The Reds’ bid to achieve a positive win:loss record from their opening trio of Championship Cup matches was dashed in an eight-try encounter at Castle Park.
The visitors made a stunning start, stringing together a series of phases that culminated in a second-minute try for Will Homer. But it wasn’t long before the Knights responded – Auguy Slowik couldn’t take a hanging cross-kick that landed near the try-line, and Johnny McPhillips scored.
The Knights took the lead after a powerful break from Rory Pitman, the Welshman offloaded to Sam Olver in the Jersey 22; the fly-half then passed to Charlie Foley to stretch over in the corner with Olver adding the extras to even the scoreline in the 19th minute.
The remainder of the half was an even contest with the Knights holding firm in the defence against a fluent and fast-paced Jersey attack. Although the away side didn’t have it all their own way with Doncaster nearly extending their lead as the interval drew closer. Matt Smith passed to Ben Hunter inside the 22, who offload quickly to Tom James. The scrum-half seemed bound to score in the corner, only for play to be brought back for a forward pass from the second row after a scrum.
After the restart, Clive Griffiths’ side in a positive fashion and soon extended the lead to 15-7 with an Olver penalty just a minute into the second half.
Jersey hit back through Van Dam after a quick, flowing move, although Greg Dyer missed the conversion to keep the score to 15-12 after 47 minutes.
The away side then took the lead when lock forward Kyle Hatherell powered over in the corner after pushing away a tackle from Tyson Lewis.
Doncaster fought back though and were roared on by a loud Castle Park crowd. After a yellow card to Reds’ replacement TJ Harris, the Knights drove over from close range through Matt Challinor. Olver converted for a 22-17 lead in the 64th minute.
Further Knights’ pressure led to another try in the 71st minute. James darted away from the opposition defence from a scrum with Olver converting to earn a deserved 29-19 lead.
The game continued in entertaining fashion, with a try late on from Jersey in the 76th minute from a driving maul.
The hosts had the final word with a penalty late on to earn their 32-26 victory.
Pic courtesy John Ashton
Knights: 15. Johnny McPhillips; 14. Kyle Evans 13. Charlie Foley 12. Lloyd Hayes 11. Tyson Lewis(73’Wilson); 10. Sam Olver 9. Tom James; 1. Robin Hislop(81’Beech) 2. Ben Hunter(74’Holling) 3. Colin Quigley(67’Foster) 4. Tom Hicks(46’Sproston) 5. Matt Smith 6. Matt Challinor 7. George Edgson(81’Hudson) 8. Rory Pitman
Replacements: 16. Will Holling 17. Andrew Foster 18. Charlie Beech 19. Allan Hudson 20. Joe Sproston 21. Sam Pocklington 22. Steve McColl 23. Curtis Wilson
Tries: McPhillips, Foley, Challinor, James
Conversions: Olver 3
Penalties: Olver 2
Reds XV: 15. Auguy Slowik; 14. Tom Williams 13. George Spencer 12. Mark Best 11. Leroy Van Dam; 10. Greg Dyer 9. Will Homer; 1. Roy Godfrey 2. Nic Dolly 3. Alec Clarey 4. Kyle Hatherell 5. Rory Bartle 6. Conor Joyce 7. Josh Bainbridge 8. Max Argyle ©
Replacements: 16. TJ Harris 17. Harry Morley 18. Zei Alexis 19. Charlie Beckett 20. Jake Upfield 21. Luc Jones 22. Brendan Cope 23. Jack Stapley
Tries: Homer , Van Dam, Hatherell, Harris
Conversions: Dyer 2, Cope
Yellow cards: Harris, Best