Rugby report: Nottingham 30 Doncaster Knights 36

Action from Doncaster Knights v Munster A at Castle Park. Tyler Hotson in action for the Knights.
Action from Doncaster Knights v Munster A at Castle Park. Tyler Hotson in action for the Knights.

Doncaster Knights celebrated their first visit to Lady Bay with a bonus point 36-30 Greene King IPA Championship win over Nottingham.

Knights, who didn’t enjoy the best of records at Meadow Lane during the Green and Whites’ spell at Notts County’s home, shrugged off a patchy first half display to claim the spoils and climb into the top-four.

Knights boss Clive Griffiths made just one change to his starting line-up, Bevan Armitage coming in for the injured Mat Clark at centre.

The Welshman drafted in former Plymouth Albion hooker Ted Stagg on the bench.

The Green and Whites fielded a much-changed side to the one which completed a Championship double over them last season with over a dozen of the club’s 2014-15 leaving during the summer.

Desperately unlucky not to at least share the spoils with relegated London Welsh in their opener at Castle Park eight days earlier, raced into an early 9-0 lead courtesy of the boot of Dougie Flockhart.

Lawrence Rayner reduced the deficit with a brace of penalties – the second following a yellow card skipper Michael Hills.

Hills time in the sin-bin proved very costly with the home side, narrowly beaten at Cornish Pirates in their opener, cashing in on their numerical advantage to score two quickly-taken tries – the second being converted by Rayner to give his side an 18-9 lead.

No sooner had flanker Hills returned to the fray than Knights claimed their first try – Canadian international second-rower Tyler Hotson touching down from a well-worked catch and drive.

Knights’ whose first half performance had fallen a long way short of that against Welsh, knew they needed to play better in the second half if they were to turn the tables.

Things didn’t look too promising when Notts scored a third try, also from a catch and drive, shortly after the restart to make it 23-14.

No 8 Ollie Stedman sparked off Knights’ match-winning comeback when scoring from close range near enough for Flockhart to convert,

Flockhart was short with an ambitious penalty attempt but the sizeable Doncaster following didn’t have to wait long to cheer another score – last season’s top try-scorer flanker Latu Makaafi going over for his third of the season to put Knights back in front for the first time since the first quarter.

Flockhart failed to add the extras but made no mistake when Doncaster were awarded a penalty try.

Full-back Billy Robinson secured his side a bonus point try at the death with Rayner’s conversion also earning the home side a losing bonus point try.

Nottingham: Robinson; Coghlan-Murray, Woods, Hakalo, Iongi; Rayner, Veennedaal; Davies,Harris, Carey, Freeman, Montagu, Morris, Langley, Grant. Rep: Vickers, Hoard, Eames, Cooper, McConnell, Millett, Andrew.

Doncaster Knights: Jarvis; Flockhart, Bulumakau, Armitage, Hurrell; Cusack, Heaney; List, Hunter, Quigley, Challinor, Phelan, Makaafi, Hills, Stedman. Rep: Bergmanas, Stagg, John, Phelan, Shaw, Lewis, Edgerley.