Knights’ per­for­mance fails to give lift to re­cov­er­ing Grif­fiths

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DON­CASTER KNIGHTS 22 JERSEY REDS 47 CHAM­PI­ONSHIP

DON­CASTER’S third suc­ces­sive league de­feat in which they were con­vinc­ingly over­whelmed by seven tries to three at Cas­tle Park will not have helped their di­rec­tor of rugby Clive Grif­fiths re­cover from his re­cent heart ill­ness.

Grif­fiths, watch­ing from the stand, is hap­pily much bet­ter and re­cu­per­at­ing steadily and may re­turn to take charge again in four weeks.

De­feats by Eal­ing Trail­find­ers, Not­ting­ham and now Jersey have sent his squad plung­ing to­wards the bot­tom of the league ta­ble, but the rot has to be stopped be­fore the Welsh­man re­sumes con­trol. There­fore points are es- sen­tial in the next two Cham­pi­onship games against Bed­ford and Lon­don Ir­ish, both of whom will be dif­fi­cult to over­come if the many er­rors wit­nessed against the Chan­nel Is­lan­ders are re­peated.

Weak de­fence, hand­ing the ball over and lost line outs, in strong at­tack­ing po­si­tions and on their own line, proved de­ci­sive as Jersey won far too com­fort­ably in front of Don­caster’s vo­cif­er­ous and proud sup­port­ers.

Five of Jersey’s tries were the re­sult of mis­takes by the Knights who con­ceded three be­fore half time and then an­other four in the se­cond half as the Reds built quickly on their in­ter­val lead of 19-10.

While Don­caster were largely life­less in the open­ing pe­riod, their first try was out­stand­ing. Full back Cameron Cow­ell set off on a thrilling counter at­tack, side- step­ping op­po­nents and dash­ing more than 30 yards to score, but af­ter that bril­liance lit­tle of any sub­stance was pro­duced to de­ter Jersey.

Of­ten kick­ing ball away, Don­caster were los­ing badly 33-10, but, thank­fully, they showed signs of some im­prove­ment in the se­cond half as pos­ses­sion and ter­ri­tory were gained.

Num­ber eight Josh Tyrell started and fin­ished an ag­gres­sive move in­volv­ing cen­tre Joel Matavesi on 56 min­utes, a try that cut the gap to 33-15.

At long last, Don­caster’s for­wards man­aged to keep the ball and to­wards the end of the se­cond half, winger Dougie Flock­hart scored a fine try from a line out, and with Flock­hart adding the con­ver­sion, the score line of 33-22 did show some re­spectabil­ity.

Shortly af­ter­wards, the Knights nearly achieved a try bonus point.

How­ever, the pass from cen­tre Mat Clark to scrum half Tom James, who was through, was judged to have gone for­ward.

To make mat­ters far worse, Jersey then pro­ceeded to launch two more prof­itable at­tacks as the sixth and sev­enth tries were scored by full back Au­gustin Slowik, set up by a 40 yards’ dash by winger Koch Marx, and from num­ber eight Janco Ven­ter, crash­ing over af­ter Don­caster-again-lost their own line out ball.

Af­ter such an em­bar­rass­ing loss, head coach Glen Ken­wor­thy was in­evitably rather glum af­ter­wards.

He said: “We are lost for words. We shot our­selves in the foot and are in a hole.

“At times, Jersey showed more en­thu­si­asm and it’s frus­trat­ing be­cause we re­peated the mis­takes that we iden­ti­fied against Eal­ing and Not­ting­ham.

“We didn’t look af­ter the ball on the ground and to put on a per­for­mance like that at home is re­ally dis­ap­point­ing.”

On a hap­pier note, Don­caster have strength­ened the pack with the sign­ing of prop Matty Talese, a New Zealand born for­ward who’s been play­ing in France and has ap­peared for Samoa A.

What is also pos­i­tive is that cen­tre Will Owen, who has not played since the spring fix­ture at Bed­ford last sea­son, is mak­ing good progress fol­low­ing two knee op­er­a­tions.

“I’m back in full train­ing and hope to be play­ing again in two to three weeks.

“I’ve had no re­ac­tion in my knee and it’s all go­ing quite well.

“I thought when we got it back to 12-10 af­ter the try and Kurt Mo­rath’s penalty we’d set­tled down, but we tend to im­plode and it could have been 33-29 if not for the for­ward pass.

“It’s been frus­trat­ing watch­ing the re­cent re­sults.”

To put in a per­for­mance like that at home is re­ally dis­ap­point­ing . Don­caster Knights’ head coach Glen Ken­wor­thy af­ter their loss to Jersey Reds.

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