Doncaster Knights ended their most successful league campaign on a losing note in Saturday’s Championship clash against London Irish.
But director of rugby Clive Griffiths had nothing but praise for his much-changed side following the 24-19 defeat in the capital.
“The main thing is that the point we picked up meant that we finished clear of Yorkshire Carnegie in second place rather than having to rely on more games won,” said Griffiths.
“We also played very well – better than when we beat (fourth-placed) Bedford at home the previous week – and would have won the game had we been awarded a cast iron penalty try at the end.”
Forced to make a late change when hooker Ben Hunter complained of a tight hamstring, Knights trailed 17-5 at the break.
“We got off to a poor start but got back into the game only to fail to take our chances and they hit us with a third try on half-time,” said Griffiths.
“But it just shows the spirit and commitment in the squad that we hit back to lead 19-17 in the second half.”
Critical of the decision to switch the game to Rosslyn Park’s artificial pitch, Griffiths said several players had picked up ‘grass burns’ and bumps and bruises on the hard surface: “Not everyone will be able to take part in full contact work this week,” he said.