Jersey 17 Doncaster Knights 17: Knights hit back from 17-0 down

Latu Makaafi scored a try against his former club Jersey. Photo: Sarah Washbourn
Latu Makaafi scored a try against his former club Jersey. Photo: Sarah Washbourn

Doncaster Knights held on to second spot in the Greene King IPA Championship after sharing the spoils with Jersey at a windswept St Peter.

Dougie Flockhart converted a stoppage-time penalty try to secure Knights a 17-17 draw in a game which never reached any great heights as a spectacle due to arguably the worst conditions of the season.

The gale-force wind and heavy going making for a forward-dominated battle with little in the way of open rugby.

The result extended Knights’ unbeaten run in league and cup to 11 games but they now trail leaders Bristol by seven points and saw their lead over third-placed Yorkshire Carnegie cut to a point following their big win at Ealing.

In the first of what was always going to be a game of two halves, Knights played down the slope into the teeth of the gale and driving rain.

Jersey, who also held Knights to a draw (22-22) on the same ground in the B & I Cup in November, failed to make best use of the elements in the first quarter during which time they conceded seven penalties.

Although Knights, roared on by over 100 supporters, never threatened the Jersey line they controlled the ball well in conditions and defended well.

Jersey started to enjoyed a greater share of possession and they broke the deadlock on 25 minutes after being awarded a penalty try, converted by fly-half Brendan Cope.

To add to Knights’ problems, skipper Michael Hills was sin-binned for his role in the incident and while his side were short-handed, Jersey flanker James Freeman touched down for a second converted try from a driving maul on 32 minutes.

Just when it looked as though Knights would turn around just 14 points down – something they probably would have settled for at the start - Cope kicked a penalty in stoppage time.

Knights took the game to Jersey after the restart but had nothing to show for long periods of pressure prior to No 8 Ollie Stedman being stretchered off just before the hour mark after a lengthy spell of treatment during which time he was placed in a neck brace.

Knights finally opened their account with a Flockhart penalty on 71 minutes.

Flanker Latu Makaafi, who needed no introduction to home supporters when replacing Alex Shaw on 58 minutes having spent two spells at the Jersey club, rewarded more Doncaster forward pressure when scoring out wide from close range. Flockhart added the extras.

Knights continued to dominate the game territorially and their efforts finally paid off when they were awarded a penalty try after Jersey were penalised when defending a huge driving maul.

Jersey: Lane, Howe, Otto, Robling, Adair, Cope, Winter-Moates, Lockwood, Selway, Tomaszczyk, Rowlands, Phillips, Graham, Freeman, Rae. Rep: Saenz-Lancuba, Garcia, Herriott, Kolo’ofai, Spinks, Dudley, McCrea.

Doncaster Knights: Jarvis, Flockhart, Clarkm Hurrell, Lewis, Cusack, Heaney; List, Hunter, Quigley, Phelan, Challinor, Shaw, Hills, Stedman. Rep: Sprotson, Jon, Veikiso, Hotson, Makaafi, Edgerley, Humberstone.

Referee: Dean Richards

Attendance: 1,870.