they would hold on as the inevitable barrage came, the excellent Ram, in particular, coming up with some fine scramble defence.
Then their scrum held out for fully five minutes on their own five-metre line as Carnegie continually ignored three points.
Eventually, though, Jimmy Lowes’s side forced their way over to complete a league double over their fierce rivals.
Doncaster Knights: Foley; Wilson, Clark, Owen, Lewis (Eames 40); Humberstone (Cusack 80), Heaney (James 75); List (Bergmanas 65), Nelson (Langdon 76), Quigley (Sproston 65), Challinor, Civetta, Ram, Hills, Shaw (Hill 69).
Yorkshire Carnegie: Elder; Watkins, Forsyth, Casson (Burdon 56), McColl; Davies, Homer (Green 40-41-68); Thomas, Buckle, Beech, Whetton, Myerscough (Stedman 65), West, Mayhew (Bainbridge 75), Beck.
Referee: Greg MacDonald (RFU).