Bevon relishing family reunion.

The Knights kick off their 2015/16 Greene King IPA Championship season with a mouth-watering Castle Park tie against league newcomers London Welsh.

The fixture will be a must see encounter for many reasons but holds extra significance for one Knight in particular as mainstay centre Bevon Armitage could line up opposite younger brother Guy for the very first time.

 

In an interview for The Exiles website earlier today, the youngest of the Armitage rugby dynasty was quite bullish about facing his big bro but Bev won’t be pulling any punches and states there’ll be no brotherly love come kick off.

 

“It’s definitely going to be fun taking on the younger brother, we’ve already started having a bit of banter over the phone about how it’s going to play out.”

 

“It’s been an ambition for a long time to play against one of my brothers. I thought it might have been Delon or Steffon, unfortunately that never happened but now, hopefully, I’ll get to go up against Guy, which is even better.

 

“I know how he plays I’ve watched him quite a bit over the years, he is pretty good. He’s a big strong ball carrier and he’s got good offloading ability which you have to be wary about but trust me I’d love to put a good hit on him.”

 

Bevon may be planning a tailor made welcome to Castle Park for his youngest brother but he has been given a warning from the family’s highest authority.

 

“I’ve spoken to Mum about the game and lining up against Guy

 

“She said not to hurt him, I think Mum and Dad are planning to come up for the game so we’ll have to be on best behaviour.”

 

Family rivalry aside Bevon believes the timing of the London Welsh clash suits the Knights and that preparations to date couldn’t have gone better.

 

“I think the fixture is at the right time for us, it’s the first league game and things will still be a bit new with players still settling in plus we’re at home.

 

“If we played them half way through the season they would probably be ticking over a bit better so hopefully we can catch them out.

 

“Pre-season has been really good, the new boys have come in and bought into everything straight away; we’ve gelled really well and there can’t be any complaints so far.”

Don’t miss what promises to be an explosive clash at Castle Park on September 5th, pre-book your tickets from the ticket office now by calling 01302 831388.

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Knights Air reminder.

A reminder for all Knights fans who gave an expression of interest to join the ‘Knights Air‘ travelling party to Jersey RFC for our away league fixture on January 2nd that the deadline for deposits is tomorrow.

We were delighted with the uptake for the trip and had more than the sufficient number of supporters sign up for the flight with a number more placed on a waiting list. The initial deposit of £149 is to be paid by tomorrow or places will be offered to those on the waiting list with the final balance of £150 due on October 31st.

Payments can be made by calling reception on 01302 831388 or by popping into Castle Park, all cheques should be made payable to DRFC LTD.

Travel insurance is not provided as part of the package and as such DRFC will not be liable for any cancellations, withdrawals or similar.

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The Griff report: pre-season week seven.

Following a week of ‘active recovery’ the Knights returned to Castle Park on Monday as preparations intensify ahead of the trio of pre-season clashes next month.

Most Knights fans will be well aware of our Director of Rugby’s relentless work ethic and Griff admits that he had his reservations about granting his squad a full week’s down time. However, he has been delighted with the team reaction and states that Monday and Tuesday’s training sessions have been some of the best so far. “We’ve had a terrific couple of days this week.

“The boys have ripped into each other a bit in terms of their defence and contact work.

“I was a little bit concerned about giving the lads the full week off but it’s not a new thing in the professional game and a lot of Clubs will load a lot of work in the first six week of pre-season then have a week off.

“In the past I have scheduled shortened weeks or longer weekends but it seems to have been worthwhile for us judging by the response, the energy and enthusiasm that has been shown this week.”

With August just around the corner the Knights are only a couple of weeks away from their pre-season training camp and game versus Hull but Clive is confident squad are on target with regards to their preparations. “We’ve been working on our game management since week one, our structures and core skills have been part of training from the beginning.

“Yes, the lads have been out doing fitness and lifting weights but it’s been a mixed program.

“We’ve recapped on what we did last season, added to it and took away some of the stuff we think is obsolete or not working for us anymore.

“We’re ready, as I said before the break we could play now, there are still areas to work on before the first game but I’d say by the time we kick off at Hull we will be 90-95% of where we want to be.

“Then in the two later games we’ll put the finishing touches on before London Welsh on September 5th.”

Dual-registration and loan agreements play a very significant role in the professional game and the Knights have often benefitted from relationships with varying Premiership Clubs. This trend continues as the Knights are joined by a couple of new-faces from other sides in pre-season, players who Clive says may feature in next month’s fixtures. “We have got to remember they’re not our players to start with and give due respect to the parent Clubs.

“Newcastle have said we can play Glen [Young] in pre-season but unfortunately he rolled his ankle in a freak accident in training; going up in the air and landing awkwardly on Listy’s size 25 boot!

“He will be out for a little while but we hope he should be back in time for the Hull game but we’ll monitor the situation. We have replacements incase and by then we’ll have progressed with any prospective signings.

“We’re not looking at bringing in nine or ten individuals in just one or two but we are waiting on certain players to become available or unavailable and then we move on.

“Elsewhere we have a pretty much full bill of health, Declan Cusack has pulled up with a sore calf so we’re not risking him in the contact work we’ve been doing this week but everyone else is refreshed from the week off and looking forward to the next two week block.

“We will continue to cement our foundations next week before upping the ante with the visits of Loughborough and the trip to Hull.”

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Pitch up and Play.

On Sunday 9th August, Castle Park will be hosting a ‘festival of rugby’ open day, where women and girls of all ages and ability can try free taster sessions, led by qualified RFU coaches and the senior women’s rugby union team based at Castle Park, the Doncaster Demons.

The key focus is encouraging women into the sport with inclusive, enjoyable and informative sessions, whether you’re brand new to rugby, a sofa supporter or a returning player. There will be an introduction to tackling, skills, fitness and match play all structured to help build confidence and whilst providing a playing field for women and girls to discover what makes them strong.

It’s a unique approach which aims to ensure that each person attending gets exactly what they want from a session.

Demon’s team manager Gemma French, explains: “We hope these friendly Pitch up and Play sessions will encourage women who might currently be going to the gym, or who want to become more active to give rugby a go, regardless of age, ability or previous experience.”

The sessions are completely free and provide a fantastic introduction to newcomers, so bring along a friend, family member or colleague to give rugby a try.

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Away travel to Hull.

There are just nineteen short days to go until the Knights kick off their pre-season schedule!

On August 15th the Knights return to action following ten weeks of arduous pre-season training for their first fixture in over three months, away at Hull RUFC. The game will be the first opportunity to see the class of 15/16 take to the field, with many players due to don the Knights colours for the very first time.

As well as the long awaited return of Knights rugby August 15th will also see the first, 2015/16, outing of the Knights Supporters Coach. The coach will depart Castle Park for the Far East (Ferens Ground, Hull) at 12.30pm and depart at 6pm and the cost of the coach will be just £10 per adult and £5 per child, considerably less than public transport!

John Lowe is heading up the organising committee for the trip so to book your place you please text John on 07977112706 or e-mail johnlowe0002@gmail.com.

The Knights travelling support was phenomenal last season and something often commented on by the players and playing staff, fingers crossed we can start the new (pre)season where we left off! #COYK

 

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Doncaster Knights 2015/16 playing kit released

The Knights will don a more traditional style for the 2015/16 season as the new playing kit is launched, complete with brand new front of shirt sponsor Twenty Four IT.

 

Ahead of what promises to be an exciting new campaign for the Knights, the team will run out in a strip with a more classic appearance. The primary colours of blue (home) and white (away) will continue as last season but the previously well-established DRFC hoops around the middle of the shirt will return. The shorts and socks will match the base colour of the shirts with an understated two-tone trim of the complimentary colours.

 

We are delighted to welcome four brand new sponsors on to the shirt: Bidvest Food Service, Stratstone Land Rover Doncaster, Wilfreda Beehive and Turner Media all proudly feature on 2015/16 design.

 

We are equally thrilled and wish to thanks current sponsors: Snickers Workwear, Chapman Physiotherapy, Edmundson Electrical, Northern Straw, JP Foot Surgery LTD, Rapidrop, IFI, Nuffield Health and PolyPipe group have continued sponsorship of the Knights playing strip.

 

Last month we proudly announced that Doncaster based Twenty Four IT services would take the centre spot on next season’s playing jersey and to launch the new shirt the company are generously offering a very special deal for Knights supporters. The first 100 fans to order a 2015/16 jersey will receive a £10 discount, subsidized by Twenty Four IT.

 

You can order your playing jersey today, either over the phone with reception by calling 01302 831388 or by popping down to Castle Park & paying cash. To complete your order we will require your; size (Please see size guide > http://www.samurai-sports.com/fit-and-sizing-info the shirts are regular fit), whether you want a home or away shirt and how many shirts you require.

 

The discount makes the cost of a shirt just £25 for an adult* & £22.50 for a child and we are taking orders now!

*Adults sizes 3XL and above are charged at £30 (Incl. discount)

 

Commenting on the offer Sales Manager Kris Turner-West said. ““We are delighted to continue to develop a very successful partnership between Doncaster Knights and Twenty Four IT Services, this is great opportunity for Knights supporters and one we are very thankful to Twenty Four IT for.”

 
2015/16 Home Strip

2015/16 Away Strip

 

 

 

 

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Put a shift in!

Castle Park’s gang of merry volunteers are on a recruitment drive to add to the ranks.

 

Many fans will be well aware of the fantastic work the ‘Knight Shift’ volunteers do at Castle Park on a Tuesday morning. The team tackle a multitude of tasks and odd jobs from painting to window cleaning around the ground make an invaluable contribution to the upkeep of the facility.

 

If you, or someone you know, might be able to commit a couple of hours on a Tuesday morning the help would be very much appreciated and you will be paid handsomely in Janet’s famous bacon sandwiches!

 

For information please call reception on 01302 831388 or pop down on a Tuesday morning and get stuck in!

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The Griff report: pre-season week five.

The Knights are approaching the midway stage of this year’s pre-season and whilst his squad has a hard-earned recovery week from Monday, Clive will enjoy no such luxury as he continues his preparations for the new-season.

 

Griff makes no bones about the fact that the first half of pre-season has been tough on his troops but believes they are well placed as the first fixtures draw closer.

 

“The squad are now ready for a bit of down time because the last five weeks have been particularly tough, the weather out there has been baking at times and it’s certainly tested them.

 

“We’ve really loaded them up, not only in the gym and on the paddock but in the pool at Nuffield and up and down the hills at the Keepmoat.

 

“Next week is a recovery week for the boys but it will be an active recovery week; they wont be putting their feet up and watching Coronation Street or flying off to Bermuda!

 

“They will have sessions to do in their own time but when they are back in it will be wall-to-wall rugby and conditioning.

 

“Everything we have done so far has had rugby mixed in, the forwards have been doing their set pieces and the backs have been running their moves.

 

“Collectively I think we are 90 percent of the way there with regards to our defensive structure and attacking patterns; if there was a game next Saturday we could play.”

 

A trio of pre-season games precede the league’s resumption but Clive and his playing staff are already thinking of September and the challenges it will present.

 

“We’re starting to think about the games now, we had a tactical meeting yesterday talking about the first couple of games

 

“We’ve got an arduous first month with London Welsh, Nottingham and Rotherham in quick succession so we want to make sure we hit the ground running.

 

“We are doing our analysis; looking at the personnel, identifying changes and learning about the guys we’re likely to face. We’re looking at different sides defensive structures and how they play with the ball in hand.

 

“We have to know how we’re going to play against these sides and look to implement that in the pre-season games so it’s fluent come September.

 

Ten new players signed with the Knights for the 2015/16 campaign but with possible World Cup unavailability and the ever-present risk of injury Clive is continuing to look to strengthen.

 

“We currently have Glen Young or ‘Chugga’ training with us from Newcastle Falcons and will be also joined by Jordan Onojaife in August to train with us from Northampton because at this moment in time we still don’t know if both of our Canadian locks will be selected for the World Cup squad.

 

“We have had quite a few lads in to train and to have a look at and after the break another Canadian, Matt Heaton, will train with us from Otley.

 

“We have to reinforce in that [second row] area for sure, whether it is on loan like with Glen and Jordan, a dual-registration or we bring someone in full time; it’s something we need to weigh up and make a decision on.

 

“There are a number of candidates to look at, eight at the last count, that have caught our attentions and are available.

 

“Next week is going to be a very busy week for me in terms of getting deals finalized and then we’ll know where we are in terms of our own squad as well as who is coming in from our ‘big brother’ Clubs.

 

“It is a case of knowing when they’re going to be here and for how long not just having names banded about, we’ve got to have it written in tablets of stone.”

 

Once the team returns, a week on Monday, the intensity really goes up a gear, as there will be just a fortnight until the pre-season fixtures begin.

 

“On week nine we will entertain Loughborough Students on the Tuesday for a training day which is a great link to have and then we’re in to our camp and first game against Hull.

 

“The Hull fixture is a reciprocal agreement from when we played them two seasons ago that should have taken place last season but didn’t.

 

“After that we have back to back home fixtures with Sedgely then Blaydon which will be good tests, particularly the Blaydon fixture as they will have a lot of Newcastle Falcons players involved and, as we found out in National One, they have respect for reputation.”

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Humberstone happy with pre-season progress.

New number ten slotting in just fine.

 

Stand off Simon Humberstone arrived at Castle Park this summer from Cardiff where he spent the last five years playing for both Cardiff Blues in the Pro 12 and Pontypridd in the Welsh Premiership.

 

Following the news that Simon would be leaving the Welsh Capital a torrent of well wishes and good luck messages for the 27-year-old flooded the Knights social media accounts. Whilst the fly half has very fond memories of his time in Wales he is now focused on a big season in South Yorkshire and says, so far, the going is good.

 

“The response to my leaving from the Ponty fans was very humbling and meant a lot but that in the past now and I’m focused on the new challenge that lies for me here.

 

“It’s been great so far, I’ve settled in really well.

 

“We’ve had five good weeks, it’s been good fun getting to know the boys, they’re a great bunch of lads, and getting to know the coaches as well.

 

“I’ve just tried to throw myself into everything, I’ve been to see a bit of rugby league which was new for me and am enjoying life up here.”

 

The Knights pre-season is almost at a midway point and Simon says that training focuses are now turning to more rugby related practices following a grueling period of fitness and conditioning

 

“The first two weeks were pretty heavy on the conditioning side of things and we are still getting stuck into our fitness but we are starting to implement more shape, getting our generic calls to become second nature.

 

“We have a week off next week then after that I really think my focus will turn to the first pre-season game.

 

“I have broken pre-season up into two blocks in my head. We’ve almost completed the first five weeks and I’ve really got stuck into that; working on my fitness and conditioning.

 

“I’ll enjoy our week off next week, that will be the last chance to switch off from rugby, because after that it is ten months of playing and the focus will really intensify so I’ll take the chance to see friends and chill a bit.

 

“Then once we’re back in it’s all systems go building up to the games.”

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2015/2016 B&I Cup Initial Announcement

After an historic journey through last season’s B&I Cup Competition culminating in a final at Castle Park against Worcester Warriors, the 2015/16 Knights Squad kick off their B&I Cup Campaign with an away leg to fellow Championship side Jersey RFC. Thereafter, the Pool stage of the Cup competition will see the Knights traveling to Ireland and to Wales.

 

Following a revamp by the WRU, Welsh teams competing in the B&I Cup will comprise Regional Premiership squad teams including Cardiff Blues Premiership Select, Ospreys Premiership Select and Scarlets Premiership Select. The Knights are joined in Pool 5 by Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select and the other team in Pool 5 are Connacht Eagles (Formerly Connacht A).

 

The outline schedule of Pool matches are shown below. Following today’s announcement, clubs will liaise to confirm the match day and kick off time. The timing of the Knights game in Galway against Connacht Eagles will be dependent upon the future announcement of the Heineken Cup fixtures – a home game for Connacht on the B&I Cup weekend may drive the game away from a Saturday. As and when the away fixtures are confirmed we will make the information available.

 

It is intended that all the Knights home games in the B&I Cup will be played on a Saturday with a 2:30 pm kick off; however, until the detail is confirmed, the arrangement could be subject to change.

 

Knights 2015/16 B&I Cup Fixtures

 

Round one – 13/14/15 November

Jersey RFC vs Doncaster Knights

 

Round two – 20/21/22 November

Doncaster Knights vs Connacht Eagles

 

Round three – December 11/12/13

Doncaster Knights vs Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select

 

Round four – 18/19/20 December

Newport Gwent Dragons Premiership Select vs Doncaster Knights

 

Round five – 15/16/17 January

Connacht Eagles vs Doncaster Knights

 

Round six – 23 January

Doncaster Knights vs Jersey RFC

 

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Armstrong enjoying life as a Knight.

Unless you’ve been living in solitary confinement inside a windowless bunker this week you will have been enjoying/complaining about this week’s much-publicised ‘heat wave’.

 

Whilst most of us will have been staring longingly out of the office window or planning a midweek, post-work barbecue the Knights have been hard at it; toiling in the heat as preparations for the 2015/16 campaign continue.

 

Despite temperatures of almost 30 degrees and an arduous program of fitness and conditioning, new signing Jake Armstrong maintains that he has enjoyed every step of pre-season at Castle Park so far and is thoroughly enjoying his new role as a Knight.

 

“It’s been class.

 

“It really has been great meeting and getting to know the team. Everyone gets on really well and is in good spirits, I’m one of quite a few news guys but we seem to have gelled together really quickly.”

 

“The training has been tough. As you might expect, we’ve done a lot of fitness and conditioning over the last couple of weeks, lots of running and plenty of time in the gym.

 

“We have done quite a bit of rugby already though. Cookie has done a lot of work with us on our skills and we have started to look at our set piece already.

 

“We’re just really hammering the basics at the moment, making sure we’re on top of the sort of stuff that needs to be our bread and butter when the season starts.”

 

As well as unit work the Knights have been broken up into groups for parts of the pre-season training according to the needs of each player, as Yorkshireman Jake explains.

 

“As a squad we have been split up into different groups depending on what the playing staff want us to improve on individually, it makes the work we’re doing feel very tailored and caters for individual needs which is good.

 

“The focuses of the three groups are essentially; power and speed, fitness and strength.

 

“So depending which group you have been allocated you are spending a bit more time in the gym or a bit more time on conditioning or doing some power specific stuff on the field like sled work and resistance training.”

 

The Knights kick off a trio of pre-season fixtures on August 15th and whilst the former Carnegie prop has only been a Knight for three weeks he is already looking ahead to the first game.

 

“I think everyone has the pre-season fixtures on their mind already, everything during pre-season so far has been tapered towards playing rugby.

 

“We know there is a lot more ground to cover and hard work to put in before we get to that point but that first game is always in your consciousness.”

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