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REPORT: Doncaster Knights 29-31 Bristol Rugby

Match Report

Sunday, March 27th 2016

The Championship

Doncaster 29 - 31 Bristol Rugby*

HT 19-14

John, Challinor, Lewis (2) Tries Robinson, Cliff (2), Varndell, Wallace
Cusack (3) Conversions Henson (2), Morgan
Cusack Penalties

KO: 1:45PM

Att: 2223

Venue: Castle Park

Ref: Luke Pearce



  • 1 Richard James List
  • 2 Ben Hunter
  • 3 Willgriff John
  • 4 Matthew Edward Challinor
  • 5 Jonathan Phelan
  • 6 Latu Maka'afi
  • 7 Michael John Hills
  • 8 Alexander Paul Shaw
  • 9 Michael S. Heaney
  • 10 Declan Cusack
  • 11 Tyson Nyle H. Lewis
  • 12 William Harry Hurrell
  • 13 David Matthew Clark
  • 14 Ratu Andrew K. Bulumakau
  • 15 David U. McIlwaine


  • 16 Viliame Veikoso
  • 17 Joseph Sproston
  • 18 Jake Edward Armstrong
  • 19 Tyler Hotson
  • 20 Glen John Young
  • 21 Bevon Armitage
  • 22 Bradley Lloyd Field

Bristol Rugby

  • 1 Jack James O'Connell
  • 2 Geraint Marc Jones
  • 3 Anthony Isaac Perenise
  • 4 Ian Richard Evans
  • 5 Benjamin Edward Glynn
  • 6 Marco Yanda Nason Mama
  • 7 Oliver James Robinson
  • 8 Mitchell William Eadie
  • 9 William Peter Samuel Cliff
  • 10 Gavin Lloyd Henson
  • 11 David Lemi
  • 12 Nicholas David Carpenter
  • 13 Jack Terence Tovey
  • 14 Thomas William Varndell
  • 15 Jack Edward Wallace


  • 16 Peter Ross McMillan
  • 17 Kyle Traynor
  • 18 Rodrigo Gaston Cortes
  • 19 Joseph John Joyce
  • 20 Rayn Smid
  • 21 Martin Roberts
  • 22 Matthew James Morgan

Tom Varndell’s last-gasp try handed Bristol a nailbiting 31-29 victory over Doncaster Knights on Easter Sunday.

The visitors – who trailed until the 86th minute – secured a bonus point as Will Cliff grabbed a double, while Olly Robinson and Jack Wallace also went over.

Bristol go thirteen points clear at the top of the Championship, although second placed Knights recorded two losing bonus points in a high-scoring affair.

Gavin Henson missed the chance to hand Bristol the lead with an early penalty and, instead, it was Tyson Lewis who raced over for the opening try of the game on his one-hundredth appearance.

After Henson couldn’t convert a second penalty opportunity, Doncaster launched an eighty-metre counter attack as Tyson Lewis crossed in the corner following a neat interchange between backs and forwards.

The visitors found a route back into the game courtesy of Olly Robinson, who dabbed down from his customary position at the back of a lineout, while Henson slotted the conversion.

And Bristol seized the advantage before the interval when Will Cliff capitalised on Nick Carpenter’s sharp break to stretch over the whitewash and give Robinson’s side a slender 12-14 lead.

On the stroke of half-time, WillGriff John rumbled over from close range to edge the Knights back in front at the end of an entertaining first period.

Doncaster pushed further ahead soon after through a Declan Cusack three-pointer, only to be pegged back by Jack Wallace’s unconverted try during a lively ten-minute spell.

Bristol came within inches of retaking the lead through Marco Mama, but it was the home side who created breathing space for themselves with fifteen minutes remaining.

Matt Challinor pounced on a gap in the red defence to spin over and touch down, while Cusack’s conversion moved the score to 29-19.

Will Cliff set up a nailbiting final fifteen minutes when the scrum half collected Nick Carpenter’s offload to cross for a converted try.

And, in the final play of the game, Tom Varndell collected a low, bouncing pass to go over and secure a thrilling bonus point win for the table-toppers.

Doncaster Knights:

David McIlwaine; Andy Bulumakau, Mat Clark, Will Hurrell, Tyson Lewis; Dec Cusack, Michael Heaney; Rich List, Ben Hunter, WillGriff John, Matt Challinor, Jon Phelan, Latu Makaafi, Michael Hills (c), Alex Shaw.

Replacements; Vili Veikoso (for Ben Hunter, 66 mins), Joe Sproston (for Richard List, 66 mins), Jake Armstrong (for Willgriff John, 63 mins), Tyler Hotson (for Latu Makaafi, 80 mins), Glen Young, Bevon Armitage, Brad Field.

Bristol Rugby:

Jack Wallace; Tom Varndell, Jack Tovey, Nick Carpenter, David Lemi (c); Gavin Henson, Will Cliff; Jack O’Connell, Marc Jones, Anthony Perenise, Ian Evans, Ben Glynn, Marco Mama, Olly Robinson, Mitch Eadie.

Replacements: Ross McMillan (for Marc Jones, 73 mins), Kyle Traynor (for Jack O’Connell, 42 mins), Gaston Cortes (for Anthony Perenise, 58 mins), Joe Joyce, Rayn Smid, Martin Roberts, Matthew Morgan (for Jack Wallace, 51 mins).

Referee: Luke Pearce

Attendance: 2,022

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