Rugby union round-up: Doncaster Phoenix stopped in their tracks

Phoenix prop Joe Lowcock in action against Wirrall. Photo: FSP Images
Phoenix prop Joe Lowcock in action against Wirrall. Photo: FSP Images

Doncaster Phoenix, after winning Yorkshire One and North One East in the past two seasons, might just have found their level as they try and cope with the harsh reality of life in National League Three North.

Phoenix went down 32-10 to new leaders Wirral in their third league match of the season.

While not exactly fighting for survival yet, they now have only two teams below them as Waterloo and Stockport still chase their first wins of the campaign.

Phoenix, who beat Waterloo 20-5 in the first game of the league season but went down 30-15 at second-placed Huddersfield on week two, were no match for Wirral’s fast, attacking backs on a Castle Park pitch that was in perfect condition for the visitors’ style of play.

Wirral opened the scoring after seven minutes with a try from open play by their fly-half Danny Harvey.

Phoenix kept their early hopes alive when full-back Will Burden levelled the score with a try just four minutes later, but the visitors took charge again with two more converted tries, one by Harvey and another by No 8 Rob Pearl.

Phoenix pulled the score back to 19-10 at half time with a try by loose head prop Joe Lowcock, but it was almost on the touchline and, like the first, went unconverted by Jamie Lennard.

Wheatley Hills are finding life even tougher in North One East and are now bottom of the table after crashing to a 66-10 defeat on their visit to Durham City, whose ten tries helped hoist them to mid-table.

Two converted tries in the first ten minutes immediately put Durham on the front foot, as Wheatley never recovered from the slow start.

Craig Dominick scored four of the nine tries for the hosts as they registered their first victory of the campaign.

Wheatley were 40-3 down when their sole try, a penalty try, was scored shortly after the break. It was converted by Owen Gillvray, who also added a penalty in the first half.

Thornensians, after their promising start to the season in Yorkshire Two, suffered their first league defeat when they went down 16-11 at Wath on Dearne.

Thorne opened the scoring with a penalty goal by fly-half Andy Barrass, which was matched by a penalty from his opposite number Jack Whitlam for Wath.

Barrass landed another for the visitors, who took an 11-3 interval lead with a try by hooker Chris Hewitt.

But Wath fought their way back into the game when Matt Burrows crashed over for a try which Whitlam converted, putting them back to within one point.

Whitlam’s second penalty midway through the second half saw Wath edge in front, and he sealed the win with a third penalty two minutes from the end.