A penalty from Shane O’Leary on the 77th minute was the difference in a match that Nottingham nearly threw away after setting up a commanding lead at in the early stages Castle Park.
Tries from Alex Goble, Jordan Coghlan and David Williams supported a strong kicking performance from the Canadian international, whose opposite number could have won the game with a penalty in the final play of the game.
Nottingham, who went into the match without a win since 15 December last year, were in the ascendency in the first half. A penalty from O’Leary on the 22nd minute galvanised Neil Fowkes’ side, who scored two tries to establish a 3-17 lead over their hosts.
Alex Goble neatly rounded off a grubber kick through Knights’ defence to score the first try of the match, O’Leary converted and Fowkes’ men looked to kick on.
Jordan Coghlan then produced a piece of magic when he broke through the Doncaster line from his own half. The back row beat several players with pace and power to touch the ball down, giving the away side a strong foothold in the game heading into half time.
However, Doncaster showed grit and determination to score a try of their own early in the second half, cutting Nottingham’s lead down to just four points.
But David Williams, who is on a fantastic run of try-scoring form, strengthened Nottingham’s lead ten minutes later. The Green and Whites ran through the phases deep in Donny territory and Williams found the space in the corner. O’Leary missed the conversion and Nottingham led 13-22 with 20 minutes to play.
Knights were not going down without a fight and scored their second try of the match to bring the scores to 20-22. The home side continued to show their strength and took the lead moments later through a penalty.
It looked like Nottingham had scuppered their chance of a win until a penalty on the 77th minute. O’Leary went for the posts and scored, giving Nottingham a two-point lead with just three minutes to play.
Knights then came tantalisingly close to victory in the final play of the match. Olver had to score to give the home side the win but his kick went wide, ending the match and giving the away side a hard-fought victory.
Knights XV: 15.McColl(49’Foley) 14. Jarvis 13. Creed 12. Hayes 11. Lewis 10. Olver 9. James 1. Hislop(68’List) 2. Mayhew(66’Malcolm) 3. Quigley(64’Sproston) 4. Challinor(64’Jones) 5. Hicks 6. Tyrell 7. Calladine 8. Stedman
Replacements: 16. Malcolm 17. List 18. Sproston 19. Ryan 20. Jones 21. Polataivao 21. Foley
Tries: Lewis, Jarvis Conversions: Olver 2 Penalties: Olver 3
Nottingham XV: 15. Gearoid Lyons 14. David Williams 13. Will Millett 12. Luke Peters 11. Alex Goble 10. Shane O’Leary 9. Murray McConnell 1. Jamie Jack 2. Luke Cole 3. Oisin Heffernan 4. Tom Holmes (C) 5. Sam Lewis 6. Shane Buckley 7. Jordan Coghlan 8. Josh Poullet
Replacements: 16. Jake Farnworth 17. Owen Hills 18. Cecil MacCarthy 19. Tim Cardall 20. George Cox 21. Darryl Veenendaal 22. Caetano Branco
Tries: Goble, Coghlan, Williams Conversions: O’Leary 3 Penalties: O’Leary 2