Doncaster Knights: Round One To Irish In Play Off Prelude

At Castle Park for the second weekend in a row, the Knights' opponents this time being season long table toppers, London Irish. Victory for the home side would enable an avoidance of Irish in the play-off semi finals but supporters knew that was going to be a tall order against a side which  had lost only once during the entire season.

Richard List

And so it proved to be. In a hard fought first half Knights certainly had opportunities to break through the stubborn Irish defence and at the other end they were able to limit the visitors' score to three penalty points for much of the forty.

Early second half try for London Irish

If half time could have arrived with the score at 0-3 then perhaps things could have turned out differently. However, with the break in sight Irish finally breached the Knights' defence with a try.

Michael Heaney

This clearly gave the visitors confidence after their somewhat shaky start. Two tries in rapid succession gave them a lead of 22 and effectively the victory. Knights deserve some credit though for not allowing further Irish scores when they could easily have lost heart and suffered a heavy defeat.

Tyson Lewis - work to do

They're made of sterner stuff and it was great to see them giving home fans something to cheer when Tyson Lewis raced in for a try down the left in the closing minutes. A real spark of light at the end of a hard afternoon for the Knights and something to give them hope in the play-offs - the defeat confirming that the two sides will meet again in just under a fortnight for the first of two semi-final matches.

Tyson Lewis - evading the tackle

As discussed previously on these pages, photography can become quite difficult when the team you're covering is spending much of its time defending at the other end of the field, the dilemma being whether to move nearer to them or remain in the hope of a breakaway attack.

Tyson Lewis - Try!

As it happened, the choices were just about right: spending a good deal of time behind the try line which the Knights attacked and slightly more time than usual on their attacking 22 metre line. It was a slice of good fortune to be reasonably near Tyson's try in the last few minutes.

Jack Bergmanas, Alex Shaw

Much rugby still to come then before the season finally ends - but before that a brief break - Florida here I come!

Knights and London Irish - not over yet