NOTTINGHAM will again be among the contenders in the
Championship play-offs courtesy of a close fought 27-21 win at
It could have been a different story had Doncaster kicker Jamie
Lennard been in anything like his usual form: he missed several
penalties as Knights pressed hard for points in their survival
Games between these two sides are often feisty, and this was no
exception - each side having a big incentive to go for the
The Green and Whites needed the win to seal that play-off place,
but Knights have propped up the Championship for too long now and
were desperate for the points in order to avoid the drop.
The second half in particular saw the tension mount and both
captains were sent to the sin-bin, with Dan Montagu also shown a
After an early miss from Lennard it was Nottingham who took the
lead with a long-range penalty from James Arlidge.
He doubled that lead midway through the first half when Knights
were penalised at a scrum, but the home side soon got their first
points of the day minutes later as Lennard found his range.
The first try of the game came just before the half hour mark as
Andy savage finished off a flowing attack after David Jackson's
pace had seen him make plenty of ground.
A second soon followed with a clever chip over the defence with
Andy Forsyth, making his first start of the season, winning the
race and Arlidge making it 18-3 with the conversion.
A couple of late penalties from Lennard brought them back to
9-18, before a try-saving tackle denied Lewington in the
Dante Mama didn't get too many chances to show what he could do
when he spent last season at Meadow Lane, but he showed plenty of
skill as he weaved through the Nottingham defence for a try early
in the second half, with Lennard converting to make it 16-18.
Again Nottingham almost forced a try only to be denied by some
desperate defence, but they did force a penalty for Arlidge to
increase their lead.
Just before the hour though both skippers were yellow carded as
the tension began to show, but with Nottingham awarded a penalty
Arlidge stepped up to make it 16-24.
Then it was Montagu's turn for a spell in the sin-bin after
another outbreak of handbags, and it was not long before Sharp got
over in the corner to make it 21-24.
The final play of the game saw Knights penalised at a ruck and
Arlidge complete the scoring with his fifth penalty of the
21 (Mama, Sharp Try; Lennard Conv; Lennard 3
Pen) Nottingham Rugby
27 (Savage, Forsyth Tries; Arlidge Conv;
Arlidge 5 Pen)
Nottingham: Savage, Lewington, Streather,
Forsyth, Lewington, Arlidge, Romans; Parr, Malton (sub: Duffey
57mins), Holford, Montagu, Rouse, Cooper, Wilson, Shaw.
Substitutes not used: Quinn, Calladine, Barnham, Lynn,
REF: L Apgeraint Roberts ATT: 1,319