Knights Recover And Romp To Victory

I've often written how the weather seems to improve when driving eastwards along the M62. It's as if the Pennines have taken the brunt of the wind and rain, leaving only tranquility and warmth as one nears the Vale of York. Not Saturday though. It was almost exactly the opposite. It was raining on arrival at Doncaster Knights' Castle Park stadium and it didn't really stop throughout the whole game which followed.

Pre-match tension!

New opponents for ickledot: Hartpury Rugby Club, previously known as Hartpury College. They've had a dramatic rise through the leagues in recent years and had also made a good start to the current campaign with a win against Yorkshire Carnegie. As you can read in the official match report, the visitors were on top for much of the first half and went in ahead for the break.

Second half pressure from the Knights - scrum half Tom James prepares to switch the play

The second half was a different story altogether. As the rain intensified, so did the home side's resolve. A period of forward pressure brought a penalty try and then a clever passing exchange near the line yielded a second from Cameron Cowell. As Hartpury strived to recover there was an interception and Steve McColl raced down the wing for his first Knights score. I was sheltering at the time and missed it completely.

A drive for the line

So, a famous home win which brought much cheer to the somewhat damp home supporters. Must admit, part of my reason for seeking shelter at the height of the downpour was concern for my cameras. In the past week I'd finally made the full switch from Canon DSLR to Olympus mirrorless and I didn't want the debut of the newer model to end with a weather disaster. Olympus claim that the OMD Em1 MkII is weatherproof but you never know.

The interplay between Tyson Lewis and Cameron Cowell was so fast I missed the actual touchdown but got some pleasing shots of the celebrations.

Anyway, all was well and I was very pleased with the results in such poor conditions. Don't know whether it was beginner's luck but I seemed to have a really high percentage of in-focus shots from both cameras, one with a 40-150mm (80-300mm full frame equivalent) lens and the other a longer 300mm (600mm full frame equivalent).

A Hartpury defensive kick with an attentive crowd as backdrop

This shot of a late kick shows the strength of the rain in the closing minutes

The main reason for changing though was to decrease the size and weight. Carrying the DSLR with a second camera had become increasingly difficult and the prospect of buying a longer lens to capture distant play was frightening for both wallet and back muscles. It's taken a while and a dip into the used or second hand market but first signs from this session and shooting a half marathon the following day have been most encouraging. I was also really pleased to be able to carry both cameras and lenses in one bag without too much effort. I'll keep you informed!

All smiles at the end - Josh Tyrell, successfully returning from injury, and Tyson Lewis