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Nottingham bag play-off berth

By ANDI STARR

NOTTINGHAM will again be among the contenders in the Championship play-offs courtesy of a close fought 27-21 win at Doncaster.

It could have been a different story had Doncaster kicker Jamie Lennard been in anything like his usual form: he missed several penalties as Knights pressed hard for points in their survival bid.

Games between these two sides are often feisty, and this was no exception - each side having a big incentive to go for the points.

The Green and Whites needed the win to seal that play-off place, but Knights have propped up the Championship for too long now and were desperate for the points in order to avoid the drop.

The second half in particular saw the tension mount and both captains were sent to the sin-bin, with Dan Montagu also shown a yellow card.

After an early miss from Lennard it was Nottingham who took the lead with a long-range penalty from James Arlidge.

He doubled that lead midway through the first half when Knights were penalised at a scrum, but the home side soon got their first points of the day minutes later as Lennard found his range.

The first try of the game came just before the half hour mark as Andy savage finished off a flowing attack after David Jackson's pace had seen him make plenty of ground.

A second soon followed with a clever chip over the defence with Andy Forsyth, making his first start of the season, winning the race and Arlidge making it 18-3 with the conversion.

A couple of late penalties from Lennard brought them back to 9-18, before a try-saving tackle denied Lewington in the corner.

Dante Mama didn't get too many chances to show what he could do when he spent last season at Meadow Lane, but he showed plenty of skill as he weaved through the Nottingham defence for a try early in the second half, with Lennard converting to make it 16-18.

Again Nottingham almost forced a try only to be denied by some desperate defence, but they did force a penalty for Arlidge to increase their lead.

Just before the hour though both skippers were yellow carded as the tension began to show, but with Nottingham awarded a penalty Arlidge stepped up to make it 16-24.

Then it was Montagu's turn for a spell in the sin-bin after another outbreak of handbags, and it was not long before Sharp got over in the corner to make it 21-24.

The final play of the game saw Knights penalised at a ruck and Arlidge complete the scoring with his fifth penalty of the game.

 Doncaster Knights  21 (Mama, Sharp Try; Lennard Conv; Lennard 3 Pen)  Nottingham Rugby 27 (Savage, Forsyth Tries; Arlidge Conv; Arlidge 5 Pen)

Nottingham: Savage, Lewington, Streather, Forsyth, Lewington, Arlidge, Romans; Parr, Malton (sub: Duffey 57mins), Holford, Montagu, Rouse, Cooper, Wilson, Shaw.

Substitutes  not used: Quinn, Calladine, Barnham, Lynn, Cobden.

REF: L Apgeraint Roberts ATT:  1,319

2013-03-30T00:00:00

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