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Doncaster Knights Preview

Doncaster Knights Preview

London Scottish on Saturday head North to Yorkshire for their first of three visits during the season, when they will take on Doncaster Knights in the first ever match against between the sides. Scottish will be looking to make amends for their narrow loss against the Cornish Pirates, whereas Doncaster will be hoping to record their second consecutive home league win.

London Scottish on Saturday head North to Yorkshire for their first of three visits during the season, when they will take on Doncaster Knights in the first ever match against between the sides. Scottish will be looking to make amends for their narrow loss against the Cornish Pirates, whereas Doncaster will be hoping to record their second consecutive home league win.

Doncaster RFC was formed in 1875 and like a number of clubs at the time played at a variety grounds in and around the town. The club even flirted with Rugby League at the end of 1890's, but returned to the Union fold soon after. The club for its first hundred years of existence was a traditional junior Yorkshire club, however they first put a marker down when they won the Yorkshire Shield in 1979. With the introduction of league tables, Doncaster was placed at level 10 rugby in Yorkshire Two Division and thereafter the club made rapid progress through the league structure. With the introduction of professionalism in the game the club appointed their first full time player coach and the club has not looked back since. The club now play at Castle Park, which is approximately 4 miles from the town centre and in 2000 the club opened a new club house and gymnasium facilities through assistance from a lottery grant. In addition, the club constructed a new 1650 seat stand which was opened at the start of 2009.

MPU

During last summer the club saw a good number of players move on to pastures new. These included; prop Michael Cusack to Glasgow Warriors, full back Steve McCall to Leeds Carnegie, fly half Tristan Roberts and winger Matty Williams both to Bristol. Head Coach Brett Davey moved quickly to bring in new players to boost the squad and brought winger Michael Keating from Leinster, fly half Mike Whitehead a prolific points scorer returned from Esher, utility back David Mcilwaine from Ulster and scrum half Lee Audis from Coventry who played against Scottish last season. Scottish supporters should also look out for former Scotland U21 hooker Steven Lawrie, former Scotland A prop Stuart Corsar and former Scotland A winger Dougie Flockhart who could well be turning out against Scottish. Doncaster will be buoyed by last weekend’s defeat of Moseley 29 – 21. Last night the Knights lost narrowly to Nottingham, 33-29 in the British and Irish Cup.

Scottish go into this match determined to make amends for their last minute Cornish Pirates try defeat and the squad have clearly demonstrated so far that they have the quality to match any team in the league. If selected, Scottish prop Lewis Theide will make a near instant return to the ground where he plied his trade last season and will be able to provide an insight into what Scottish can expect as they make their first ever appearance at Castle Park. For Scottish supporters making the trip by train should note that trains to Doncaster run from Kings Cross approximately every half hour, with the journey taking under two hours. Castle Park is a 10 minute taxi ride from the station. For those driving and using SatNav should enter the postcode DN2 5QB. The non-techies should take the M1, M180 until junction 4 where you should pick up the A360. Follow this road for one mile until the second roundabout turning left following the sign post to Armthorpe. Continue on this road for one mile turning at the next roundabout sign posted Doncaster with Castle Park being approximately one and half mile on the left.

All Scottish supporters are encouraged to make the trip and cheer on the team as the support from the sidelines is much appreciated by the players and coaching staff alike. Let's make a determined effort to get there and hear the roar C'mon Scottish loud and clear. See you all there.
 

Doncaster 38 – 27 London Scottish

Doncaster 38 – 27 London Scottish

London Scottish put in a tremendous performance at Castle Park losing 37 -28 in an end to end pulsating match. Scottish came away from the match without a losing bonus point which their play throughout this match warranted.

London Scottish put in a tremendous performance at Castle Park losing 37 -28 in an end to end pulsating match. Scottish came away from the match without a losing bonus point which their play throughout this match warranted.

London Scottish on an overcast, but warm early autumn day played the first half towards the club house end of the ground. From the kick off number 8 Mark Bright made a very good half break into the Doncaster half. Scottish opened the scoring on the 3rd minute through a penalty kick after Doncaster were penalised on their 22 metre line with fly half Dan Mugford coolly converting his attempt. A few minutes later Doncaster were penalised for pulling down at the ruck and Scottish showed their intent by kicking into the corner. Scottish increased their lead to 6 points through another Mugford penalty after the Doncaster defence was caught offside again on the 22 metre line.

MPU

Doncaster came back into the match on the 17th minute when they scored a try through flanker David Bradford at a rolling maul, after they had kicked into the corner with fly half Tom Luke adding the extras to put Doncaster ahead for the first time in the match 6 – 7. Scottish upped their game and began to put the Doncaster defence under severe pressure. On the 20th minute the Scottish backs passed the ball through hands out to centre Ben McDougall on the left flank. As McDougall was closing in on the try line he was illegally tackled by flanker Latu Makaafi who shoulder charged him into touch 5 metres short of the try line. The referee produced a yellow card and dispatched Makaafi to the sidelines, and he was extremely lucky that the card was not red for his reckless straight arm tackle.  McDougall played no further part in the match.

Scottish opted to take a scrum 5 metres out, and Doncaster conceded three consecutive penalties at the scrum, with the referee subsequently awarding Scottish a penalty try. Mugford converted the kick immediately in front of the posts to put Scottish back in front 7 – 13. Scottish were now playing some scintillating rugby and it was no surprise that they increased their lead further on the 29th minute. The Scottish backs swept the ball out to the right flank and with full back John Bordiss joining the line, he passed out to replacement Matt Heeks on the wing to score out wide. Mugford missed the conversion, but Scottish were certainly in the driving seat in the match leading 7 – 18.  Close to end of the first half, Scottish suffered their second injury of the match, with full back John Bordiss coming off. This second injury appeared to disrupt the Scottish side and Doncaster scored their second try after centre PJ Gidlow put scrum half Chris Hallam in under the posts just before the half time whistle. Luke converted to leave the half time score 14 – 18.

The Doncaster side opened the scoring in the second half and it was clear that they were playing with a greater level of urgency in the opening phases of the second period. Doncaster were awarded a penalty on the Scottish 10 metre line for collapsing the scrum and Luke closed the Scottish lead to a single point. Two minutes later substitute flanker Willie Lipp was yellow carded for tackling a player without the ball. Doncaster exploited their player advantage, putting the Scottish defence under extreme pressure. Doncaster took the lead for the first time in the match on the 50th minute when Scottish conceded another penalty at the scrum. Luke converted a difficult kick to leave the score 20 -18. Three minutes later, Doncaster got a lucky break when the ball was hacked forward and it ricocheted off a Scottish player. The ball was picked up by Bradford who passed it inside to winger Dougie Flockhart who cut inside the oncoming Scottish defence to score to the left of the posts.  Luke added the conversion to leave the score 27 -18.

Scottish did not roll over and on the 64th minute Mugford narrowed the gap through a penalty from midway in the Doncaster half of the pitch. This good work was undone when Scottish conceded another penalty on the 68th minute, after being caught offside on their own 22 metre line in front of their posts. Luke converted his third penalty of the match to put the home side 30 -21 ahead. Immediately from the start the chasing Scottish players put the Doncaster backs under pressure and Lipp charged down a clearing defence kick. The ball was caught by replacement second row Ben Thomas who passed to Mugford who scored beneath the posts and quickly took the conversion attempt to leave the score 30 -28, as the match went into the last ten minutes of play. Doncaster began to dominate the physical battle in the closing stages of the match. At a scrum on the half way line the referee was badly position and effectively blocked the Scottish flanker breaking from the scrum and prevented him from tackling the oncoming Doncaster backs player. The ball was eventually moved up the field by the Doncaster side with their replacement prop Tom Davies diving over close to the posts. Luke converted to leave the final score 37 – 28.

In this match, the London Scottish side competed throughout for the full 80 minutes which was a very tough physical encounter. The side can take great heart from this gutsy performance and it is very clear that they have the ability and skill to perform at this level. The team will now dust themselves during the week and will look forward to securing their second home win of the season, when Moseley are the visitors next Sunday at the RAG. Look out for the match preview later in the week.

Fly half Dan Mugford was awarded the Jock Meikle sponsored away supporters Man of the Match by Duncan Gillespie.

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