MATCH REPORT: Doncaster Knights 29 Melrose 30

THE Knights surrendered a 12 point half time lead as their winless run continued in the British and Irish Cup clash with Melrose.

A catalogue of errors throughout the contest cost Doncaster particularly in the second half they spent the majority of the time chasing against the Scottish outfit.

It was a poor start for the Knights as they were caught flat footed by the visitors after five minutes.

Bruce Colvine took possession ten metres out and simply strolled through the defence, even given the time to dot down under the posts to leave Andrew Skeen a simple conversion.

The Knights responded superbly and were level within two minutes.

A powerful driving maul carried them to the line with Chris Hallam diving over.

Doncaster spent much of the next ten minutes in the opposing half and made the breakthrough on 22 minutes with a fine passing move.

The ball was spread down the line superbly to Will Simpson who dived over in the corner, Jamie Lennard converting.

Fraser Thompson was yellow carded for the visitors and the Knights made the numbers advantage tell within a few minutes.

Again the ball was moved particularly well with Dan Smith diving over in the corner on his return to competitive action, Lennard adding the extras.

The Knights held the lead to the break but should have extended it only for David Bradford to fumble under little pressure.

They were punished inside the first minute of the second half after a well worked short kick off from Melrose.

The visitors pounded away on the Knights line until Gary Holborn powered over from close range with Skeen adding the conversion.

And within ten minutes the lead had switched hands as Skeen slotted over a penalty from 40m before Joe Helps drilled a low kick from a similar distance.

Lennard stopped the rot with a penalty of his own on 52 minutes to put the Knights back in front, but their cause was hit within seconds as Tom Davies was yellow carded.

The visitors re-established the lead on the hour when Bruce Dick intercepted a soft pass from Tom Luke and ran in unopposed from 40 metres.

Skeen cemented the lead 12 minutes from time with another penalty.

The Knights saw plenty of the ball over the last 15 minutes of the game but rarely forced their way into the 22 without making errors.

But on one of those rare forays, they did manage to reduce the deficit with Dougie Flockart breaking the line to score.

Flockhart stepped up and successfully converted but it was the last act of another game to forget for the Knights.

Knights: 15 Lennard, 14 Flockhart, 13 Simpson (Mama), 12 Tincknell, 11 Smith, 10 Luke, 9 Hallam, 1 Brown (Davies), 2 Sowery, 3 McGovern, 4 Hoy, 5 Parsons, 6 Boyde (Thomson), 7 Bradford, 8 Kettle.

Replacements: 17 Thomson, 18 Planchant, 19 Pailor, 20 Silver, 21 Barrett, 22 Mama.

T: Hallam, Simpson, Smith, Flockhart

C: Lennard (2), Flockart

P: Lennard

Melrose: 15 Thomson, 14 Mallin, 13 Dick, 12 Helps, 11 Kalamafoni, 10 Skeen, 9 Colvine, 1 Little, 2 Walker, 3 Holborn, 4 Ovens, 5 Miller, 6 Dalziel, 7 Runciman, 8 Nagle.

Replacements: 16 Mitchell, 17 Arthur, 18 Johnston, 32 Ferguson, 20 McCormick, 21 Mill, 22 Chalmers.

T: Colvine, Holborn, Dick

C: Skeen (3)

P: Skeen (2), Helps

Referee: Simon Rees.

Att: 778