Doncaster Knights take charge of Championship Cup group

Clive Griffiths
Clive Griffiths

Doncaster Knights are making the early running in their Championship Cup qualifying group. 

They picked up their second win in as many starts when beating in-form Nottingham 17-13 at Lady Bay on Friday night.

Knights will go into Saturday’s game against Yorkshire Carnegie at Hull boasting the only unbeaten record in the four-strong group.

“We’ve got our cup campaign off to a good start and if we can win both our remaining home games that should be enough to see us through to the knock-out stages,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.

“That’s three successive league and cup wins and we are certainly in a different position to what we were a few weeks ago.”

Reflecting on a game during which both sides made handling mistakes due in part to the damp conditions, Griffiths said: “We rode our luck at times when they broke but we’ve not had much luck so far this season so we were due some.

“They could have won the game near the end but they didn’t deserve to win it and we did. We also dropped the ball several times near their line.

“They were the form team going into the game and I don’t think that many people gave us much of a chance but I just felt that the players were focused when I said a few words to them before the game.

“We got off to a good start and denied them a try in the first half and we came in leading 10-3.

“They scored in the first minute of the second to level the scores at 10-10. It wasn’t the best time to concede a try from a psychological point of view but I thought the players regrouped after that and we regained the lead with a well-worked try by Tom James.”

Knights went into the game lacking four players away on international duty in addition to several injured regulars.

They also lost fly-half Charlie Foley in the first quarter and were forced to bring on new dual-registered signing Brett Connon, who impressed the Welshman, earlier than planned.

“He only made one mistake realty and he had an outstanding game and we’d like to keep him for several weeks, though Newcastle might need to recall him following an injury to Joel Hodgson,” said Griffiths.