Doncaster Knights got back in the win column after three successive Championship defeats, in last night’s B & I Cup clash at Goldington Road
They claimed a hard-fought 17-15 away victory over Bedford Blues in front of a 2,000 crowd, to strengthen their grip on top spot in Pool 4.
Knights, who had midweek signings Villiame Veikoso and Piers Francis) on the bench, also welcomed back scrum-half Tomasi Palu and second-rower Jon Phelan from international duty. Bedford, beaten 36-20 at Castle Park last month, rung the changes following their nine-try league defeat at Cornish Pirates.
Knights took an early 3-0 lead courtesy of the boot of wing Dougie Flockhart. Bedford suffered a blow on 14 minutes when stand-in skipper Paul Tupai was sin-binned. The ref lost patience with the Blues after several untidy scums and awarded Knights a penalty try which Flockhart goaled to give his side a 10-0 lead.
Prop Camilo Parillo-Ocampo went close to scoring as 14-man Bedford laid siege to Doncastere. Bedford’ pressure eventually paid off, Hayden Thompson-Stringer touching down from a rolling maul to make it 5-10. Full-back James Pritchard failed to add the extras and also missed with a penalty attempt in the second half. His opposite number, Paul Jarvis, gave the visitors breathing space two minutes later, collecting a loose ball and racing in for a converted try from 50 metres out.
Bedford were not ready to throw in the towel and Pritchard cut the deficit to nine points at the end of the third quarter. Knights suffered a double blow – Palu being sin-binned and centre Henry Staff dummied his way over for a converted try to make it 15-17. Flockhart was short from a penalty before Bedford bombed a good chance in a nail-biting finish.
Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Catchpole, Armitage, Lewis, Roberts, Palu, List, Hunter, Pasquali, Challinor, Phelan, Foden, Hills, Shaw. Replacements: Quigley, Bergmanas, Eggleshaw, Makaafi, Veikoso, Francis, Bravo.
Bedford: Pritchard, Tapley,Staff, Hakalo, Ellery, Mordt, Veenendaal, Williams, TJ Harris, Parilli-Ocampo, Wells, Gulliver, Tupai, Blanchet, Thompson-Stringer. Replacements: Clare,Johnny Harris, Currie, Howard, Buggea, White, Sharp.