DONCASTER Knights got off the mark at the second time of asking in Pool B of the Championship Promotion Play-Offs with a 41-26 win over derby rivals Rotherham Titans at Castle Park,
Knights stormed into a 31-0 lead in the first half and led 31-5 at the break.
But they surrendered the initiative for much of the second-half and Titans got to within eight points at one stage.
“We were always going to win; we just allowed them to get back into the game in a 20 minute spell in the second half,” said Knights’ boss Lynn Howells.
“That’s the difference between the very good sides and the good sides. A top side wouldn’t have allowed Rotherham to have that 20 minutes.
“That’s been our downfall all season actually - we’ve rarely played for the full 80 minutes.
“Our overall first half performance was good. Our set-piece was good; we were on top in the scrums and were awarded a penalty try, and the backs moved the ball really well,
“I didn’t have a lot to say to the players at half-time; I just told them to go out and play the same in the second half.
“But we went into a Sevens’ mode in the second half and just threw the ball around and didn’t have any structure and that allowed them to capitalise on our mistakes.
“The good thing is that we’ve picked up a bonus point and you don’t often do that in a derby game, so that was pleasing.”
The Welshman praised the contribution of stand-in centre Andy Wright.
“We lost JPG Gidley, who has played No 12 all season, and were looking around for someone to fill that void and Andy, who is normally a winger, has done very well for us in the last two games.
“He is nowhere near the finished article, but he works very hard and could be one of the finds of the season.”