Doncaster Knights claimed back-to-back Championship wins when sinking Cornish Pirates 30-13 at Mennaye Field.
Pirates, who had become the first side to beat Bristol in their last home game, looked favourites to complete the double after Knights were reduced to 14 men after just 27 minutes when centre Bevon Armitage was sent-off after picking up a second yellow card.
But Knights, who climbed above Moseley following their 52-24 defeat at Bristol, dug deep to lead 10-6 at the break and capitalized when the home side had two men sin-binned in the second half.
Knights, who showed seven changes to the side which started in their dramatic 31-30 B & I Cup win on the same ground in early December, had first chance to draw blood but Dougie Flockhart, the Championship’s leading points scorer this season, was wide with an early penalty attempt.
The South Yorkshire side suffered a double blow on 11 minutes, Armitage being controversially sin-binned and fly-half Kieran Hallett kicking the resulting penalty to give Pirates a 3-0 lead.
When Flockhart missed out on the chance to level the scores when pulling a second penalty wide those Doncaster supporters who had made the long trip down to the south-west, could have been forgiven for thinking it wasn’t going to be Knights’ day.
But their spirits were lifted on 21 minutes when centre Mat Clark, starting only his second game since shoulder surgery, capitalized on a handling mistake and combined with skipper Michael Hills to send scrum-half Tomasi Palu over for a converted try.
Hallett closed the gap to 7-6 following Armitage’s dismissal,
During a period when Pirates looked to be getting on top, Flockhart gave his side some extra breathing space when converting a penalty.
Knights finished the half strongly but good work by fly-half Ume Fosita and Clark came to nothing following a handling error.
Pirates started the second half with all guns blazing and a converted try by Hallett saw them lead 13-10. Flockhart levelled the scores with a huge penalty after Alex Dancer had been yellow-carded, and edged his side back in front after Joel Conlon had been sin-binned on 47 minutes.
Knights weathered a spell of pressure before hooker Ben Hunter touched down for a converted try following a catch and drive.
Knights, whose pack again produced a solid display, hit Pirates with another broadside when Flockhart won the race to a loose ball, after good work by Tyson Lewis in the build-up, to claim a third converted try.
Pirates:Bodilly, Evans, Hendrickson,Dancer, Holland, Hallett, Kessell; Davies, Channon, Paver, Graulich, Barry, Morgan, Atkinson, Cheesman.
Replacements: Innard, Walker, Smith, Conlon, Pope,James,Hopkin.
Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Clark, Armitage,Lewis, Fosita, Palu; List, ,Hunter, Quigley, Hotson, Phelan, Challinor,,Hills Shaw.
Replacements:Tom Davies,Veikoso, Steadman, John, Makaafi, Francis, Field.