Doncaster Knights 32 Nottingham 26: Late, great winning try by Andy Bulumakau as Knights win top-four clash

Andy Bulumakau: winning try scorer. Picture: Chris Etchells
Andy Bulumakau: winning try scorer. Picture: Chris Etchells

Irrespective of whether the Britain’s Got Talent auditions held in town the same day unearthed a potential winner, Doncaster does have talent.

It was on view in Doncaster Knights’ bonus point 32-26 win over Nottingham in their top-four Championship clash at Castle Park.

Centre Andy Bulumakau underlined his star quality by scoring a late try worthy of winning any game.

With his side trailing 26-25, Bulumukau broke the line about 30 metres out and showed good pace, balance and footwork to make the line despite the attention of several defenders.

Bulumakau wasn’t the only star turn in the Doncaster ranks.

Replacement scrum-half Tom James also had the home fans on their feet.

He latched on to the ball at a ruck just inside the Nottingham half, sold a dummy and then showed the cover a clean pair of heels.

Replacement fly-half Simon Humberstone could only convert one of the last two tries and was also wide with a late penalty which would have put the game beyond the Green and Whites.

This gave the visitors a final throw of the dice, though they never looked like rolling a winning score and spent the closing stages penned in their own half.

They didn’t go away empty handed, however, claiming a losing bonus point.

Knights had trailed 20-13 at the break despite leading on three occasions.

Fly-half Declan Cusack celebrated his first start of the season, kicking Knights into a third-minute 3-0 lead.

The visitors drew level with a penalty by fly-half Chris Elder.

Knights failed to capitalise on an overlap on their left on the Notts 22 due to a pass by skipper Michael Hills not hitting its target.

They didn’t come away empty-handed though and Cusack kicked them back into the lead.

Notts hit back to lead 8-6 with the first of three tries from poorly executed lineouts when flanker Jordan Coghlan raced in unopposed.

Knights regained the lead when scrum-half Michael Heaney, who kept his cool to get the better of the defence close to the line, after Hills and Nelson had handled in a move initiated by Declan Cusack’s flat pass to the Doncaster skipper.

The Irishman tagged on the extras to make it 13-8.

Further uncharacteristic sloppy lineout play – not all down to poor throwing by Nelson – led to tries by props William Stewart and Tom West.

Eden extended Nottingham’s lead after the break and Knights were facing up to the possibility of a second successive defeat prior to replacement hooker Ben Hunter touching down from a catch-and-drive which kick-started their revival.

Knights: Foley, J Bulumakau, A Bulumakau, Owen, Lewis, Cusack, Heaney; List, Nelson, Quigley, Eames, Hicks, Shaw, Hills, Carpenter. Rep: Hunter, Bergamanus, Sprotson, Challinor, Hill, James, Humberstone.