Doncaster Knights 33 Coventry 41: Another disappointing result as season draws to close
In recording a 41-33 victory at Castle Park Coventry hammered home just what a disappointing Championship campaign it has been for Doncaster Knights.
A side more accustomed in recent years to lording it in the top-four look destined to finish in the bottom four for the first time since returning to the Championship.
Despite seeing their outside hopes of a top-six finish dashed the previous weekend Knights still hoped to go out on a high with victory in what looked to be two winnable home games.
The visit of a Coventry side yet to win away from home in the league since being promoted last season certainly presented Knights with the perfect opportunity to return to winning ways and post a third successive home win for the first time this season.
Sadly, for Bank holiday crowd it didn’t turn out that way and Knights had to settle for a try bonus point.
Credit Coventry. They came to play. But Knights made it easy for them at times with handling errors which contributed to two of their tries.
The visitors took a 7-0 lead when the ball popped out of a ruck close to the line. Fly-half Will Maisey, who kicked well all afternoon, added the extras.
Although he kicked an early penalty Doncaster’s Dougie Flockhart had more of a mixed afternoon.
Knights enjoyed the better of the territorial exchanges in the first quarter and fly-half Sam Olver almost got Paul Jarvis in with a clever kick prior to going off injured after a heavy tackle which resulted in several positional changes.
Knights led for the only time in the game on 22 minutes when Jarvis, who had switched to full-back, touched down from Morgan Eames untidy offload close range after several forwards had been held inches short.
The game got away from Knights in the third quarter with former skipper Will Owen and Maisey both touching down – the latter from an interception -and they led 24-8 when Flockhart kicked a late penalty.
The second half didn’t get off to the best of starts for Knights with prop Robin Hislop being sin-binned for a foul tackle.
But Flockhart reduced the deficit with a 38-metre penalty only for Coventry to open up a 31-14 lead.
Knowing that Coventry had led by such a score against Nottingham last time out only to lose by a point, Knights still entertained hopes – especially when replacement prop Colin Quigley touched down for a converted try on 59 minutes.
Flockhart hit the post with a 40m penalty which would have clopped the gap to seven points with ten minutes to go.
But it was ‘game on’ when hooker James Malcolm touched down for a converted try.
A Maisey penalty and converted try put Coventry out of reach but Knights had the final say when Tom James touched down from a superb touchline burst by Cameron Cowell.
Knights: Cowell, Flockhart, Roberts, Foley, Jarvis, Olver, Polataivao; Hislop, Hunter, Beech, Eames, Civetta, Burrows, Calladine, Pitman. Rep: Malcolm, List, Quigley, Challinor, Hills, James, Wilson.