Paul Cooke confident Doncaster Knights can avoid relegation scrap

Doncaster's Colin Quigley on the charge against Yorkshire Carnegie.
Doncaster's Colin Quigley on the charge against Yorkshire Carnegie.

Paul Cooke is confident Doncaster Knights “will be okay” despite their precarious position in the Championship table.

Knights suffered a fifth successive league and cup defeat in their final game of the year as bottom club Yorkshire Carnegie posted a bonus-point 30-22 win at Castle Park.

Carnegie’s come-from-behind victory lifted them off the bottom of the table, at the expense of Hartpury, and left Doncaster just six points better off than the basement club. 

“Both the players and the staff are disappointed but we need to be a bit better (over the 80 minutes) to win games,” said backs and skills coach Paul Cooke.

“We need to get to the bottom of why we lost as well as re-enforcing the positives over the next ten days or so in the build-up to the game against Coventry on Saturday week.

“The players are a tight group and the staff will continue to work hard to get things right and we’ll be okay.”

Fourth-bottom Knights led 22-15 just before the hour mark. 

But they finished empty handed after a late penalty in front of the posts was overturned following a foul by Josh Tyrell after the whistle had blown for the original foul by Carnegie forward Tom Hill.

“I felt that we deserved to take something out of the game and I was much encouraged by large parts of it,” said Cooke.

“We are in games but we are finding a way of losing them at the minute rather than finding a way to win them.

“We knew that Carnegie were in a false position given the signings they have made in recent weeks and we knew it was going to be a tough game.

“We came in 15-12 down at the break but we came out and put some good stuff together in the third quarter and opened up a 22-15 lead.

“We’ve got to look at the reasons we lost from the 60th minute onwards.”

Knights resume their league campaign at newly-promoted Coventry on January 12.