Bedford Blues 35 Doncaster Knights 29: Late try sends Knights to seventh successive defeat

Two-try Latu Maakafi
Two-try Latu Maakafi

Doncaster Knights again suffered the agony of a late defeat as Bedford Blues snatched a dramatic 35-29 Championship victory at Goldington Road.

Knights were just seconds away from claiming their first league success since late September when Bedford fly-half Jake Sharp grabbed his second try to secure his side a bonus-point win.

Second-bottom Knights had looked set to end a run of six successive league defeats when the trusty boot of wing Dougie Flockhart edged them into a 29-28 lead just three minutes from time,

But they were unable to run down the clock for the second successive game and a knock-on in their own 22 gave Bedford another roll of the dice which they grabbed with both hands.

Knights had led for the majority of the match and even some of the home supporters would agree that their efforts deserved better than a losing bonus point - though others would point to the fact that Blues scored four tries to two.

Knights took full advantage of the notorious slope in the first half to go in 23-9 ahead.

Seeking a third win over the Blues this season, Knights scored the first try of the match in the closing stages of the first half to lead 16-9.

Fly-half Piers Francis dummied his way into space to create the position from which flanker Latu Makaafi touched down near enough for Flockhart to land a fourth goal.

Knights’ decision to go for a second try from a kickable penalty paid dividends as Maakafi touched down for a second converted from a driving maul.

Knights, who had lost No 8 Alex Shaw earlier, had to make second change shortly after the break when scrum-half Brad Field suffered a knock.

Knights rode their luck as Bedford had a try disallowed for double movement before the home side breathed a collective sigh of relief when wing Andy Bulumakau made a mess of a two-on-one following agood break on 50 miniutes.

But when Bedford were penalised in the resulting tackle Flockhart made it 26-9.

Wing Pat Tapley threw the home side a lifeline, scrambling over for a try goaled by Pritchard after being tripped,

On the back-foot for most of the second half, Knights suffered a double blow in the final quarter - Jarvis being sin-binned for killing the ball and wing Dean Adamson crossing wide out several minutes later following good handling from a lineout.

A misjudged option to chip kick deep in his own half by Francis led to Sharpe’s converted try which edged the Blues into the lead for the first time at 28-26.

Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Catchpole, Armitage, Bulumakau, Francis, Field, Bergmanas, Hunter, Quigley, Challinor, Phelan, Makaafi, Hills, Shaw. Rep: List, Veikoso, Hotson, John, Eggleshaw, Roberts, Bravo.