Doncaster Knights 39 Coventry 30: Flockhart-inspired Knights stay top

Knights' players celebrate Dougie Flockhart's try against Coventry. Picture: Andrew Roe
Knights' players celebrate Dougie Flockhart's try against Coventry. Picture: Andrew Roe

Dougie Flockhart returned to the starting XV with devastating effect, bagging a hat-trick in Knights’ entertaining 39-30 win over fellow promotion-chasers Coventry.

The former Scotland A winger has been in and out of the side after being struck by the Doncaster injury curse.

But he took any festering frustration out on a decent Coventry outfit with three tries, four penalties and a conversion to maintain Knights’ 100 per cent record at Castle Park.

Flockhart’s fellow winger Tyson Lewis also got on the try sheet as Doncaster came from behind to bounce back from their defeat at Wharfedale.

Their victory looked to be in some doubt as the free-scoring visitors - who went into Saturday’s game as National One’s leading scorers - bagged 20 first half points in a whirlwind eight minutes, which stunned the 1,068 crowd at Castle Park, to take a 23-18 lead into the break.

Doncaster had set their stall out to be progressive with ball in hand and enjoyed the best of the first ten minutes, opening the scoring through Flockhart in the corner.

But Coventry then struck. James Otutaha sprinted clear to score and Cliffie Hodgson obliged with the conversion.

Barry Davies kicked a penalty from all of 60 metres before Mark Kholer intercepted a loose pass from Michael Hills to extend the lead.

Hodgson converted, quickly adding a penalty to leave Knights trailing 20-8.

But, as has been the case on several occasions this season, Doncaster came battling back and had too much quality and power for the visitors.

Flockhart raced onto a kick from the industrious Bruno Bravo to reduce the deficit and, despite Hodgson adding another penalty, Knights went into the break with the wind in their sails as Lewis raced over in stoppage time to make it 18-23.

Doncaster had the wind behind them in the second half and wasted no time in turning the game on its head.

Two Flockhart penalties put the home side ahead, and on the hour mark they were awarded a penalty try which was converted by the Scot.

Man of the moment Flockhart then repeated Davies’ feat of kicking a penalty from inside his own half to increase the hosts’ lead to 11 points.

And he completed his try treble in the closing stages, breaking clear down the right, to wrap up a very satisfying afternoon on a personal and collective level.

Alex Smit’s converted try in stoppage time for Coventry reduced the deficit to nine points but there’s no doubt that Doncaster were more than worthy winners.

The Knights remain three points clear at the top of National One and play their final game of 2013 next Saturday when they are at home to bottom side Hull Ionians.

n Knights: Morris (Phillips 61), Hunter (Santamaria 68), Brugnara, Kenworthy (Spencer 70), Walker-Fitton, Challinor, Hills, Kettle, Bravo, Roberts (Lennard 68), Lewis, Armitage (Bannister 78), Clark, Flockhart, Bryce.