Doncaster Knights director of rugby Clive Griffiths was left counting the cost of a late refereeing decision and the boot of a former player as his side fell to a narrow 19-17 loss at Wharfedale.
Leading 14-6 at half-time courtesy of a Paul Jarvis try and a penalty try, the visitors saw their lead gradually chipped away before Thomas Barrett, formerly a Knights player, knocked over a drop goal to give his side a 19-17 lead with 12 minutes remaining.
Knights, who remain top of the SSE National League One table, rallied again however with a driving maul on 77 minutes edging towards the try line before appearing to collapse on the line.
But the referee waved away the Knights’ protests, instead handing Wharfedale a penalty and with it went any hopes of clinching a win, much to the annoyance of Griffiths.
“There was a really controversial decision towards the end of the game, where we had a driving maul which collapsed on the line but it was given against us,” he said.
“Our guys thought it had been illegally collapsed but Wharfedale probably thought they had defended it well.
“It happens, the referee gave them a penalty which was disappointing. It was a big moment in the game and these sort of moments change games.
“But it’s not a case of sour grapes, we did enough to win the game, we outscored them by two tries to one.
“We did not have enough territory in the second half and with the famous slope of the pitch, they took full advantage and sent us packing.
“We are having a tough time with injuries and decisions not going out way that are costing us which can be soul destroying but we have got to make sure we are clinical and control what we can control.”
With Barrett getting the first points of the game via a penalty, Knights went 14-3 up via Jarvis and a penalty try with Paul Roberts adding the extras.
Barrett was proving a thorn in the Knights’ side though with a penalty shortly before the break before he converted Scott Jordan’s 44th minute try before Roberts hit back with a penalty for the visitors.
But a further penalty and his drop goal took Roberts’ tally to 14 points for the afternoon and Griffiths admitted the former player had made the difference.
“Tom Barratt had a dream performance against his former club,” he added. “He did not do a great deal in the match but he kicked everything, including the drop goal. All credit to him, that made all the difference.
“He took the drop goal, we knew what he was going to do but we were not sharp enough to close him down, we have to look at ourselves there.”
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