Doncaster Knights boost faint title hopes with final round victory at Nottingham

Doncaster Knights laid down the gauntlet to Ealing Trailfinders in the battle for the Championship title by securing a 26-5 bonus point win at Nottingham in their final league game on Friday night.

By Sportsdesk
Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 9:14 am
Updated Saturday, 2nd April 2022, 9:43 am

Knights’ 17th league victory from 20 games gave them a two-point lead at the top of the table.

Ealing are expected to beat mid-table Richmond today to be crowned champions – but the Londoners now know they have no room for error.

Should they lose, draw or claim two bonus points, Knights would win the title by virtue of winning more games.

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George Edgson

Regardless, Steve Boden’s side can reflect on an outstanding campaign.

They won all ten games at Castle Park and are unbeaten since early December, winning 11 games on the bounce.

Two first half tries by wingers Maliq Holden and Kyle Evans were followed by two after the break by hooker George Edgson and scrum-half Lloyd Wheeldon who capitalised on powerful work by his forwards who were superior throughout a competitive contest.

Doncaster’s solid defence was broken only once effectively as just before the final whistle Nottingham centre Morgan Bunting scored his team’s only try.

Earlier, Doncaster started confidently as the pack dominated possession and territory and this control created two tries in little more than 10 minutes.

Wingers Holden and Evans were quick to take advantage of kicks ahead as they pounced on bouncing balls, and with fly-half Sam Olver converting the Knights’ second try, they led 12-0.

With forwards Sam Graham and Sam Hudson competing aggressively and charging into Nottingham’s 22, Doncaster were showing why they’d enjoyed such an impressive Championship campaign.

One aspect of the Knights’ play was the work-rate and creativity of their two centres Mark Best and Joe Margetts who both had a role in the tries for Holden and Evans.

As the half hour approached, Nottingham’s forwards at last began to threaten in Doncaster’s 22 but Knights’ defence was able to deal with the pressure.

The away side pulled further away in the second half to ensure Ealing had to win their final league game.

Nottingham: Stapley, D.Williams, Thacker, Bunting, Graham, Hollingsworth, Stronge, T.Williams, Vanes, McNulty, Hall, Andrade, Kirwan, Tweedy, Poullet.

Doncaster: McBryde, Evans, Margetts, Best, Holden, Olver, Green, Davidson, Edgson, Foster, Kelly, Murphy, Hudson, Graham, Smith.

Referee: N.Wood.