Despite a strong attacking performance, Newcastle Falcons fell to a 14 point defeat in their pre-season fixture against Doncaster Knights earlier today.
Playing two pre-season fixtures, the team sent to South Yorkshire presented a potent attacking force but was undone through a costly sin binning in the first half.
Kicking off thirty minutes prior to the match at Kingston Park, afternoon got off to the best possible start when Dom Barrow picked up the ball two minutes in and stormed over the line to score.
Lee Smith, playing fullback, converted to give the Falcons a 7-0 lead, but the Falcons' luck changed quickly as the hosts made the most of two penalties in ten minutes.
Both were ably scored by Dougie Flockhart. who then added to his tally by streaking down the wing after an overlap on 19 minutes later for the Knights' first try of the game.
Although the conversion was missed it was enough to give Doncaster the lead, taking the score to 11-7 and shifting momentum in favour of the home side.
More Doncaster pressure followed and two further line breaks led to big pressure just outside of the visitors' 22. which eventually told as Falcons' second row Dan Temm was yellow carded after failing to roll away.
Temm's time in the bin proved costly with the second of two quick Doncaster penalties allowing Matt Challinor to pick up the ball from a lineout and power over the whitewash.
The points continued to rack up against the Falcons when a strong run from Andrew Bulumakau, fresh from an impressive turn in the Premiership Rugby 7s series, set up Mat Clark who added another try to the Championship side's tally.
Flockhart made both conversions leaving the score at 25-7 after 32 minutes as Temm returned to the pitch.
Restored to their full complement, the Falcons enjoyed a strong period of attack including a fantastic kick from Tom Catterick to the corner and heavy pressure following the subsequent line out.
The second half at Castle Park began with the Falcons again starting brightly and take advantage of their numerical superiority when last year's young player of the season George McGuigan powered over the line for the Premiership side's second try of the game.
With Smith adding another conversion to his tally, the score was 25-14 after 48 minutes.
Continuing to search for a way back into match, the Falcons made their first changes bringing on Will Witty and George Hedgeley as replacements for Brian Tuilagi and Glen Young.
Witty made an immediate impact and a line out from close range led to more good pressure which allowed the sub to add another try to the North East team's total and taking the score 25-21 after 48 minutes.
With less than 20 minutes to go it looked as though the Falcons' fortunes were about to change for the better, but the Knights had other ideas and were able to extend their lead as Paul Jarvis capitalised on a superb offload to add a further five points for the Knights.
A patient phase of attack from the Falcons culminated in Temm storming through two defenders to score a try that was again converted by Smith to take the Falcons to within one try of their opponents at 30-26.
But a victorious fightback wasn't to be the tale as Doncaster hit straight back. A multi-phased attack led to Jarvis' second try of the game to restore an eleven point lead for the Yorkshire club.
The final ten minutes of the game saw the Falcons make multiple changes with no less than six players making way for replacements to take to the field. But the fresh legs were unable to make an impact and the Falcons' hard work to escape their own 22 was scuppered when Doncaster demolished a final Falcons scrum.
The home side notched up one last penalty to seal their victory at 40-26.
Knights XV/Replacements 15. Paul Jarvis, 14. Dougie Flockhart, 13. Mat Clark, 12. Bevon Armitage, 11. Andrew Bulumakau, 10. Jamie Lennard, 9. Jack Maplesden, 1. Richard List, 2. Jack Bergmanas, 3. Ross Davies, 4. Matt Challinor, 5. Tyler Hotson, 6. Alex Shaw, 7. Michael Hills, 8. Phil Eggleshaw.
Replacements: Sam Wilson, Tyson Lewis, Jamie Guy, Bruno Bravo, Tom Davies, Ben Hunter, Glen Kenworthy, Jon Phelan, Latu Makaafi, Will Foden
Tries; Flockhart 19’, Challinor 28’, Clark 32’, Jarvis 62’, 71’ Conv; Flockhart 28’, 32’, Lennard 71’ Pens; Flockhart 6’, 9’, Guy 80’
Sin Bin; Hotson 35’
Falcons XV 15. Lee Smith, 14. Sean Brown, 13. Adam Redman, 12. Jamie Helleur, 11. Tom Small, 10. Tom Catterick, 9. Mike Blair, 1. Alex Rodgers , 2. George McGuigan, 3. Scott Wilson/ Mark Irving, 4. Dom Barrow, 5. Glen Young, 6. Brian Tuilagi, 7. Dan Temm, 8. Richard Mayhew ©
Replacements; Jake Elwood, David Nelson, Mark Irving, Dan Grange, George Hedgley, Dan Taylor, Adam Redman, Callum Burn
Tries; Barrow 3’, McGuigan 46’, Witty 59’, Temm 68’
Conv; Smith 3’, 46’, 68’
Sin bin: Temm 23’