Knights charge into play offs: Doncaster Knights 41 Esher 24

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THE impressive Dougie Flockhart scored a hat trick as the Knights secured their place in the Championship’s top eight with a solid win over Esher.

Mistakes punctuated the game but it proved to be an exciting affair with the Knights having a little too much for their lowly visitors.

And Flockhart ran in three excellent tries alongside efforts from Michael Keating and Andy Boyde.

The Knights were camped in the Esher half in the opening period, going close to taking the lead on several occasions following a string of re-set scrums.

The hosts did open the scoring on nine minutes when Andy Boyde forced over from close range, Flockhart converting.

Esher pulled a penalty back five minutes later through Peter Synott but the Knights surged further ahead shortly afterwards.

A good period of pressure saw a penalty try awarded with Flockhart converting.

But Esher produced a very good counterattack to go over themselves for the first time.

A few excellent phases were capped when Mark Atkinson sent a well-weighted kick over and Philip Mackenzie latched onto to touch down, Synott converting.

The visitors took the lead for the first time just before the half hour when taking advantage of some haphazard defending by the Knights.

Still coming to terms with a missed tackle, the Knights were caught short across the pitch and Tom Cheeseman spotted an opportunity, sending a straight kick through which Geoffrey Griffiths managed to dot down just before the dead ball line.

Synott converted to open up a three point advantage.

The Knights responded in the best possible fashion with an attacking break of their own.

Zach Farivarz embarked on a brilliant searching run to gain yardage before the ball was moved across the pitch well to Flockhart who dodged a few tackles on his run in from 15 metres out before converting to re-establish the lead.

And Flockhart landed a simple penalty from just in front of the posts in the last action of the half.

Mistakes characterised the opening 15 minutes of the second half with Esher in particularly wasting good opportunities following slack tackling from the Knights.

Much of the game was spent in the middle of the pitch with possession passing between the sides with regularity.

But the Knights would grab the first score of the half with a very well worked try.

Mike Whitehead sent a fantastic long pass out to Michael Noone who made up great yardage before laying off to Flockhart who galloped over in the corner.

Brett Davey took the opportunity to hand new signings Tomas Francis and Gareth McDonogh their debuts while Michael Heaney was handed a little more game time than he had received previously.

And mixing things up did not prove a gamble as the Knights grabbed another try.

Dom Parsons made an excellent interception on the left wing and charged against little cover before passing inside to Keating who raced over.

A nervy ending to the game resulted as Esher pulled a try back two minutes from time.

They pressured well from the restart and a decent maul took them to the line with Shawn Renwick getting the credit for the touchdown.

Nicky Little landed the conversion to bring the score back within ten points.

But the tension was subdued when the Knights re-established possession and capped the performance with another try.

McDonogh surged forward before popping a cheeky pass around the back to Fred Burdon who was stopped agonisingly short of the line.

The ball was worked out to Flockhart who squeezed over for his hat trick try before converting with the last act of the match.

Scorers:

Knights: T: Boyde, Penalty, Flockhart (3), Keating. C: Flockhart (4). P: Flockhart

Esher: T: Philip Mackenzie, Griffiths, Renwick. C: Synott (3). P: Synott

Teams:

Knights: 15 Flockhart, 14 Toft; 13 Goss; 12 Burdon; 11 Keating; 10 Whitehead (McDonogh, 65); 9 Hallam (Heaney, 73); 1 Brown (Burke-Flynn, 65); 2 Boden (Yeandle, 58); 3 Brown, Alex (Francis, 71); 4 Challinor; 5 Parsons; 6 Boyde (Planchant, 58); 7 Farivarz (Kettle, 58); 8 Noone.

Esher: 15 Daniels, 14 Wright, 13 Mackenzie, Philip, 12 Cheeseman, 11 Griffiths,10 Atkinson, 9 Mackenzie, Jamie, 1 Millard, 2 Campbell, 3 Nebbett, 4 Symons, 5 Inglis, 6 Stitcher, 7 Synott, 8 Macfarlane.

Attendance: 1,273