Doncaster Phoenix 32 West 8

By Dave Picken - February 21 2016
Doncaster Phoenix 32 West 8 We didn't take backward step against the league leaders but their clinical finishing and greater experience meant the result was never much in doubt ...

We knew Phoenix had a reputation for starting quickly but we couldn't do much to stop it. After just six minutes former London Irish fly half Jamie Lennard slid through a gap to go in under the posts to set himself up for an easy conversion.

Two minutes later his astute cross field kick was misjudged by a hesitant West defence, and winger Ed Miles had the easy task of dotting down to give his side a 12-0 lead.

From then on it was all uphill for the visitors, but the West pack stuck to its task and forced play back into the home 22.  A series of drives were repelled with the home side giving away a series of penalties. Eventually second row Chris Planchant was yellow carded for not allowing  Ryan Painter ten metres aafter a tap and go from 15 metres out.

Zac Southern converted the penalty to get the scoreboard ticking for the visitors who kept up their pressure and got a fine try on the half hour. Scott Butcher was the man to finish off in the corner after Peter Youll had broken through the defence. He set up Painter who drew the tacklers before sending Butcher in at the flag. Southern's conversion attempt was narrowly wide but 14 man Phoenix were looking just a little vulnerable.

That was until Lennard popped up again four minutes later with an identical cross field kick. This time it was centre Dave Hankinson who had the strength to collect and go over in the corner as Luke Mallinson tried to force him into touch. The West full back argued that he had been successful but to no avail.

Lennard's conversion from the touchline was superbly struck, and he slotted a penalty just before the break to give the league leaders a 22-8 half time lead.

The game had been becoming increasingly tetchy in the first half. It continued after the break with a flare up in the West 22 as Phoenix were awarded a penalty, which was reversed in our favour when it all died down.

However, the peace did not last long with a major bust up close to the half way line. Eventually Aaron Myers and Phoenix replacement second row Martin Protheroe were the last to emerge from beneath the pile of bodies - only to be rewarded with yellow cards.

We continued to work hard with a series of drives for the line after opting for line-outs from penalty decisions. John Bunter looked to have touched down after one such effort but the referee was unsighted.

Instead the crowd, who were enjoying the comfort of the padded seats in the majestic main stand, had to wait until almost the 65th minute for the first score of the half.

It came from one of the few flowing movements of the afternoon as dangerous fullback Dan Porter finished off a slick passing move up the right wing to give his side a try scoring bonus point.

Lennard was wide of the mark with his conversion, and he failed again right at the end of the game as Phoenix completed the scoring with a push over try from prop Tom Bagnall.

That was the last of then 2.15 kick offs and we have half a dozen games left in the season, with four at home, and the aim now is to win all six.

Doncaster Phoenix: Dan Porter, Ed Miles, Dave Hankinson, Andy Ellis, Josh Fowler, Jamie Lennard, Tim Elliot, Joe Lowcock, Fran Hasija, Tom Bagnall, Ollie Harrison, Chris Planchant, Ryan Pearcey, Ben Hyde, Adam Kettle.

Reps (all used): Alex Keeton, Martin Protheroe, Will Burden.

Tries: Lennard, Miles, Hankinson, Porter, Bagnall.

Cons: Lennard: (2)

Pens: Lennard (1)

Yellow: Planchant, Protheroe.

West: Luke Mallinson, Scott Butcher, Greg Edwards, Peter Youll, Joe Willis, Zac Southern, Ryan Painter, Jack Angus, Andrew Rollins, Adam Coates, Owen Bennett, Dan Boatman (captain), Liam Bailey, Aaron Myers, Sam Miller.

Reps (all used): John Bunter, Alex Barker, Connor Fewster.

Tries: Butcher

Pens: Southern.

Yellow: Myers