Sale FC 14 Doncaster Knights 42

Doncaster Knights topped the 40-point mark for the second successive pre-season game.
Doncaster's Rory Pitman. Picture Jonathan GawthorpeDoncaster's Rory Pitman. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe
Doncaster's Rory Pitman. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe

Knights backed up their 47-7 win at Bridgend Ravens on a wet night in South Wales eight days earlier when posting a 42-14 win over Sale FC in much different conditions at Heywood Road.

Knights had expected a tougher challenge against the ambitious National League One side than against Ravens.

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But they scored six well-taken tries and also showed up well in defence to restrict the home side to just two tries – the second of which didn’t come until the last minute.

Starting with only two of their summer signings on view, Knights had the game won by half-time after scoring four converted tries without reply to lead 28-0.

Strong-running No 8 Rory Pitman opened the scoring from close range after just five minutes which fly-half Sam Olver converted.

Well beaten in last season’s warm-up game between the two sides at Castle Park, Sale came close to opening their account five minutes later and it took a try-saving tackle by full-back Steve McColl to deny centre Jeremy Loa after he broken from his own half.

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Knights weathered further pressure before opening up a 14-0 lead on 17 minutes.

Long-serving wing Tyson Lewis, who pulled off several timely tackles during the game, rounded off a bout of expansive handling to claim the visitors second try with a good finish.

Knights stretched their lead to 21-0 on the half-hour after centre Lloyd Hayes broke a tackle and then produced a try-scoring off-load to speedy scrum-half Tom James.

Olver, who had fed Hayes, again added the extras.

There would have been a try for speedy wing Curtis Wilson a couple of minutes later had the ball bounced more kindly for him after he had chipped the Sale defence inside his own half.

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Knights did manage a fourth try before the break, however, with James showing good individual skills from the back of a driving maul to score his second of the half.

Knights made a number of changes in the opening minutes of the second half and despite enjoying the better of the exchanges had to wait until just before the hour to add to their tally.

It came from a pick and go by Pitman after a driving maul had helped create the attacking position inside the Sale 22.

Sale cut the deficit with a 69th minute try by Johnny Leota and but for more good defence by Lewis would have been in again prior to fit-again hooker George Edgson celebrating his Doncaster debut with a try.

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Knights: McColl, Wilson, Hayes, Lucock, Lewis, Olver, James; Hislop, Hunter, Quigley, Challoner, Smith, Jones, Hills, Pitman. Rep: Cullen, Flockhart, Pocklington, Burden, Carleton, Sproston, Holling, Eames, Birch, Edgson, Hicks, Beech.