Blaydon 22 Doncaster Knights 17: Injury-hit Knights lose top spot

Glen Bryce's try was in vain for Knights
Glen Bryce's try was in vain for Knights
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Head coach Clive Griffiths admits there is a feeling of discontent at Doncaster Knights as his side slipped to their second loss in three matches with defeat against Blaydon.

Both teams went blow for blow early on but the Knights edged the majority of the game after a trio of Paul Roberts penalties.

However, Blaydon made the vital breakthrough when centre Thomas Grimes stole through for a try on the hour-mark – while Jonathan Burn added another seven minutes later.

A 74th-minute try by Glen Bryce proved in vain, with the 22-17 defeat meaning Esher leapfrog the Knights to top spot.

It sets up a mouth-watering clash when the Surrey club come to Castle Park next week but Griffiths heeds caution as he sets on weathering the storm.

“It’s not good at the moment, there are a lot of disgruntled Doncaster supporters, a lot of disgruntled Doncaster coaches and players but that’s the form we’re going through and we have to take it,” he said.

“Teams are rubbing their hands in glee at the thought of taking us on because of the situation we are in.

“But we just have to hang in there and hope that we’re not too detached from the title race until we get all our players back and maybe get some bodies on board – I need more bodies on board.”

The recent rut of form is in stark contrast to the Knights’ early-season run, winning their first seven games.

And though Griffiths concedes Blaydon deserve credit for stopping Doncaster, he insists a full-blown injury crisis is not helping his team’s cause.

“I’ve had my second helping of humble pie this season,” he said.

“Even with all the injuries and the problems we’ve got - everything that’s combining to sabotage the season at the moment – I’m still disappointed with the outcome because we had a good enough team to win the game.

“I lost my first two line props before the season started, I lost my seven and eight against Henley in the first 15 minutes, I’ve lost a 9, a goal kicker, a centre – the list is endless and now I’ve picked up another two props injuries.

“I think some people in the club seem to think I can control it, personally when a man ruptures his cruciate ligament there’s not much I can do about it, but apparently I can.

“We didn’t manage it properly and all credit to Blaydon, they were the better team on the day.”

* SSE, proud sponsor of the National and Divisional Leagues, has £10,000 of SSE Energy Credits available for clubs to win. To find out how go to www.SSERugby.com