Doncaster Knights 23-17 Ealing Trailfinders
For the third time in three visits Ealing Trailfinders returned from Yorkshire with a bonus point after pushing an in-form Doncaster Knights hard over 80 minutes at Castle Park.
Ben Ward’s team led 10-6 at half-time after a pushover try from Nathan Buck, but the hosts fought back in the second half to open up a 13-point lead. Callum Wilson scored a late try to move to losing bonus point territory and while Ealing Trailfinders put the Knights under pressure over the last 10 minutes they were unable to break through.
Emergency fullback Alex Davies opened the scoring after two minutes when he landed a penalty, but Doncaster showed a flash of their threat when wing Tyson Lewis raced away after exploiting a gap.
Davies then had the opportunity to stretch the lead after Doncaster fullback Paul Jarvis was yellow-carded, but struck it wide. Even so Ealing Trailfinders capitalised on their numeric superiority when a whole team effort drove Buck over from a rolling maul off a line-out.
The Knights began to find their rhythm as the half wore on and fly-half Michael Heaney knocked over two penalties as their pack began to impose themselves.
Will Davis became the second player to be yellow-carded, but Ealing Trailfinders defence bundled number 8 Ollie Steadman in to touch when Doncaster tried a rolling maul of their own and then held out till half-time.
Doncaster grabbed the lead soon after the restart when Lewis’ mazy run set up good field position, which Latu Makaafi capitalised on to extend his lead at the top of the Championship’s try-scoring charts.
He added a second not long after when he burrowed over from close range and with Heaney adding two conversions and another penalty the hosts enjoyed a 13-point lead at the hour mark.
Ealing Trailfinders began to re-imposed themselves on proceedings and after Rhys Crane won turnover ball it was worked to substitute Callum Wilson who raced away to score.
It set up a tense final 10 minutes and while the visitors pressured the Doncaster line at the end the hosts defence stayed strong.
Tries (Makaafi 47, 57), Conversions (Heaney 47, 57), Penalties (Heaney 25, 36, 65)
Tries (Buck 20, Wilson 69), Conversions (Davies 20, 69), Penalties (Davies 2)
Paul Jarvis, Sam Edgerley, Mat Clark, Will Hurrell, Tyson Lewis, Michael Heaney, Brad Field; Richard List, Ben Hunter, Will Griff John, Matt Challinor, Tyler Hotson, Latu Makaafi, Michael Hills (captain), Ollie Stedman.
Ted Stagg, Joe Sproston, Jake Armstrong, Jon Phelan, Glen Young, Dougie Flockhart, Josh Sharp
Alex Davies, Rhys Crane, Toby Howley-Berridge, Joe Munro, James Stephenson, Tristan Roberts, Alex Walker; Will Davis, Alun Walker, Nathan Buck, Nathan Hannay, Carwyn Jones, Adam Preocanin, Danny Kenny, Chris York (captain)
George Porter, Matt Thompson, Michael Holford, Llewelyn Jones, Harrison Orr, Tom Bliss, Callum Wilson
Attendance - 1, 231
Referee – Steve Lee