Doncaster Knights 18, Cornish Pirates 18
Kieran Hallett's penalty four minutes into second half stoppage time saved the Cornish Pirates' blushes in South Yorkshire on Friday night as they battled back to grab a draw, writes Dick Straughan.
The Pirates had gone into the game keen to end a run of successive defeats against the winless Knights but looked to be heading for a shock defeat when home hooker Rhys Buckley claimed a converted 80th minute try.
But a penalty awarded to the Cornish side shortly after the restart and marched ten metres closer to the posts after some afters by the home pack, gave Hallett the perfect chance to level the game. And the summer signing from Nottingham nailed the shot from 40 metres.
A largely insipid contest was short on points-scoring opportunities in the first half with Jamie Lennard's early penalty for the Knights cancelled out by Hallett. But with a minute of the half remaining Bath dual-registered flanker Joe Buckle went over from close range to put the Pirates 8-3 up.
Lennard's boot cut the lead to two on 52 minutes before Chris Planchant scored a try in the corner to put the Knights ahead, and Castle Park's faithful began to sense victory.
With four minutes to go Alex Cheesman restored the Pirates' lead with a second try superbly converted by Hallett, only for Buckley to seemingly snatch the victory back for the Knights.
Hallett levelled the game and the Pirates take home two points but there will be little else to remember from this game.
Doncaster Knights: Mama, Flockhart, Simpson, Tincknell, Lewis, Lennard, Hallam (Silver 70); Davies (Brown 70), Buckley, McGovern (Cronin 60), Hoy (Parsons 46), Challinor (capt), Kettle, Bradford (sin-bin 37-47, Boyde 60)), Planchant (Sowery 80+2).
Replacements (not used): Parsons, Barrett.
Scorers. Tries – Buckley, Planchant; Cons – Lennard; Pens – Lennard (2).
Yellow card: Bradford.
Cornish Pirates: Evans (Penberthy 65), Bedford, Riley, Cheesman, Kessell, Hallett, Cattle (capt) (Fatialofa 26); Storer (Andrew 65), Yeandle (Elloway 57), Paver (Joyce 60), Lyons, Johnson (Burgess 49-53), Morgan, Buckle (Burgess 57), McGlone (Ewers h/t, sin-bin 79).
Scorers. Tries – Buckle, Cheesman; Cons – Hallett; Pens – Hallett (2).
Yellow card: Ewers.
Referee: D Gamage (RFU).