DONCASTER Knights knew that they had a battle on their hands to beat fancied Bristol in their first home game of the 2012-13 Championship campaign at Castle Park last night.
But though they failed to avenge four defeats at the hands of the former Premiership club, who finished top of the league last season, they made a good fist of it.
There was much to admire about their defensive work and to restrict a side of Bristol’s pace and power to two tries was no mean feat, though they will need to add more attacking flair to trouble the top sides.
Knights drew first blood on six minutes when fly-half Jamie Lennard made no mistake with a 30 metre penalty.
Roberts was well wide with a drop goal attempt from a similar range on 10 minutes in their first real excursion into Doncaster territory.
They camped close to the Doncaster line for several minutes and their pressure paid off on 13 minutes when hooker Ross Johnston touched down.
Roberts added the extras to give his side a 7-3 advantage.
With Roberts calling the shots, Bristol continued to look the more dangerous side with ball in hand and centre.
Bristol increased their lead on 34 minutes when No 8 Adam Kettle failed to deal with a awkward kick over the line which bounced back over his head straight into the arms of visiting winger Ryan Edwards.
Lennard pegged three points back for Knights on 39 minutes.
Winger Edward Mama, who must have fancied his chances, dropped what looked to be a try-scoring pass on the Bristol 22. Knights cut the deficit to just three points with a straight 22 metre penalty within a minute of the restart.
Roberts restored Bristol’s six-point interval lead with a 50th minute penalty.
There hard been little to chose between the two sides in the third quarter with the respective defences on top.
Hooker Rhys Buckley almost got over on 70 minutes during Knights first spell of real pressure of the final quarter and it was Bristol’s turn to defend their line.
They were relieved to see scrum-half Louis Silver drop the ball in a good attacking position.
Matt Jones landed a late penalty to seal victory.
Knights’ experiment of Friday night rugby attracted a gate of just 1,013.