Bedford Blues 18 Doncaster Knights 18

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KNIGHTS passed their trial by television with flying colours - and came agonisingly close to securing a memorable win.

David McIlwaine saw his late penalty from inside his own half come back off the post, while skipper Chris Hallam was left to rue his decision to take a quick tap and run rather than kick for goal in the closing stages.

Doncaster’s defence excelled themselves before the break in the Sky Sports televised clash, providing a base for a 10-3 lead at the interval.

Tom Luke and former Knight Jamie Lennard exchanged penalties in the opening four minutes before Michael Keating caught the Bedford back line out with a neat chip and run to go over in the left corner.

Another former Doncaster man dragged Bedford back into the game after the break, Neil Cochrane diving over after a polished line-out move.

The converted try lifted the home team and when Josh Bassett went over for the Blues the impetus appeared to be with the hosts.

But in a dramatic conclusion PJ Gidlow saw his try awarded by the television referee to level the scores at 18-18.

McIlwaine then hit the post with a penalty from 60 yards out - and there was still time for Doncaster to be awarded another penalty considerably closer to the posts.

But instead of opting to kick for goal, Hallam saw a gap in the Bedford defence and opted to run for the line - only to be held up ten yards short.

Brett Davey’s side host Nottingham on Saturday (2.30pm).