Doncaster Knights 37 Richmond 5: Debutants Maliq Holden and Joe Margetts give Knights fresh impetus
Doncaster Knights’ successful demolition of Richmond by six tries to one at Castle Park, their fourth league win in six games, moved them into fourth place in the Championship and onto 18 points.
Knights are starting to show their potential but are still behind Jersey Reds, Cornish Pirates and promotion favourites Ealing Trailfinders who confront Doncaster at Castle Park in three weeks, a huge challenge for coach Steve Boden and his squad.
Their best performance of the campaign stood out in particular because of the encouraging displays by two backs, winger Maliq Holden and centre Joe Margetts, both of whom scored tries on their debuts for the club having joined from Cornish Pirates and Hartpury respectively.
Doncaster started brilliantly as Holden, impressive throughout, dashed to the line after only two minutes, a try which was quickly followed by one from Jack Spittle on the other wing.
Doncaster’s willingness to pass the ball rapidly created a thrilling try for Margetts in the 24th minute, a score that was created by flanker Sam Hudson who was constantly enterprising. With the conversion from fly-half Sam Olver, Doncaster now led 20-5 having dominated possession and territory.
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Richmond, unable to cope with their opponents’ pace, did though on a rare occasion they entered Doncaster’s 22 score from a line-out as Doncaster’s pack was driven back. The result was Richmond’s only try from No 8 Mark Bright, aged 43, who remains one of the fittest and most dangerous forwards in the Championship.
While the London team enjoyed more ball after the interval, Doncaster’s solid defence stayed intact and with their forwards such as Hudson, Sam Graham and John Kelly advancing, the Knights set up three more tries for centre Mark Best, scrum half Alex Dolly and right at the end for replacement winger Kyle Evans.
Having had to wait several weeks to make his debut, centre Margetts, a consistent threat, was understandably delighted with his maiden appearance.
“I’m ecstatic. I’ve been buzzing to get this opportunity and to finish it with a try is a huge bonus for me,” said Margetts.
“When you are not selected it’s easy to be down, but a big part of rugby is keeping your head up every week. Next up for us is Hartpury away in a fortnight, so it’s a big one for me.”
While highly satisfied to earn a maximum of five points, coach Boden, a tough taskmaster, was critical of some aspects of his team’s performance.
He said: “The boys who came in did a decent job but big improvements have to be made. Is this performance going to be good enough to beat Ealing or Pirates away? I don’t think it will be.”
Doncaster Knights: McBryde, Spittle, Margetts, Best (Strachan 55), Holden, Olver (Evans 46), Dolly (Green 72), Cade (Vaughan), Edgson (Roberts 55), Foster (Denman 55), Drake, Peters, Hudson, Graham (Volpi 63), Kelly.