Not for the first time in his eight years at the club the trusty boot of Dougie Flockhart came to Doncaster Knights’ rescue at Castle Park on Saturday.
The versatile back celebrated becoming only the second Doncaster player in the professional era to break the 200-game barrier by kicking three second-half penalties to secure Knights a hard-earned 16-12 B & I Cup Pool 2 win over Rotherham Titans.
It was Knights third win in their four derby games against their nearest Championship rivals this season but Titans will gain some consolation from the fact that they finished above them in the group.
With neither side having any further interest in the competition both had more than an eye on their return to Championship action this weekend when Knights will be looking to cement third spot away at Bedford and Titans will be bidding to ease their relegation worries when entertaining bottom club Richmond at Clifton Lane.
In that respect, both sides will have benefited from a keenly-contested encounter which could have gone either way.
Playing their first game for three weeks, Titans made a lively start and moved the ball about in adventurous style.
But it was Knights, seeking to avenge a 34-17 defeat at Clifton Lane in their opening pool game back in October, who took the lead.
They opted to go for a catch and drive rather than go for goal and the tactic paid off when hooker Ben Hunter grounded the ball over the line at the second attempt after breaking off from a maul. Centre Flockhart added the extras.
Boosted by a string of penalties, Knights spent most of the first quarter camped in the Rotherham half.
But despite a willingness to move the ball and the threat posed by the likes of Mat Clark, Paul Jarvis and Tyson Lewis, they got little joy out of a determined Titans defensive line.
It took Titans almost half-an-hour to breach the Doncaster 22, as Clive Griffiths’ men also defended well, but they finished the half on top and came close to adding to a close range converted try by hooker Charlie Maddison.
Flockhart rewarded a bright start when restoring Doncaster’s lead with a 50th minute penalty.
Boosted by the return of half-a-dozen players, Titans got their noses in front on 53 minutes with a second close-range try by Maddison immediately following the sin-binning of Matt Challinor.
Having failed to put Knights back in front late in the third quarter, Flockhart fared better with a much easier kick on 68 minutes after Titans’ flanker Buster Lawrence had been sin-binned for a deliberate knock-on.
The Scot also hit the target on 76 minutes but Knights couldn’t afford to relax as Titans, well served by the likes of flanker James Tyas and backs William Thomas and Daniel Kelly, battled to the end.
Knights: Jarvis, Scanlon, Flockhart, Clark, Lewis; Humberstone, Heaney; List, Hunter, John, Challinor, Nolan, Ram, Hills, Makaafi. Rep: Bergmanas, Keeton, Quigley, Maksymiw, Owen, Hayes (L), Edgerley.
Titans: Thomas, Foley, Kelly, Barker, Henry; Bryant, Tressider; Hutchinson, Maddison, Williams, Normandale, Curry, Lawrence,Tyas, MacDonald. Rep: Socinio, Williams, Herriott, Oliver (D), Oliver (G), Pocklington, Hayes (J).