MATCH REPORT: Doncaster Knights 18 Cornish Pirates 18

A LAST gasp penalty denied the Knights their first win since January in a rollercoaster clash with Cornish Pirates.

The lead changed hands three times in the last 15 minutes before a 40 metre penalty from Kieron Hallett with almost the last kick of the game ensured a share of the spoils.

Victory slipped away from the Knights when Alex Cheeseman went over four minutes from time.

But they looked to have snatched a much-needed win in the dying seconds of normal time when Rhys Buckley capped a powerful maul by touching down.

But Hallett’s late, late heroics for the Pirates saw the contest end as a tie.

The exciting conclusion to the contest was by no means a reflection of the game as a whole with both sides lacking quality and ideas in the main.

After surviving an early onslaught from the visitors, the Knights went in front when Jamie Lennard landed a long range penalty from just inside the opposition half.

The two sides exchanged plenty of kicks without really working the spaces well, ensuring the game would be bogged down in the middle of the park for a good stretch of the first 20 minutes.

And when the kicking game faded out, it was not pretty as neither side produced anything particularly productive.

The Pirates drew level on 25 minutes when Hallett landed a simple penalty and the balance would not change until the last few minutes of the half.

David Bradford was yellow carded after repeated infringements from the Knights and the Pirates went for touch with the penalty.

The five metre line out became a maul and the powerful Cornish pack made their advantage tell as they surged over the whitewash with Joe Buckle given the credit.

Doncaster improved in the second half and enjoyed the majority of possession and territory.

Lennard narrowed the gap to two points on 53 minutes with a simple penalty conversion.

And a try from nothing took them ahead with 15 minutes to go.

Full back Dante Mama collected a kick deep in his own half and, rather than sending it straight back, set off on a superb run well into the opposing half.

Support was excellent and the ball was moved quickly out to Chris Planchant who dived over in the corner.

The Knights defended their slender lead well until the 76th minute when their line broke.

Cornish exploited gaps out wide superbly with another display of quick ball movement out to Cheeseman for a simple score which Hallett converted well.

Just when it looked as though the game had gone, the Knights struck.

Dave Ewers was sinbinned for the Pirates and Doncaster made the advantage tell.

A maul formed from a five metre lineout and the Knights surged over the line with Buckley given the credit for dotting down.

Lennard’s conversion from the touchline gave the Knights a three point lead heading into stoppage time.

Conceding a penalty on half way would prove disastrous for the hosts, particularly when their attempts to hold up play led to the referee moving the ball forward ten metres.

Hallett stepped up confidently and sent the kick between the posts to level the scores mere seconds before the final whistle.

The Knights’ quest to end their 15 match winless streak will take them to Yorkshire rivals Leeds Carnegie next Friday.

Knights: 15 Mama, 14 Flockhart, 13 Simpson, 12 Tincknell, 11, Lewis, 10 Lennard, 9 Hallam, 1 Davies, 2 Buckley, 3 McGovern, 4 Challinor, 5 Hoy, 6 Kettle, 7 Bradford, 8 Planchant.

Replacements: 16 Brown, 17 Cronin, 18 Boyde, 19 Parsons, 20 Barrett, 21 Silver, 22 Sowery.

T: Planchant, Buckley.

P: Lennard (2)

C: Lennard

Pirates: 15 Evans, 14 Bedford, 13 Riley, 12 Cheeseman, 11 Kessell, 10 Hallett, 9 Cattle, 1 Storer, 2 Yeandle, 3 Pavor, 4 Lyons, 5 Johnson, 6 Morgan, 7 Buckle, 8 McGlone.

Replacements: 16 Andrew, 17 Elloway, 18 Joyce, 19 Ewers, 20 Burgess, 21 Penberthy, 22 Fatialofa.

T: Buckle, Cheeseman

P: Hallett (2)

C: Hallett

Att: 1,121