Doncaster Knights coach upbeat despite Headingley defeat

Doncaster Knights put up a fine performance at Championship  leaders Leeds Carnegie.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Doncaster Knights put up a fine performance at Championship leaders Leeds Carnegie. Picture Bruce Rollinson
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Despite Friday’s 27-20 Championship defeat against Championship leaders Yorkshire Carnegie at Headingley, Doncaster Knights boss Clive Griffiths remains in a upbeat mood.

“Of course I was disappointed that we lost, but to be fifth in the table given our tough start to the season in terms of fixtures and the injury problems we’ve had to contend with gives me a lot of satisfaction,” said the club’s director of rugby yesterday having had time to reflect on the game.

Knights’ hopes of a fourth successive win over Carnegie, which looked bright at half-time when they deservedly led 10-6, were hampered by injuries to key players after the break in addition to play-maker Michael Heaney suffering a recurrence of an ankle injury and being replaced at half-time by dual-registered debutant Ollie Bryant.

“The plan was to hit them hard and put pressure on them in the first 10 to 15 minutes of the second half but apart from a couple of occasions when we didn’t execute properly, we went away from the plan and they hit back to lead 27-13,” said Griffiths, who will be checking on club captain Matt Challoner (ribs) today.

“But we battled to the end and showed great character by scoring a magnificent late try which Dougie Flockhart converted to earn us a losing bonus point and not many teams will achieve that at Headingley this season.”

Griffiths defended his decision to again start with wing Flockhart, who kicked two from two, on the bench given the fact that Heaney missed all three first half kicks at goal.

“Wing Sam Edgerley scored two tries on Friday, whilst nobody questioned the decision after Heaney kicked so well against Ealing the previous week,” he said.