London Welsh 24 Doncaster Knights 19: Under strength Knights beaten in final league game
Doncaster Knights failed to avenge their only Championship defeat of the season at Castle Park in the return against London Welsh in their final league game of the season, losing 24-19.
It could have been a different story, however, had team boss Clive Griffiths not opted to rest a number of regulars ahead of Sunday’s play-off semi-final first leg at Headingley.
But with nothing at stake, few of the Castle Park faithful will question the Welshman’s selection policy given the massive games coming up.
With Jersey going down to a heavy defeat against Yorkshire Carnegie, the Exiles’ reward for becoming the only side to do the double overKnights was to pip the Islanders for fifth spot.
For the second game in succession, Knights found themselves trailing at the break – their cause not being helped having two players sin-binned. Welsh wing Nic Reynolds touched down from close range after five minutes.
The visitors were unable to capitalise on their chances and were12-0 down after Welsh were awarded a 32nd minute penalty try.
Good work by both No 8 Ollie Stedman and full-back David McIIwaine, who chipped ahead for the wing, was rewarded with an unconverted try byPaul Jarvis.
Welsh struck again when Guy Armitage – the younger brother of Bevon Armitage – added to the hat-trick he scored at Castle Park on the opening day of the season to make it 17-5.
What could have been 22-5 with the conversion to come, became 17-12 as Armitage - making a rare start for Doncaster - scored a converted try out wide.
Knights had to dig deep again to deny Welsh another try following more good work by Guy Armitage. Knights drew level on the hour when fly-half Ollie Bryant’s interception gamble on his own 22 paid off.
Flockhart again tagged on the touchline conversion to edge his side 19-17 in front. But the Exiles regained the lead with their bonus point try by Chris Elder. Barkley added the extras.
London Welsh: Elder, Lewis, G Armitage, Jewell, Reynolds, Barkley, Davies; Trevett, Britton, Cooper, McNally, Corker, Skuse, Hodson, Thorpe. Rep: Morris, Darryl, Aholelei, Woodford, Murphy, Glynn, Carlisle.
Doncaster Knights: McIIwaine,Flockhart, Bulumkau, B Armitage, Jarvis, Bryant, Field; List, Veikoso, John,Hotson,Young, Makaafi, Owen, Stedman. Rep: Stagg, Sproston, Armstrong, Phelan, Shaw, Cusack, White.