Rotherham Titans 19 Doncaster Knights 36: Derby double for Knights but Titans belie lowly positiion
Wing Curtis Wilson scored an injury-time try to secure Doncaster Knights a bonus point 36-19 Championship derby win against Rotherham Titans at Clifton Lane.
One of five Doncaster players to have previously worn the Rotherham colours, Wilson brushed off several defenders to touch down for the third game in succession as Knights posted their first league win in three months.
Knights proved deserved winners of the game but the final scoreline was perhaps a little harsh on a Rotherham side who were still very much in contention going into the final quarter.
Titans spirit and commitment certainly belied the fact that they are rooted to the foot of the table without a win to their name all season in any competition.
Knights, whose victory checked their slide down the Championship table, drew first blood when former Rotherham centre Will Owen sliced through for an early try.
Recalled fly-half Simon Humberstone, who again kicked well, added the extras to make it 7-0.
Titans capitalised on their extra man – Knights hooker Ben Hunter receiving treatment at the time after halting a determined midfield run by powerful wing Jake Henry - to draw level when centre Drew Cheshire rounded off a bout of expansive handling.
Fly-half Caolan Ryan, who formed part of a new half-back combination, added the extras and also kicked three penalties – one from his own half – to open up a 16-7 lead.
Knights, for whom full-back Paul Jarvis had earlier gone close, regained the momentum and Hunter touched down from a driving maul. Humberstone again added the extras but the visitors still trailed 16-14 at the break.
Humberstone rewarded a lively start to the second half by Knights, restoring their lead with a penalty quickly cancelled out by Ryan.
Scrum-half Michael Heaney touched down out wide for Doncaster’s third try on 55 minutes to put the visitors 22-19 up after prop Colin Quigley, who formed part of a hard-working pack, supplied the crucial pass.
The home side tested Knights on both flanks and through their forwards during a sustained spell of pressure.
Humberstone, who was ankle-tapped when looking a likely scorer, gave Knights more breathing space when converting three further penalties – the first one from his own half – to make it 31-19.
Titans pressed for a losing bonus point but Knights held out before putting the seal on a second league win over their South Yorkshire rivals.
Titans: Thomas, B Foley, Cheshire, Barker, Henry, Ryan, Davies; Williams, Murphy, Nixon, Postlethwaite, Louw, Peters, Maddison, Calladine. Replacements: Williams, Cole, Palmer, Grange, Burns, Millar, Odogwa.
Knights: Jarvis, Wilson, Clark, Owen, Lewis, Humberstone, Heaney; List, Hunter, Quigley, Challinor, Civetta, Ram, Hills, Shaw. Replacements: Nelson, Bergmanas,Sproston, Eames, Batt, James, C Foley.