Doncaster Knights 22 Bedford Blues 18: No dazzle but enough of a bang as Knights get back to winning ways
Doncaster Knights didn’t produce many fireworks in their Championship game against Bedford Blues at Castle Park.
But they produced a winning performance which was the order of the day, following successive defeats, against a side which finished third last season.
It was another nail-biter, however, and with Knights only leading 19-18 going into stoppage time the result could have gone either way.
Fortunately for Knights, fly-half Sam Olver scored the only points in added time from a long-range penalty which made it 22-18 and left Bedford needing to sore a third try to salvage a result.
Traditionally, games between Knights and Bedford are full of open rugby. But the heavy rain which fell for several hours before the game and for most of the first half served to put a damper on the proceedings.
Having said that the game got off to a promising start with both sides bagging early tries.
Knights struck first with Olver finding Kyle Evans, who came off his wing to good effect on several occasions, with a short ball 35 metres out and he ran on before sending the recalled Lloyd Hayes over after just two minutes.
Olver added the extras to make it 7-0 only for Bedford to reply with a close-range try by hooker Robbie Smith on ten minutes following a spell of forward pressure.
Making his first appearance for Bedford since turning out for the USA in the World Cup, fly-half Will Hooley failed to convert just as he had done with an early penalty.
He also pushed a subsequent first half penalty wide as did centre Lewis Robling.
The second quarter proved a damp squib for long periods with too much wayward kicking by both sides.
Full-back Cam Cowell produced one of the few highlights when he split the Bedford defence down the middle. But instead of electing to kick forward when finding himself without close support – which might have been a better option - he elected to try and find Evans with a long pass which the Welshman could only hack on and then watch centre Ryan Hutler clear the danger.
Olver secured Knights a 13-5 lead with penalties either side of half-time, the second following a good run by Ollie Stedman.
Bedford hit back with an excellent 35m individual try by full-back Rich Lane who touched down near enough for Hooley to convert.
Having broken his duck Hooley again hit the target to give his side a 15-13 lead and raise the prospect of a second successive home defeat for Knights.
Although Bedford had Josh Buggea sin-binned on the hour Knights failed to capitalise and could only exchange penalties.
The visitors held on to their lead until Olver’s 76th minute penalty ensured a good break into the Bedford 22 by Hayes didn’t go unrewarded.
Knights: Cowell, Evans, Hayes, Foley, Wilson, Olver, James; Hislop, Hunter, Foster, Birch, Eames, Edgson, Hills, Stedman. Rep: Holling, Thomas, Quigley, Calladine, Sproston, Pocklington, Lewis, Roberts.