A return to Knights Park, Doncaster yesterday, second time in as many weeks, to witness a potentially fizzy, feisty encounter, a 'who's top dog in Yorkshire' showdown, between Doncaster Knights and Yorkshire Carnegie. As readers will know, ickledot has photographed both sides this season; Doncaster several times and Carnegie in their trouncing of Moseley. So he knew it was going to be close … and it was.
No quarter was given and none asked as the two teams battled it out, mostly through aggressive, passionate rugby, occasionally with non-rugby 'skirmishes', as the lead switched from one to t'other. Carnegie took points first with a kicked penalty but it was Knights who opened the try scoring with an impressive run and leap across the line from Andrew Bulumakau, the first of two he was to bag in the first half. A great score for him and a first for ickledot - an airborne try. Could perhaps have got a bit lower for it, and it would have been better head-on but we're not for complaining here.
Although Knights were ahead at half time, Carnegie were far from giving up. Dangerous throughout the final forty, they spread the ball well going forward, finding men loose on the wing on several occasions. Despite Knights scoring again through Simon Humberstone (below - yes he did get the ball down in the end) and a score of 24-11 against them, Carnegie's positive approach brought rewards in the shape of three tries and, it seemed, a win. To add to the home side's misery, they were forced to play the last ten a man down with one of their number in the bin of sin.
This time it was the Knights' turn to dig deep, and dig they did. With seemingly seconds on the clock, flanker Michael Hills (top picture, above) broke through on the left. It could be seen in his eyes, he knew he'd score from a few yards out but his expression showed a determination to make absolutely sure as he touched down under the posts. So, a breathless win for Knights and a thumbs up from Latu Makaafi!
As far as ickledot's concerned, this was a real 'game of the season' contender. Although there could only ever be one winner, both sides should be congratulated for making it such a classic. You can read a more detailed, shall we say more professional, report of the game from the Sheffield Telegraph and see more pictures here.