Doncaster Knights: Just champion as Knights bounce back

Knights' Paul Jarvis gets past Loughborough's Rhys Owen. Picture: Andrew Roe
Knights' Paul Jarvis gets past Loughborough's Rhys Owen. Picture: Andrew Roe

Doncaster Knights have been crowned National One champions following a solid second half display in the capital.

Despite a nervy first half Clive Griffiths’ men clinched the vital last-day victory thanks to a devastating scoring performance after the break.

Knights were dealt a blow early on during their ‘do-or-die’ fixture when Glenn Bryce went off injured but Paul Jarvis came on to make an incredible first half impact.

Doncaster were 3-0 up inside the first 10 minutes when Dougie Flockhart fired home a penalty following good work from Michael Hills in the build-up.

But Blackheath pressure was rewarded with a penalty as Simon Whatling levelled.

Knights were on the ropes for a spe but overcame it briefly when the impressive Danny Kenny powered forward to break up a promising attack.

The visitors responded with a bout of pressure of their own which paid dividends when Bevon Armitage drove on but was stopped in his tracks before off-loading into the supporting pack. And, under a sea of bodies, Hills managed to get the killer touch for Knights’ first try.

Flockhart added the extras to give Doncaster a 10-3 lead just after the half hour.

But the home club replied almost immediately as Joe Hardy used his pace to devastating effect before powering over.

Whatling’s conversion brought the match level, forcing Doncaster back to the drawing board.

Moments beforehalf time, the atmopshere switched with an incredible solo try from Jarvis. He collected a pass and drove forward before gliding past a number of challenges. Blackheath were unable to contain the Knights substitute before he dodged a final tackle and crashed over.

Flockhart pushed Doncaster further ahead as his vital extras saw Knights into a 17-10 half time lead.

Sustained home pressure told onDoncaster in the 54th minute. Knights were down a man when Richard List was given a yellow card, and the free-scoring Dave Allen crashed over in the corner to reduce the deficit to 17-15 with Whatling missing his first kick of the game.

Knights were on the backfoot with Blackheath sensing blood but the home side again failed to convert their promising work with the ball.

And they were made to pay when Armitage ghosted in to drive over and give Doncaster the bit of daylight they had been craving all game.

Flockhart’s extras saw Doncaster into a 24-15 lead with 17 minutes to spare.

Doncaster then effectively clinched the championship as a superb team move saw Adam Kettle dot down. And with Flockhart’s extras, the Knights cruised into a 31-15 lead.

The hosts were not finished as Rhys Crane collected a ball from inside to go over in the left corner with minutes remaining.

Tyson Lewis later surged through for a try, with Flockhart adding the two points, to give Doncaster two hands on the championship trophy.

Doncaster: Bryce, Flockhart, Clark, Armitage, Lewis, Lennard, Bravo, List, Hunter, Davies, Challinor, Kenworthy, Kettle, Hills, Kenny. Subs: Sodini, Brugnara, Parsons, Hallam, Jarvis.