Doncaster Phoenix beaten in league opener but Thornensians and Wheatley Hills start with wins

Doncaster Phoenix kicked off their Midlands Premier Division season with a disappointing 32-12 defeat at home to Nuneaton.

Monday, 9th September 2019, 7:49 pm
Updated Monday, 9th September 2019, 7:54 pm
Matty Drennan scores for Phoenix. Photo: FSP Images

The away side burst out of the blocks to lead 19-0 and Phoenix were unable to turn the tables.

Both sides started brightly but Nuneaton took the initiative with two quickfire converted tries midway through the first period.

Phoenix were struggling to get a foothold and an attempted box kick was then picked up by the visitors on half way and after good hands along their back line they ran in a good try in the corner, which went unconverted, to go 19 points ahead.

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This sparked the hosts into life and a period of domination culminated in a well worked move which resulted in a try for scrum half Matty Drennan under the sticks, converted by fly-half Seth Adams, just before half time.

The hope was to keep Nuns out before the break but the plan faltered when the visitors kicked a penalty in front of the posts to extend their lead to 22–7.

The second half was much more even and, although Nuneaton scored an early converted try to secure a bonus point, Phoenix continued to battle hard.

Nuneaton added to their lead with a penalty on the hour mark but it was Phoenix who finished strongest and in fact gave the home crowd something to cheer about with a Charlie Cartwright try from a forward pushover in the last minute.

Having beaten Nuneaton twice at Castle Park in the last two seasons, Phoenix knew they had missed a good chance to make that a hat trick and get their season off to a winning start.

They will have to sharpen up as they now face three games on the road against Nottingham Paviors, Peterborough Lions and Sandbach before returning to Castle Park on Friday, October 4, to face South Yorkshire rivals Sheffield.

Thornensians beat North Ribblesdale 64-12 and Wheatley Hills won 56-14 against Old Rishworthians in Yorkshire Two.