Howells: We owe our fans

Doncaster Knight's Latu Makaafi fights his way out of the scrum during Saturday's match against Pontypridd. Picture: Liz Mockler D8175LM

Doncaster Knight's Latu Makaafi fights his way out of the scrum during Saturday's match against Pontypridd. Picture: Liz Mockler D8175LM

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LYNN Howells admits his side have some making up to do with the Castle Park faithful when Plymouth Albion visit on Saturday (2.30pm).

Experienced lock Glen Kenworthy issued an apology to supporters after the Knights collapsed to a 35-23 British & Irish Cup defeat to Pontypridd at the weekend.

And Howells says his players are eager to make amends for a sloppy second half showing when they return to Championship action against Albion.

Howells said: “The changing room wasn’t a nice place to be after the game on Saturday.

“We controlled the game in the first half but after the break we just fell off tackles and didn’t defend properly.

“We got what we deserved which was nothing.

“The boys were very disappointed with the performance and they know they’ll be in for a tough week of training.

“Hopefully we’ll put things right this weekend.

“It’s a massive game for us because if we can beat Plymouth we’ll take a big step towards the promotion play-offs,” he added.

“We need to get nine points from our remaining five games but the soomer we can get those the sooner we can start planning for the play-offs.

“There isn’t a huge gap between ourselves and the bottom four and we need to keep those teams at arm’s length.”

Kiwi Kenworthy came off the field after defeat to Welsh Premiership leaders Pontypridd and said Doncaster had “disgraced themselves” with the way they had performed.

Knights had led 13-10 at half time thanks to PJ Gidow’s try and Tristan Roberts’ conversion and penalty double.

But Owen Williams’ score in first half injury time gave the visitors the impetus and, despite Andy Wright’s 53rd minute touchdown, it was Pontypridd who ran in three second half tries to win their tenth consecutive game in all competitions.

Howells said: “They hardly touched the ball for 35 minutes then, all of a sudden, we gave away a soft try and that proved to be the turning point.

“The second half just wasn’t good enough.

“I’ve given everybody a chance over the last few weeks and I made nine changes on Saturday.

“One or two of those players will be joining me in the stand this weekend.”

Howells is hoping to have Nathan Jones fit this weekend and could hand another start to Leeds Carnegie loanee Craig Hampson who made his debut at scrum half against Pontypridd.