By ANDI STARR
ANOTHER dominant performance brought another
comprehensive win for Nottingham as they comfortably clinched the
inaugural Robin Hood Shield.
Their 52-7 victory over Doncaster Knights took them up to second
in the RFU Championship table, above Bedford Blues on points
Four first half tries clinched the bonus point, with a further
four in the second half giving a crowd of over 2,000 plenty to
Yet it was the visitors who got off to a high tempo start,
running at the Green and Whites and keeping play in the home
But a break out of defence from James Arlidge saw Nottingham
open the scoring in the fifth minute. His clever chip over the
onrushing back line sent Tim Streather away, although he had to
show a few footballing skills that may have impressed any watching
Notts County supporters before touching down under the posts to
give Arlidge a straightforward conversion.
Still, it was Doncaster doing most of the attacking, but when
Joe Duffey was penalised on halfway Jamie Lennard was just wide
with an ambitious kick.
Gradually though, Nottingham began to get a grip on possession
and almost drove over in the right hand corner. As the defence
cleared, the Green and Whites moved the ball across field from the
resulting lineout where Duffey somehow managed to squeeze through
for the second try midway through the first half. Arlidge made it
14-0 with the conversion.
A third try followed within two minutes from an almost identical
position, this time Rhys Crane showing his finishing skills after a
good piece of play between Arlidge and Joe Munro. Arlidge converted
to make it 21-0.
With Nottingham now in control, they forced the bonus point try
with a powerful drive from a close range lineout, skipper Brent
Wilson getting the touch down and Arlidge making it 28-0 at the
break with the conversion.
The visitors again looked bright as they got the second half
underway, their pack driving over Jethro Rawlings over in the
fourth minute. Lennard tagged on the conversion to make it 28-7,
but that proved to be their last score.
Any hopes they may have had of a comeback faded when blindside
Adam Kettle was sin-binned, but they did well to shut out the Green
and Whites while they were shorthanded.
Nottingham, though, wasted a couple of good opportunities in
that time, twice knocking on as they tried to make their numerical
But they finally made the breakthrough as the game moved into
the final quarter, Munro beating the defence with an angled run
before passing inside for David Jackson to round it off. Arlidge
converted to make it 35-7.
Another yellow card for the visitors - this time for replacement
prop Andrew Brown - only added to the increasing pressure, and this
time Nottingham made them pay with two quick tries, Streather
getting his second of the game before full back Andy Savage sliced
through down the left.
And it was Savage who got the final try in the fourth minute of
injury time, his pace taking him clear of the last defender with
replacement Rory Lynn converting.
Nottingham Rugby 52 (Streather 2, Savage 2,
Duffey, Crane , Wilson, Jackson tries; Arlidge 5, Lynn conv)
Doncaster Knights 7 (Rawlings try; Lennard
Nottingham Rugby: A Savage, D Jackson, T
Streather, J Munro (sub: J Cobden 68), R Crane, J Arlidge (sub: R
Lynn 75), S Romans (sub: F Barnham 68), M Parr, J Duffey (sub: S
Malton 66), R Bower (sub: M Shields 75), D Montagu (sub: J Cain
66), N Rouse, R Cooper, B Wilson, A Shaw (sub: T Calladine 66).
Referee: J Meredith.