Vital win for Dinnington keeps safety hopes alive

Dinnington Rugby Club v v Knottingley  (w120331-10a)
Dinnington Rugby Club v v Knottingley (w120331-10a)
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Yorkshire One

Dinnington 30

Dinnington Rugby Club v v Knottingley  (w120331-10b)

Dinnington Rugby Club v v Knottingley (w120331-10b)

Knottingley 28

A TRY with the last play of the game gave Dinnington a dramatic victory and kept alive their hopes of avoiding the drop into Yorkshire Two.

Dinnington did not make it easy for themselves, conceding tries almost straight from the kick-offs to each half and regularly turning try scoring opportunities into desperate defence with some ambitious passing.

Going into this must-win game, Dinnington knew they could not give away tries but that is exactly what they did with only two minutes on the watch as they overthrew the ball at a lineout on half way and allowed the Knottingley number eight to run unchallenged to the line.

Dinnington Rugby Club v v Knottingley  (w120331-10c)

Dinnington Rugby Club v v Knottingley (w120331-10c)

The home side’s response was to put the visitors under pressure in their own twenty-two which brought a string of penalties. Dinnington took the wise option and Chris Williams kicked a penalty.

The home side continually made life difficult for themselves by allowing Knottingley to run too far unchallenged and it was no surprise when they gave away a penalty in front of their own posts giving Knottingley an easy kick.

The visitors should have gone further ahead moments later but with only the full back to beat, and their winger in open space, they somehow managed to pass the ball to a retreating Dinnington defender who cleared the danger.

That could have been the turning point of the game, as within minutes Dinnington got on level terms as David Longstaffe picked up a loose ball in his own half, beat his opposite number on the outside and had a clear run to the posts giving Williams a straightforward conversion.

However, in the last ten minutes of the half, Dinnington conceded another penalty, allowed Knottingley to run almost the length of the field for another try and had a man sin-binned to go into half time 20-10 behind.

If the advice at half time was ‘keep it tight’ then it must have fallen on deaf ears because Dinnington failed to collect Knottingley’s kick off and moments later the visitors were scoring in the corner to go 15 points clear.

Three minutes into the half, a penalty from Williams cut the deficit to twelve points and five minutes later Dinnington momentarily thought they had cut the lead further only for the referee to rightly disallow a try for crossing.

Dinnington continued to put the pressure on both Knottingley and themselves as attack was often quickly switched to defence with wrong options.

Just before the mid-point of the half Longstaffe went over for his second try but almost immediately Knottingley responded with a penalty to stay ten points clear.

Again Dinnington showed their true potential with some quick recycling of the ball and, with 15 minutes to go, Longstaffe completed his hat-trick as he burst through from close range to put the home side just three points behind.

All this hard work seemed to have been wasted as Knottingley won a penalty almost in front of the posts, but their kicker pushed the ball wide to keep Dinnington in the game.

The last ten minutes saw Dinnington playing some very open rugby, which did not always come off and again they turned good attacking positions into defence.

With little time on the watch they found themselves in their own twenty-two but with a penalty. They chose to run the ball and with some strong running had Knottingley going backwards and conceding penalties.

Each time Dinnington took it quickly and they were soon pressing the visitor’s line. Five times they were held up just short until Tom Shepard found a gap just big enough for him to be able to stretch for the line.

There were suspicions that it was a ‘bounce ball’ but the referee was on the spot and he thought not.

Dinnington’s next scheduled game is away to second in the table Keighley on 14th April. However, a decision has yet to be reached on whether the Bridlington game has to be replayed. If it has to be played that should be on 7th April.