Rugby Union: Seventh hell as Knights lose lead

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Cornish Pirates 31

Doncaster Knights 18

RELEGATION threatened Doncaster Knights ran out of steam at promotion chasing Cornish Pirates and returned from Cornwall empty handed.

Two first half tries from Rhys Buckley gave the Championship’s basement side a foundation for a potential upset.

But Clive Griffiths’ struggling outfit could not maintain the intensity of their performance on a very soggy pitch after the break and slipped to a seventh straight defeat in all competitions.

Knights’ latest reverse leaves them five points adrift at the bottom of the Championship with seven games left to salvage their second tier status.

Pirates got off to the best possible start when hooker Darren Semmens fell over the line following a driving maul.

Kieran Hallett landed the conversion but Knights responded well, Buckley forcing his way over after another rolling maul.

Hallett then slotted over a penalty but the visitors were gaining in confidence and drew level when Buckley scored almost an identical try.

Hallett and Dougie Flockhart exchanged penalties to send the sides in 13-13. Knights had ended the half on top and also started the second period in positive fashion.

But they failed to turn that superiority into points and once Semmens went over for his second score and Hallett kicked another penalty, the game drifted away.

Laurie McGlone and Matt Evans later touched down to earn the Pirates a bonus point win and before Doncaster added a late score through Chris Planchant.

Knights: Keating, Flockhart, Braid, Simpson (Lennard 63), Lewis, Luke, Bedford (Hallam 72), Davies (sin-bin 3-13, McGovern 74), Buckley (Bergmanis 77), Francis (Cronin 56), Challinor, Parsons (Smith 62), Kettle (Cronin 8-18), Hafu (Pailor 74), Planchant.

Tries: Buckley (2), Planchant.

Pen: Flockhart.

Yellow card: Davies.