DIRECTOR of rugby Brett Davey threw himself into the mix but failed to prevent his Knights’ side losing 33-29 in their British and Irish Cup opener at Nottingham.
Davey played himself at fly half at Meadow Lane and even got his name on the score sheet.
But hosts Nottingham dominated the first half and did enough to hold off a Doncaster fight back after the break to seal the win in a match where both sides rang the changes.
Nottingham opened the scoring on three minutes when Tom Callindine reached the break-down first and sprinted 35 metres, James Stokes converting.
Stokes extended the lead three minutes later with a penalty from just inside the half, then did the same on 15 minutes to put the hosts 13-0 ahead.
The Knights desperately needed to get back in the game and it was boss Davey who produced the goods, cutting through some weak tackling to score under the posts, presenting a simple conversion chance for Lee Audis.
But Nottingham hit straight back with impressive flanker Richard de Carpentier racing home from close range, Stokes adding the conversion.
Doncaster were run ragged by on-song Nottingham who added another try when centre Dante Mama charged through the defence.
An Audis penalty just before the penalty cut the deficit to 25-10 but the Knights had it all to do after the break.
They responded very well however and only strong tackling from the hosts kept them at bay.
The dangerous Latu Makaffi threw Doncaster a lifeline on 57 minutes as he bulldozed over from close range.
But Nottingham hit back straight from the kick off, De Carpentier grabbing his second to secure the bonus point.
Knights hit back with David McIwaine capping their best move of the match with a try converted by Audis.
Stokes extended Nottingham’s lead with a 65th minute fouling but team mate Joe Munro was sin-binned for persistent fouling on 71 minutes.
Doncaster had full control of the attacking play at this stage but could not make the breakthrough.
Nottingham went down to 13 men in injury time when Pienaar was also sin-binned.
David Bradford then crashed over and Audi converted to make it 33-29 but there was not enough time for the Knights to threaten further.
Doncaster Knights: Toft, Broadley, Keating, Watkins, Bateman, Davey, Audis, Brown, Thompson, Burke-Flynn, Cooke, Parsons, Makaffi, Farivarz, Kettle.
Replacements: McIlwaine, Davies, Gidlow, Boyde, Bradford, Noone, Hallam