Nottingham Rugby produced their best all round
performance of the season so far as they vanquished local rivals
Doncaster Knights 24-3 at Meadow Lane to secure fourth place in the
Championship at Christmas.
The Green and Whites dominated the first 20 minutes of the
match, spending almost the entire time in Doncaster
territory. The only surprise was that it took until the 15th
minute for them to open the scoring.
When it did come, it was worth waiting for as some excellent
handling involving both forwards and backs led to Javiah Pohe going
over in the corner. Dan Mugford added the very difficult
conversion to make it 7-0.
Doncaster gradually came back into the game and put
together phase after phase as they crept back into the Nottingham
half. The green and white wall held firm though and
restricted Doncaster to a solitary shot at goal which Dougie
Flockhart pushed wide.
Nottingham were playing with a cohesion not witnessed often
enough this season with their outside backs looking particularly
threatening. Dan Mugford was pulling the strings at fly half
and Javiah pohe was inspired at inside centre. They utilised
the wrap around on a number of ocassions, requiring the visitors to
make last ditch interventions to prevent further scoring.
The match got a bit scrappier during the second quarter of the
match and both teams were guilty of coughing up possession.
The referee provoked the ire of the crowd as he continually allowed
Doncaster to not roll away at the breakdown but then penalised
Nottingham for going off their feet.
The many infringements at the breakdown led to a yellow card for
both sides as Montagu and List were given 10 minutes at the end of
the half. There was still time in the half though for Billy
Robinson to score an excellent try as he weaved through a couple of
tackles and sprinted in from 40 metres to touch down. Mugford
missed the conversion attempt to make the scores 12-0 at the
Early in the second half, Nottingham conceded a penalty in front
of their posts which Flockhart converted to make the score
This wasn't to be a sign of things to come however as Nottingham
upped their game again and took control with some hard running and
Shaun Malton made a number of excellent forays through the
visiting defence and he was ably supported by the athleticism of
Paul Grant and the silky handling skills of Montagu.
Nottingham's third try of the afternoon was something to
behold. A slick display of handling and running skills saw
Nottingham break down the right wing with first Pohe and then Hough
making good yards to take play up to the Doncaster 22. The
ball was recycled quickly and another fine bit of handling saw
Robinson break through and offload to Rupert Cooper who pirouetted
away from his man to touch down. Mugford was just wide with
the conversion and the score moved to 17-3.
The Green and Whites held the aacendency up front all afternoon
and this told when a traditional rolling maul ended up with skipper
Brent Wilson being driven over the line to secure the bonus
point. Mugford landed the extras to take the score to
Doncaster rallied as Nottingham began to tire but there was
clear evidence that the home side were determined not to concede a
try. This was particularly evident as Doncaster burst through
and looked certain to score until Billy Robinson made an
outstanding last ditch tackle. It had seemed easier for
Doncaster to score, but the tackle confused the ball carrier to the
degree he couldn't get the offload away.
Doncaster, to their credit, continued to push but Nottingham
were heroic in defence. Skipper Brent Wilson, who was named
man of the match, led a rearguard action that had the Meadow Lane
faithful in full voice as they sang their approval.
The match ended with Wilson forcing a turnover on Nottingham's
own line and it was left to replacement Will Maisey to kick the
ball off the field to secure an excellent victory and fourth place
in the league at Christmas.