Knights shock high-flyers: Doncaster Knights 36 Cornish Pirates 21

Tom Davies touches down to put the Knights 18-0 up against high-flying Cornish Pirates. Picture: Malcolm Billingham.
Tom Davies touches down to put the Knights 18-0 up against high-flying Cornish Pirates. Picture: Malcolm Billingham.

THE Knights roared back to winning ways with a shock 36-21 win over Championship high-flyers Cornish Pirates.

Doncaster led 20-0 at one stage following a blistering start and showed how resolute they truly can be as they held off an onslaught from the visitors early in the second half to earn a famous win.

Full back David McIlwaine opened the scoring with an early penalty while Pirates fly half Rob Cook missed the chance to draw his side level when he hit the post.

The visitors demonstrated slick distribution but twice were penalised for passing forward and the Knights responded with a fantastic attacking move with wing Dougie Flockhart capping a superb team try, converted by McIlwaine.

The Ulsterman was on target again two minutes later when he slotted another penalty for a 13-0 lead.

Cornish were asleep from the restart and Matt Challinor seized possession close to the Pirates line before off-loading to prop Tom Davies to touch down with McIlwaine slotting over the conversion.

The Pirates got a lucky break to land their first score when Chris Planchant was intercepted and flanker Phil Burgess touched down after strolling through an empty Knights 22, with Cook adding the conversion.

A Pirates knock-on saw McIlwaine handed another long-range penalty chance and his excellent kicking form continued as he added the points.

The Knights were on superb form and they sprung more leaks in the Pirates’ ship with Michael Keating touching down under the posts and McIlwaine converting for a 30-7 lead.

Cornish did manage to pull another try back before the break when the Knights’ struggled with the heavier pack in a scrum on their line and conceded penalty try, converted by Rob Cook.

It seemed a comeback was on when the Pirates intercepted another Doncaster mistake for Drew Locke to steal a try, converted by Cook to reduce the deficit to nine poins.

But the Knights refused to bow to pressure and McIlwaine eased the tension with another McIlwaine penalty while centres Fred Burdon and Oli Goss terrorised the Cornish backs.

Flockhart’s break saw the Pirates concede another penalty and McIlwaine obliged with the Knights looking for a bonus-point sealing fourth try.

Latu Makaafi was slow to chase down a last-ditch chip by Pirates for a line-out on the Knights try-line but the hosts held on for the win.

Knights: D McIlwaine, D Flockhart, O Goss, PJ Gidlow (F Burdon 29), M Keating, T Luke, C Hallam (L Audis 78), T Davies, S Boden (J Yeandle 55), Alex Brown (Andy Brown 30), M Challinor, G Kenworthy (M Noone 40), L Makaafi, D Bradford (Z Farivarz 55), C Planchant (A Boyde