Bedford Blues 31 Doncaster Knights 23: Late penalties leave beaten Knights empty-handed

Doncaster Knights fought hard at Goldington Road last night but lost for the second time in the Championship as they were beaten by three tries to two in an entertaining and highly competitive game.

Saturday, 2nd October 2021, 10:57 am
Knights head coach Steve Boden. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

The Knights were unfortunate not to earn a losing bonus point and were prevented from doing so by a late penalty from Bedford fly-half Will Maisey.

Doncaster started promisingly as flanker John Kelly and winger Jack Spittle threatened, but it was Welsh winger Kyle Evans who almost scored after seven minutes following a burst by back row forward and captain Sam Graham.

However, Evans was tackled into touch a few metres from Bedford’s line.

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Despite this aggressive opening, Bedford opened the scoring in a close contest with two penalties from fly half Will Maisey, punishing Doncaster’s mistakes.

But the Blues’ 6-0 lead was cut to 6-3 when the accurate goal kicking of fly half Sam Olver put over a penalty.

The pack drove to Bedford’s line and after several raids, prop Gaz Denman smashed his way over, and with Olver converting, Doncaster seized a 10-6 lead.

Bedford fought back through winger Pat Topley who grabbed the ball after hesitant defending, but Doncaster’s pack then created pressure on Bedford’s line resulting in scrum-half Alex Dolly shooting over for the teams’ second try. Olver’s second conversion stretched the lead.

The second half began badly for Doncaster as Bedford’s attack set up a thrilling try for full back Rich Lane. Maisey’s conversion now put Bedford one point ahead at 18-17.

The Midlanders maintained the pressure and with more ball won a line-out which created a third try-this time for replacement forward Tui Uru, and with Maisey converting again, Doncaster fell further behind at 25-17. The Knights, though, are resilient and reduced the gap to 25-20 once Olver’s penalty went over. Olver struck again with another penalty-slashing Bedford’s advantage to only 25-23.

But Doncaster’s chances disappeared as Maisey put over two penalties.