Pipped Knights face uphill task to reach semi-finals

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DONCASTER Knights have it all to do to reach the semi-finals of the Championship Promotion Play-Offs after suffering a 17-16 Pool B defeat against Bedford Blues at Castle Park.

A late converted try secured the Blues a third victory over Knights this season to retain second spot in the four-strong pool.

“I’m still trying to work out how we lost,” said Knights No 2 Brett Davey, who took charge due to Lynn Howells going down with a stomach bug.

“We pretty much dictated the second 40 minutes but a couple of mental errors here and there and the game has gone against us.

“The disappointing thing was that we still had an opportunity (to win the game) after we had gone behind but we tried something from a lineout that we shouldn’t have tried. We’ve just got to be a lot smarter in certain situations.

“We are a fairly young side but that is the harsh realities of play-off rugby. When you are in those positions you have to give yourself an opportunity to try and win the game.

“Even if you miss a drop goal it is worth trying. That should have been the tactic but we never got ourselves in position.”

It had looked as though the game was Knights to lose when highly-rated full-back Steve McColl touched down for the try of the match on 70 minutes to make it 16-10.

“There was some great off-loading and good ball skills from James Craig and Steve McColl and Dougie Flockhart as well,” said Davey..

“We are massively disappointed because it is a game we felt we could have won.

“We’ve had a good back line most of the season and we felt that we had the edge.

“We had a platform up front; I thought the forwards were particularly good today as well. I’m at a bit of a loss really. It was one of those games scratching about thinking: how have lost the game?

“We really felt that had we won today that we would have given ourselves a massive opportunity to qualify.

“But we’ve got three games left and we know that there is not a lot between the two sides so we’ve got to go to Bedford on Saturday (in the return) were we might have an opportunity to right the wrongs from this week. It’s certainly nothing to fear.

“We are probably not quite ready for promotion. We are still on a big learning curve and that is really important.

“We are starting to get a bit more local identity as well, which is going to be key for the next two or three years.

“It’s a busy time. We are talking to players and we are hoping to make some announcement this week about some signings.”