Cornish Pirates 34 Doncaster Knights 17: Knights suffer first away defeat of year

Aaron Carpenter, left, scored Knights' second try. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
Aaron Carpenter, left, scored Knights' second try. Photo by Glenn Ashley.
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Doncaster Knights suffered their first Championship defeat on the road this year in yesterday’s clash.

Pirates completed a league double over the Knights after running in five tries to claim a bonus point 34-17 victory in what was a must-win game for them in their efforts to make the play-offs.

Despite finishing empty handed, Knights retained fourth spot but missed out on the chance to reclaim third place from Ealing, who were without a game, and also put more distance between themselves and the chasing pack.

Both Pirates and Jersey, who will travel to Castle Park on Saturday week having become the first side to beat London Irish this season, can now finish in the top-four if they win their two remaining games and other results go their way.

Pirates adapted to the windy conditions better in the opening quarter and had a try disallowed before taking the lead when the referee awarded them a penalty try.

It was a double blow for Knights who also had second-rower Glen Young sin-binned for a professional foul as Pirates looked to drive over.

Pirates made their extra man count and added a second try – a looping pass by fly-half Lawrence May sending wing Max Bodily over unopposed in the corner.

Knights belatedly started to put some pressure on the home line and wing Dougie Flockhart opened their account with an easy penalty from under the posts to make it 12-3.

But Pirates hit back within a couple of minutes to stretch their lead to 19-3.

They moved the ball from left to right just inside the Doncaster half to wing Kyle Moyle, who showed good footwork to go past Jack Ram and Andy Bulumakau to race into space and hold off the cover to score a try out wide which Lawrence May converted to make it 19-3.

Knights enjoyed hauled themselves back into a game which had looked to be getting away from them when hooker Ben Hunter touched down for a try from a maul on the stroke of half-time which Flockhart converted to cut the interval deficit to just nine points. Having had No 8 Tom Duncan sin-binned just before the break, Pirates started the second half a man down but increased their lead on 44 minutes – Moyle getting on the end of an astute grubber kick by Lawrence May, who also added the extras. May was also on target with a penalty to make it 29-10.

Knights grabbed a second converted close-range try by No 8 Aaron Carpenter, a former Pirates player.

But there was to be no late match-winning rally from Knights on this occasion with Lawrence May hammering the final nail into their coffin with a well-worked try at the death.