Doncaster Knights 20 Coventry 19: Knights off to winning start in Championship Cup

Doncaster Knights Glen Kenworthy. Picture Tony Johnson.
Doncaster Knights Glen Kenworthy. Picture Tony Johnson.

There wasn’t a pot of gold for Doncaster Knights at the end of the end of the rainbow which shone brightly above Castle Park at the start of their inaugural group game against Coventry.

But they did get their Championship Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 20-19 victory over the visitors despite blowing hold and cold over the 80 minutes.

Taking into account the fact that Knights hadn’t won at home since their second game of the season, they would probably have settled for any kind of win prior to the start – though head coach Glen Kenworthy had wanted the team to ‘put on a show’ for the Castle Park faithful in the process.

They didn’t quite manage to do that – at least not for the full 80 minutes - but they deserved to take the spoils on the day.

Looking to build on their first win in six games last time out, Knights made a confident start and mixed their tactics well and it was no more than they deserved when fly-half Charlie Foley kicked them into an early lead.

With their pack dominating the forward exchanges, and Coventry conceding penalties at regular intervals, Knights dominated the first half-hour or so and should have had more to show for their efforts.

After previously going close on several occasions down the middle, Knights decided to move the ball out wide on 19 minutes with centre Will Owen latching on to a long ball by Foley and rounded his marker before sprinting to the line to celebrate his first start of the season with a try.

Knights looked to be in again when speedy wing Curtis Wilson got away down the right from deep inside his own half but possibly fearing that former team-mate Andy Bulumakau was closing him down he elected to pass inside to Foley rather than back himself to score a fourth try in two games and the move fizzled out,

Foley extended Doncaster’s lead to 13-0 with an easy 38th minute penalty.

Coventry finished the half strongly and scrum-half Tom Kessell went blind and from a driving maul to send wing Junior Bulumakau over from close range to make it13-5 at the interval.

Coventry, who could consider themselves fortunate to be only eight points adrift at that stage, dominated the opening ten minutes of the second half and could have cut the deficit had fly-half Will Maisey managed to hang on to the ball after intercepting a loose pass out wide about 30m out.

Coventry did close the gap when a tremendous long-range run by Junior Bulumakau, who knocked defenders off like someone swotting a fly, created the position from which James Stokes scored near enough for Mainsey to add the extras.

Young dual-registered back-rower Ciaran Booth gave Knights a bit more breathing space on when handing off a defender just outside the Coventry 22 and scrambling over the line for his first try for the club.

Coventry set-up a grandstand finish with an injury-time converted try by Stokes, but Knights saw the game out.

Knights: Jarvis, Wilson, Clark, Owen, Lewis, Foley, Dawson; Williams, Hunter, Quigley, Challinor, Eames, Ryan, Hills, Pitman. Rep: Malcolm, Hislop, Sprotson, Booth, Hayes, James, Cowell.