Coventry 17 Doncaster Knights 23: Knights secure important away win

Ollie Stedman
Ollie Stedman

Doncaster Knights became only the second side to win at the Butts Park Arena this season when battling their way to a 23-17 Championship victory over Coventry.

The Castle Park side remain in the bottom four of the table at the midway point of the season but with back-to-back games against teams below them the league table could make for much better reading come the end of the month.

Knights have been guilty of not playing for the full 80 minutes during a run of five successive league and cup defeats.

But that accusation couldn’t be levelled against them as they came from 17-10 down in the final quarter to beat seventh-placed Coventry and claim only their fourth Championship win of the season.

Leaders London Irish are the only other side to win at Coventry this season.

It was flanker Ollie Stedman, who has quickly produced the sort of form which made him such an influential forward during his first spell at the club since arriving from Ealing, who sparked off Knights’ match-winning rally,

He broke the line on the edge of the Coventry 22 and then knocked off two would-be defenders in typical style to score near enough for the club’s record points scorer Dougie Flockhart to convert to level the scores.

One of several players recalled to the back division after regulars Curtis Wilson, Cam Cowell, Kurt Morath and Paul Jarvis were all ruled out, the Scot kicked Knights into the lead on 72 minutes prior to landing a much longer penalty three minutes later.

Knights drew first blood on ten minutes after Josh Tyrell had gone close. Fly-half Sam Olver, starting his first game since joining the club on loan from Ealing last month, found a chink in Coventry’s armour to send recalled full-back Steve McColl over for a try converted by Flockhart.

Speedy wing Tyson Lewis just beat Max Trimble to a clever grubber-kick in his own in goal area.

Coventry found themselves down to 14 men when Adam Peters was sin-binned for making a tackle without using his arms on 26 minutes.

Knights failed to capitalise on their numerical advantage and the home side cut their lead to two points on the half hour when Will Maisey beat scrum-half Tom James – one of the quickest scrum-halves in the competition – to another pin-point grubber kick by Pete White.

The Midlands side finished the half on top and carried on from where they had left off at the start of the second with White touching down from the kick-off following good work by Dan Faleafa and Peters.

Flockhart cut the deficit to 12-10 with a 46th minute penalty but when Scott Tolmie touched down from a catch-and-drive Coventry fancied their chances of repeating their Championship Cup win over Knights on the same ground last month.

But in the end they had to settle for a losing bonus point.

Knights: McColl, Flockhart, Owen, Creed, Lewis, Olver, James; Hislop, Hunter, Quigley, Civetta, Tyrell, Stedman, Hills, Pitman. Rep: Mayhew, Williams, Sproston, Lomidze, Calladine, Seniloli, Foley.