Jersey Reds 10 Doncaster Knights 22: Unbeaten Doncaster warm-up for Saracens with steady victory
As Doncaster prepare for arguably the toughest on-field challenge in their history since being formed in 1875 – against Saracens, the former European and English champions – at Castle Park this Saturday, the team’s self-belief was given an appropriate boost as they recorded a fifth consecutive league win to keep them in second place in the Championship on 21 points.
The 100 per cent success rate so far wasn’t seriously threatened by Jersey who were forced by Covid restrictions to move their home fixture to South Yorkshire.
However, Doncaster’s next opponents won’t be as generous as Jersey who failed to score from several promising positions and also lacked the strength or skill to build on their lead of 10-3, established after fewer than 20 minutes.
Assuming Saracens’ British and Irish Lions are all fit and available, Doncaster will face the frightening power and international skill of an array of talent who stuck with the fallen giants.
The Knights’ pack will face a mountainous task and will no doubt rise to the size of the responsibility, but they can’t afford to repeat the sluggish start against Jersey, scoring a thrilling try by scrum-half Max Green in the 18th minute before gradually beginning to win ball and territory to create three tries for the ageless lock Matt Challinor and dangerous wingers Jack Spittle and Kyle Evans.
Doncaster led 15-10 at the interval and considering the amount of possession and territory earned in the second half, it was surprising they were unable to add to the 47th minute try by Evans who was put through by the impressive full-back Billy McBryde.
Jersey Reds: Owen, Williams (Ma’afu 60), Van Breda, Roberts, Atkins, Cope, Green, Richardson (Dawe 60), Macfarlane (Edgson 77), Nicol (Higgins 71), Farrance (Bartlet 65), O’Connor (Bainbridge 60), Cook, Wynne, Argyle (Grey 40).
Doncaster Knights: McBryde, Evans, Foley, Edwards, Spittle, Olver, Warr (Mitchell 56), Hislop (Cade 61), Hunter (Holling 65), Jones (Foster 48), Challinor, Sexton (Smith 65), Kelly (Joyce 60), Graham, Volpi (Davies 70).
Referee: Hamish Smales.