COVENTRY RFC stunned Doncaster Knights to claim a 35-22 victory in the first leg of their Championship Cup quarter-final tie.
Jordon Poole, Fred Betteridge, Andy Forsyth, James Tyas and Tom Emery all crossed for tries at Castle Park to hand Coventry a 13-point advantage ahead of the second leg.
Doncaster went into the clash as favourites having finished second in the league table, with Coventry down in eighth, and were unbeaten at home losing just three matches all season.
However, the visitors made a strong start when Poole powered over the line from a rolling maul with veteran Tony Fenner converting before the latter missed a penalty attempt soon after.
Coventry doubled their lead when Betteridge crashed over on the opposite side after several phases close to the Doncaster line with Fenner again adding the extras.
Doncaster finally troubled the scoreboard through Maliq Holden on the wing who crossed for an unconverted score after the home side gained territory deep in the Coventry half.
However, the away side struck again before the half was up when Forsyth confidently touched down from Louis Brown’s pass after the latter broke the line with Fenner’s conversion sending Coventry into the break with a 21-5 lead.
The Knights reduced the deficit early in the second period when Sam Olver pounced on a loose ball, after it bounced out of the hands of Coventry’s Will Owen, before chipping to Holden who crossed for his second try of the match converted by the former.
And Olver kicked a penalty soon after to close the gap to six points only for another Coventry try to take the game out of Doncaster’s reach as Tyas crashed over after several phases with Fenner slotting the conversion.
The home side kept themselves in the contest when Sam Graham converted his own score before Emery ran the length of the pitch to increase Coventry’s lead with Fenner’s conversion handing the visitors a healthy advantage ahead of the second leg.
And the second leg takes place on Sunday, May 8 with kick-off at 3pm at Butts Park Arena.
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