DONCASTER Knights came away empty-handed from their opening Championship Promotion play-off Pool B game at Cornish Pirates yesterday.
“That was the most disappointing thing about the game,” said Knights’ boss Lynn Howells following the club’s 33-25 defeat.
“I can’t honestly say that we ever looked like winning the game, even though it was only 16-13 at half-time, but we deserved a losing bonus point.
“They got away from us in the middle of the second half and although we came back and finished strongly and scored two late tries, it wasn’t quite enough.
“It wasn’t the game that I had expected; it was a kicking more than anything else and it was a scrappy with a tense atmosphere about the place.
“A couple of their tries were fortunate in that they had the bounce of the ball, but that’s what rugby is all about.”
What was always going to be a tough game against a Pirates side beaten just once at home in the league, became even more so due to injuries and their two dual-registered Leeds players being unavailable.
The Knights camp was also hit by illness overnight with both prop Lewis Thiede and second-rower Dom Parsons going down with bugs.
Because of the fact that Knights, who had to include assistant coach Brett Davey on the bench, were already down on numbers, Thiede played for 48 minutes with Parsons coming on as a late replacement.
“It was disappointing not to come away with something but we were far from disgraced by a team who finished above us and whose budget is bigger than ours,” said Howells.
“This part of the competition it is all about winning your home games and trying to pick up something away.
“We failed to do that today so we’ve got to make sure we win both our forthcoming back-to-back home games.”