It was always going to be a challenge, facing former Premiership side London Irish, currently second in the Championship. However, with several first choice players injured, a head coach recovering from heart surgery and a run of four defeats, home supporters were fearing a long hard afternoon for Doncaster Knights.
The first forty minutes did little to lift the spirits. Although the Knights crossed the line once through scrum half Tom James, Irish were most certainly in charge, ending the half with a 24-10 lead.
The Knights had seen a couple of chances pass by in the closing minutes of the first half and this certainly spurred them on to a determined effort in the second. Both defences seemed impenetrable as the battle was fought out in midfield. The visitors were limited to a mere two points and it was the Knights who broke the deadlock with a try from Lloyd Hayes.
The recovery came too late though, the final score being 26-17 to London Irish. You can read a comprehensive description of the game here.
Given the nature of the game the photography was difficult, much of the action being on or near the half way line. Knights forays near the try line were comparatively rare and so many of ickledot’s shots were distant. It was quite tense, trying to ensure I was ready if a chance came.
For Tom James’ try I had it all wrong. I tracked Josh Tyrell’s run well on the long lens but opted to swap to a shorter one for the try itself. Mistake! He’d already touched down before I’d switched, and then he was facing the other way!
For Lloyd Hayes second half try I had better luck. Although he ran across my position and had his back to me when he touched down, I did quite like my shot of him crossing the line with a cheering crowd in the background. You can see more pictures from the game here.
The Knights are now third from bottom of the Championship. Unfamiliar territory for them in recent seasons. With a continuation of the spirit shown in the second half of this game a climb up the table will surely follow.