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Conversions: Paul Roberts (1/3)
Penalties: Paul Roberts (1/2)
Conversions: Glyn Hughes (1/2), Alex Lozowski (1/1)
Penalties: Glyn Hughes (1/2), Alex Lozowski (1/1)
The Doncaster side included former Leeds winger Matt Clark as Clive Griffith's side looked to lay down a marker for the new National One season.
The home side enjoyed the lion's share of possession in the opening ten minutes and Leeds were made to battle hard on defence to keep the home side out. Fly half Paul Roberts had the chance to make the dominance show on the scoreboard but his penalty attempt struck the post and Calum Green showed a cool head to pluck the ball out of the air and clear the danger.
That let off seemed to spur Leeds on and they soon went on the attack. Green was performing well at the line out whilst James Doherty was providing quick service to the back line. Leeds had struggled in the early scrums, with Lee Imiolek in particular being punished by the referee but Carnegie got to grips with the set piece after that and were able to keep the pressure up. After three quick penalties on the Knights line, Leeds looked certain to score from the line out but the officials spotted an offside as Green came down with the ball and Doncaster had a major let off.
The home forwards then took control and kept the ball tight to rumble up field and eventually prop Tom Davies spotted a gap off the ruck and powered his way over. Roberts added the conversion to give his side a 7-0 lead after 16 minutes.
Leeds managed to get off the mark when Hughes kicked a penalty after 29 minutes and then the visitors took the lead seven minutes later. Jonah Holmes had looked busy throughout the afternoon, the former Wasps man was not afraid to come off his wing to look for the ball, and he got his reward from a well timed pass and sliced through midfield before sprinting in for the try from 25 metres out. Hughes added the conversion to give his side a 10-7 lead.
However, Doncaster came right back at Leeds in the final moments of the half. The team, who were relegated from the Championship last season, were determined to lay down a marker and only desperate defence from Leeds kept them out. They had to settle for a penalty from Roberts on the stroke of half time to level the score at the interval.
Leeds made three changes at half time and immediately grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck when they came back out. The forwards drove the ball on and eventually Burrows, one of the trio that came on at the break, crashed over for Leeds. Hughes was unlucky to see his conversion attempt drift wide but his side now led 15-10.
The Knights immediately came back at Leeds and capitalised on an error from Carnegie. Leeds lost possession just outside of their 22m area and quick hands along the back line put winger Tyson Lewis in space. Leeds did well to bring him down but Doncaster kept the ball alive and number eight Phil Eggleshaw spotted a gap and stretched out to score. Roberts pushed his conversion atttempt wide so the scores remained locked.
After that score, Leeds had the better of the possession and territory but credit must go to the Knights who showed tremendous commitment in defence to keep the visitors out. Hughes missed a penalty chance to put his side in front from 40 metres out and was replaced soon after by Alex Lozowski. The former Chelsea football junior had a hand in creating a great chance with his first touch, only for David Doherty to be tripped up just short of the line however Leeds got a penalty for offside and he kicked the penalty to give his side the lead.
With eleven minutes to go the game took another twist when Doncaster made the most of an advantage and attacked from deep before Roberts cross field kick was weighted to perfection and Paul Jarvis collected the ball off the bounce, held off two defenders and touched down to give his side the lead. Roberts missed the conversion attempt but the home side were back in front at 20-18 with nine minutes to play.
Doncaster missed a chance to close out the game when they knocked on ten metres from the Carnegie line with four minutes to go and Leeds took advantage. A great kick from Craig Hampson penned Doncaster near their line from a line out and they then knocked on. From the scrum, Lozowski again asked questions of the defence before the defence was stretched by a wide pass. Leeds then cut back in field and Burrows forced his way from close range. Lozowski added the conversion to ensure the 25-20 win.