Doncaster Knights head coach Glen Kenworthy insists the SSE National League One title is still in their hands despite slipping up at second-placed Rosslyn Park on Saturday.
Long held favourites for promotion this season, Knights were looking to strengthen their position at the top but instead saw their lead cut to just four points as Rosslyn Park won 21-18.
Trailing 11-6 at half-time – Dougie Flockhart with two penalties – Knights hit back with tries from Tyson Lewis and a late David Clark effort but with the hosts adding a score of their own, the difference proved just too much.
With just three games remaining of this season’s SSE National League One campaign, things could hardly be closer as the battle for promotion to the Championship hots up.
And, while conceding their rivals were worthy victors, Kenworthy was already doing his sums to make sure his side cross the line first.
“All credit to Rosslyn Park, they were worthy winners over the course of the 80 minutes, too little too late from our boys, but we know what we’ve got to do,” said Kenworthy.
“We’ve got to go and win three games out of three now. I think we’ve got to score 13 points out of 15 to ensure that we go up. I’m sure Park will get 15 out of 15 in their remaining games.
“We’ve got to get 13 points, one of those games has to be a bonus-point win and the other two have got to be wins, it’s in our hands.
“We knew Rosslyn Park could be a banana skin and as it turned out we let ourselves down badly on game management at times and it cost us the game.”
With so much riding on the match, the opening stages were a tight affair with Scott Sneddon and Flockhart trading penalties before Hugo Ellis’ crossed the whitewash to nudge the hosts in front.
Both Sneddon and Flockhart split the posts again to keep the scores ticking over although Knights were temporarily reduced to 13 men as Chris Hallam and Ross Davies saw yellow either side of half-time.
But their defence held firm with only a third Sneddon penalty conceded before Lewis’ try on the hour, converted by Flockhart, got them back within a point at 14-13.
The visitors were dealt a blow when Jack Gash crossed on 75 minutes, converted by Sneddon, and while Clark went over deep into stoppage time, Kenworthy admits the damage had already been done.
“It was too little too late from us, we scored two fabulously-worked tries, you can say a catch and drive line is a well-worked try which it is and that’s their forte, but we gifted them field position,” he added.
“Our scrum was a lottery, they are every week now, but you’ve got to take it on the chin that we were the transgressors at the scrum.
“We’ve got to play our normal game and make sure we finish the chances we’re undoubtedly going to create.”
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