Doncaster Knights 48 Hartpury 38

Tyson Lewis in action against Hartpury. Photo: Marie Caley
Tyson Lewis in action against Hartpury. Photo: Marie Caley

Doncaster Knights ran up their highest Championship score of the season when beating Hartpury 48-38 in their first-ever meeting at Castle Park.

Knights ran in eight tries and produced some impressive handling to avenge a 29-27 defeat at Hartpury earlier in the season.

But the fact that the visitors scored six tries for the first time at this level served to take some of the gloss off a bonus point win which cemented their top-four place.

They twice led in the first half and proved difficult to shake off and only trailed by just five points well into the final quarter prior to Knights scoring twice without reply to open up their biggest lead of the game.

Knights pack worked hard in both the loose and set-pieces and claimed four of the tries with the backs making good use of the best playing conditions in recent weeks to show their paces.

Centre Andy Bulumakau, wing Tyson Lewis and full-back Paul Jarvis, who proved a real handful for the Hartbury defence whenever he had ball in hand, all caught the eye.

They wasted no time in throwing down the gauntlet with full-back Mike Wilcox racing in from the edge of the Doncaster 22 after joining the attack from an attacking maul.

Hooker Ben Hunter scored the first of his two tries against his former club following good work in the front of the lineout by prop Joe Sprotson.

Lewis then showed blistering pace to create a try for No 8 Josh Tyrell after popping up in midfield just outside the Hartpury 22.

Utility back Charlie Foley added the extras to make it 12-5.

Knights conceded a fourth try by a Hartbury player wearing the No 9 shirt this season when Harry Cochrane capitalised a huge gap to score from 30 metres out. When centre Luke Eves touched down from a kick through Knights trailed 17-12.

But the sin-binning of flanker Will Safe for the rest of the half saw Knights score two unanswered touchdowns to claim a try bonus point and come in leading 24-17.

Foley provided the try-scoring pass out of the tackle for Bullumakau to score with the centre then linking with wing Curtis Wilson, who didn’t get much chance to shine, down the right to create the position from which skipper Michael Hills went through a gap.

Hunter’s second close-range start rewarded a strong start to the second half by Knights and saw them open up a 14-point lead.

Hartbury hit straight back with wing George Perkins making the running for Steven Leonard’s try out wide.

Despite second-rower Tom Hicks being in the sin-bin Lewis raced in at the corner on 61 minutes.

But when Hartpury scored again to cut Doncaster’s lead 36-31 it was ‘game-on’ again.

Tries by Adam Batt and Tom James – who backed up a break by Bulumakau and was arguably the pick of the bunch – put the result beyond doubt.

Knights: Jarvis, Wilson, A Bulumakau, Clark, Lewis, Foley, Heaney, List, Hunter, Sproston, Challinor, Hicks, Ram, Hills, Tyrell. Rep: Bergmanas, Nelson, Williams, Batt, Hill, James, Cusack.