A thrilling British and Irish Cup opener on Saturday saw Doncaster Knights edge out Cross Keys at Pandy Park.
The game started brilliantly for Keys and they were ahead in the 2nd minute when a break from a scrum saw skipper Leon Andrews glide through a gap in the Knights defence to score the games opening points. Dorian Jones added the conversion and kicked a penalty just minutes later a give Keys the early advantage.
The Knights gradually set about getting into the game and they took advantage of a loose ball from Keys on the halfway line to score a straight forward try under the posts, centre Matt Clark touching down. Dougie Flockhart added the extras before he kicked a penalty to level the scores after 15 minutes of play. The Knights went ahead for the first time with 20 minutes played when Flockhart kicked his second penalty.
Immediately from the restart the pendulum swung back in Keys favour when the ball bounced through in to the arms of Keys winger Polu Uhi after a mixup in the Doncaster defence and Uhi claimed the ball and did the rest to get his sides second try of the game. Dorian Jones failed to add the conversion but Keys were back ahead
Just before half time Doncaster reclaimed the lead when their number 8 Phil Eggleshaw crossed for a try off the base of a scrum and Dougie Flockhart added the conversion.
Half Time Score Cross Keys 15 Doncaster Knights 20
The second half saw Keys start on the front foot and patient build up followed by a delicate chip through from Dorian Jones saw centre Barney Nightingale cross for a try in the corner after 5 minutes of the half. Dorian Jones kicked the tricky conversion from the touch line and Keys were back ahead. That lead was extended when Dorian Jones kicked a huge penalty from just inside the Knights half with 47 minutes played.
With the game entering the final quarter the Knights reduced the gap thanks to another Dougie Flockhart penalty. This spurred the Knights on and they got their third try when after a rolling maul from a line out, replacement Michael Hills was driven over the line with a little over 10 minutes remaining. Dougie Flockhart added the conversion.
Then, with around 10 minutes remaining and with Keys trying to regain the lead once more a controversial moment occurred that effectively cost Keys the game. Doncaster were awarded their fourth try when winger Andy Bulumakau scored despite what appeared to be an glaringly obvious forward pass in the build up and despite at least one of the referees assistants notifying the referee of the forward pass the try stood and the game was all but secure. Dougie Flockhart added the conversion.
There was still time for Keys to mount a come back and they clinched their fourth try with 5 minutes remaining when a sweeping move across the back line saw the ball work it's way to James Cordy-Redden who scored in the corner to give Keys hope. Geraint Rhys Jones kicked the awkward touch line conversion.
Keys pressed to win the game in the closing moments but the chance to win went from them when a ball in to a lineout on the 5 metre line was called not straight and that was that but what a great game of rugby which went right to the wire and could of gone either way.
Cross Keys Scorers:-
Tries: Leon Andrews, Polu Uhi, Barney Nightingale & James Cordy-Redden
Conversions: Dorian Jones (x2) & Geraint Rhys Jones (x1)
Penalties: Dorian Jones (x2)
Tries: Matt Clark, Phil Eggleshaw, Michael Hills & Andy Bulumakau
Conversions: Dougie Flockhart (x4)
Penalties: Dougie Flockhart (x3)
Keys Man of the Match: Polu Uhi