Rugby union: Phoenix suffer rare defeat | Thornensians power on
North One East champions Doncaster Phoenix had their pride dented somewhat when they were edged out 29-24 at second-placed Morley in their penultimate match of the campaign.
But they didn’t exactly come away empty handed.
Both sides scored four tries to collect one bonus point, and Phoenix added another bonus for losing by seven points or less.
Home and away, the honours were even. Phoenix beat Morley 20-15 at Castle Park in December, which meant the aggregate scores from the two matches were 44 points apiece.
Morley clearly had a point to prove, and they lost no time in making that point.
They scored their first penalty goal after three minutes, followed by a converted try just three minutes after that. Another converted try followed on the half hour, giving them a 17-0 lead with the wind on their backs.
Phoenix finally got into the game just before half time when centre Andy Ellis raced over between the sticks to give Jamie Lennard an easy task with the conversion.
Then, early in the second half, left winger James Wright sprinted over for an unconverted try to bring the score back to 17-12.
But Morley hit back with a further converted try before Wright squeezed over in the corner for his second, which again went unconverted.
Morley restored the margin at 29-17 on the hour, and the final try came with ten minutes remaining when fly-half Lennard himself sprinted over, also landing the conversion.
But it was too little, too late, as Phoenix’s challenge was blunted by a sin binning which left them a player short for the rest of the game.
Thornensians pressed home their Yorkshire Three challenge with a nine-try 57-7 victory on their visit to bottom-placed Rotherham Phoenix.
Thorne, in second place behind unbeaten leaders Wetherby, have a game in hand and, with three matches still to play, are 13 points behind their rivals.
They quickly dominated the match at Rotherham, going 33-7 ahead by half time with tries by No 8 Ryan Pilley, full-back Tom Ambler, winger Ross Haley, centre Stuart Hughes and flanker Arran Holt, all but one converted by winger Rob Brown.
There was no let-up in the second half as Pilley crashed over for his second try, and brothers Martin (prop) and Robert (flanker) Moffatt also touched down. Rob Brown chipped in with his own try, as well as converting two out of four in the second half.