Hartpury 21 Doncaster Knights 48: Knights ease relegation fears with biggest win of season

Tom James
Tom James

Doncaster Knights continued to ease their Championship relegation fears when recording their biggest win of the season at bottom club Hartpury,

Knights ran in six tries, all of which were converted by Dougie Flockhart who also chipped in with a couple of penalties, as they posted a 48-21 bonus point win.

The Doncaster pack produced another dominant display and were directly responsible for four of the tries with flanker Ollie Stedman bagging one in each half.

But well though the pack played arguably the two stand-out performers were scrum-half Tom James and on-loan fly-half Sam Olver.

James capped another impressive game with a brace and Olver set up two tries and created other chances in a performance which will - provided he is not recalled by Ealing – make it difficult for Tongan international Kurt Morath to win back his place when he is fit.

Boosted by their win at Coventry, whose home victory over high-flying Cornish Pirates served to highlight the achievement, Knights opened in confident style.

But they had to wait until the 15th minute to open their account - Olver and in-form prop Colin Quigley combining to send Stedman racing in from just outside the Hartpury 22.

The desperate home side, who didn’t make the best of several other chances in the first half, drew level with the first of two tries from driving mauls on 26 minutes during a period when Flockhart was in the sin-bin.

Knights regained the lead after Olver fielded a kick deep in his own half and ran across the field before releasing Tyson Lewis The busy wing fed hooker Ben Hunter who ran on before sending the speedy James racing in from just outside the Hartpury 22 to secure his side a 14-7 interval lead.

Olver was also instrumental in Knights’ third try immediately following the break.

He opened up the Hartpury defence after collecting a clearance kick about 35 metres out with some classic half-back play which saw him weave and side-step his way past several defenders. Though tackled just short he was able to set Nick Civetta up for Knights’ bonus-point try.

The home side cut the deficit with a penalty try but any hopes they may have entertained soon faded as Stedman capitalised on good work by Josh Tyrell at a turnover to push off a couple of defenders just outside the 22 on his way to the line.

Flockhart’s penalty extended the lead to 31-14.

James started and finished a move which featured good handling by prop Joe Sproston and centre Will Owen.

Hooker Nick Mayhew bagged Doncaster’s final try following good work by stand-in skipper Tom Calladine, making his first appearance for several months, in the build-up.

A touchdown from another catch-and-drive gave Hartpury hope they could pick up a try bonus but they were to finish empty-handed.

Knights: Cowell, Flockhart, Creed, Owen, Lewis, Olver, James; Hislop, Hunter, Quigley, Tyrell, Civetta, Stedman, Calladine, Ryan. Replacements: Mayhew, Williams, Sproston, Lomidze, Jones, Seniloli, Foley.