Knights complete pre-season hat trick.

Knights 52 Blaydon 0

The Knights recorded their third consecutive fifty point win of pre-season and second clean sheet as they produced a fine second half display to power past National One outfit Blaydon.

 

It was, as the cliché goes, very much a game of two halves. The opening forty was quite a scrappy affair littered with indecision, errors and poor discipline. In the second period the Knights really showed their class to but Blaydon to the sword.

 

The home side could have been out of sight early doors had it not been for some tough officiating and relaxed finishing. Tyson Lewis, Andy Bulumakau and Ben Hunter all had tries disallowed in the opening twenty-five minutes but the visitors had their share of attacking opportunity also.

 

Blaydon raced out of the traps and pressured the Donny defence in the opening exchanges and actually managed to get over the line; good defence holding the ball up and preventing a score. After the initial onslaught from the visitors the Knights came into the game and when Blaydon had tight head prop Trevor Davison sent to the sin bin they began to gain the upper hand.

 

Following the three disallowed efforts mentioned above Will Hurrell eventually broke the deadlock. A solid scrum gave Brad Field a platform to break down the blindside and then find the powerful winger to barge over. Cusack was unable to convert from the touchline and the sides went in to the break with the score just 5-0.

 

The Knights emerged from the Changing rooms for the second half completely revitalized and produced the best forty minutes of rugby of pre-season thus far.

 

Four tries in the fifteen minutes following the restart put the result beyond doubt as the Knights backs cut lose on a lovely afternoon for rugby at Caste Park. Tyson Lewis began the second half scoring and had a big part to play in Andy Bulumakau’s try moments later. Glen Young was over shortly after before Will Hurrell picked up his second of the afternoon.

 

Clive and the playing staff rung the changes and will have been encouraged to see stalwarts Challinor, Quigley and Shaw makes successful returns to action with Shaw adding to the Knights total just after the hour mark.

 

Credit must go to Blaydon who could have rolled over at this point but instead rallied and prevented any further Knights scores till the very late stages of the game.

 

In the final five minutes Dougie Flockhart finished a nice starter move from a scrum in the visitors 22m and then Jim Wigglesworth rounded off the afternoon to score on his debut after MichaeL Heaney created a gap from a quick tap penalty.

 

On the whole a very impressive finish to pre-season with a number of players putting their hand up for starting berth versus London Welsh next Saturday.

Starting XV; 15) Sam Edgerley, 14) Tyson Lewis, 13) Andy Bulumakau, 12) Bevon Armitage, 11) Will Hurrell, 10), Declan Cusack, 9) Brad Field 1) Richard List, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) WillGriff John, 4) Glen Kenworthy, 5) Glen Young, 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Ollie Stedman.

 

Replacements; 16) Jack Bergmanas 17) Ted Stagg, 18) Jake Armstrong, 19) Matt Challinor, 20) Mat Clark, 21) Dougie Flockhart, 22) Michael Heaney, Blank) Joe Sproston, Blank) Colin Quigley, Blank) Joe Maksymiw, Blank) Alex Shaw, Blank) Jack Barnard, Blank) Jim Wigglesworth. (all used)

 

Tries; Hurrell 28’ 56’, Lewis 42’, Bulumakau 45’, Young 52’, Shaw 62’, Flockhart 76’, Wigglesworth 80’

Pens;

Conv; Cusack 42’ 45’ 56’ Flockhart 62’ 76’ 80’

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Squad named for final pre-season clash

The side for the final warm up fixture of the summer has been named as the Knights look to complete a trio of pre-season victories by overcoming National One outfit Blaydon.

 

Griff and the playing staff welcome a number of familiar faces back into the match day squad with Matt Challinor, Alex Shaw and Colin Quigley all returning to the fold following injuries. New signing Jim Wigglesworth is also set to make his Knights debut having recovered from an ankle concern.

 

Having impressed from the bench at scrum half Sam Edgerley will make his full debut tomorrow but not in his usual, instead lining up at full back. Bevon Armitage and Tyson Lewis return to the starting back line and Brad Field makes his second start of pre-season inside Declan Cusack.

 

The pack is the same bar one as the eight that kicked off versus Hull a fortnight ago with Ben Hunter at hooker and Ted Stagg on the bench.

 

There are a total of fourteen players named among the replacements as the Griff continues to rotate the full squad ahead of next weekend’s Championship opener with London Welsh.

 

There are two non-Knights included on the bench as 19-year-old lock Joe Maksymiw joins us from Leicester Tigers and flanker Jack Barnard will hope to build on his try-scoring debut last week.

 

Starting XV; 15) Sam Edgerley, 14) Tyson Lewis, 13) Andy Bulumakau, 12) Bevon Armitage, 11) Will Hurrell, 10) Declan Cusack, 9) Brad Field, 1) Richard List, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) WillGriff John, 4) Glen Kenworthy, 5) Glen Young, 6) Latu Makaafi, 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Ollie Stedman.

 

Replacements; 16) Jack Bergmanas 17) Ted Stagg, 18) Jake Armstrong, 19) Matt Challinor, 20) Mat Clark, 21) Dougie Flockhart, 22) Michael Heaney, Blank) Joe Sproston, Blank) Colin Quigley, Blank) Joe Maksymiw, Blank) Alex Shaw, Blank) Jack Barnard, Blank) Jim Wigglesworth, Blank) Paul Jarvis.

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Canadian duo narrowly miss World Cup cut.

Canada’s loss stands to be the Knights gain as second row pairing Tyler Hotson and Jon Phelan have been omitted from the Canucks 31 man World Cup squad.

 

The locks have been on tour with the Canadian national side for most of the summer, competing in the Pacific Nations Cup, and had survived previous culls to make it to this final stage.

 

Whilst disappointing for both players, the omissions will significantly boost the Knights second row options with both players returning to join the Squad as early as next Monday.

 

Commenting on the announcement DoR Clive Griffiths said. “Having worked with Canada for a fair few years now I am very surprised that neither Jon or Tyler have been included in the RWC squad.

 

“I’m sure that Keiran Crowley [Rugby Canada Head Coach] will not have taken this decision lightly as we have all seen the great strides and standard of play both players have produced in the Knights jersey.

 

“We will welcome both our men back into the Knights family and look forward to having them in the early games of the season; a luxury that seemed unlikely some time ago.

 

“It is hoped both Jon and Tyler will be at Castle Park in attendance on Saturday where I’m sure our knowledgeable supporters will give both lads their welcome and support.”

 

The news follows last week’s announcement that hooker Vili Veikoso has been included in Fiji’s 31 man squad. We wish Vili every success for the tournament; except when Fiji face England on September 18th at Twickenham.

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Griff report: Sedgley reflection

The Knights made it two pre-season wins from two as they overcame Sedgley Park 58-7 at Castle Park last weekend.

The visitors battled admirably throughout the eighty minutes but the Knights defence held firm with an offensive error the cause of the Lancastrian’s sole try. Commenting earlier today the Knights DoR spoke positively about his team’s performance but admits there is still work to do.

 

“For the most part our defence was solid, we’ve picked up on a few things that we need to sharpen up on with our defensive line but it’s easily fixable.

 

“The only blot on the copybook was the own goal we scored. We showed intent to play but unfortunately on that occasion it cost us and the ball dropped to one of the quickest guys on the field in James Harrison and there was no catching him.

 

“We need to make sure we’re really making life hard for our opposition when they have the ball, not give away any gifts like that and make teams earn the right to cross our line.”

 

“Some of our decision making with ball in hand needs to improve. I think if you look at the way we’ve sometimes tried to play in pre-season especially when receiving kick offs or running the ball from deep in our own territory there is evidence of that.

 

“Against stronger opponents we’ll need to be sharper on our decision making as we’ll be up against sharper defenses.”

 

Griff anticipates a tougher battle this Saturday as the Knights get reacquainted with Blaydon RFC. The Newcastle-based side will be the highest ranked opponents to visit Castle Park this pre-season and a stern examination is expected.

 

“Blaydon will no doubt bring their usual robust, no nonsense style of play here this Saturday.

 

“They’ll have a strong scrum coached by Micky Ward who has a great reputation, particularly in that aspect of the game.

 

“We had two titanic tussles with them in National One and I think they’ll be an ideal opposition ahead of our game with London Welsh on September 5th.”

 

Clive will continue to look at a number of positional options this Saturday but has been boosted by news that a number of the Knights squad should be fit for selection.

 

“We will try more combinations at the weekend, the team that starts on Saturday won’t necessarily be the side that starts against Welsh. We’ve aimed to give everyone as much game time as possible in the two games so far and I think we’ve been successful in that.

 

“We’ve seen a lot of the new players; unfortunately Joe [Sproston] has had to play at number eight for most of the time due to circumstance but we got to see him prop towards the end of the game versus Sedgley and he looked decent.

 

“Alex Shaw and Matt Challinor should feature at some point this Saturday as well as Colin Quigley and it will be interesting to see how they go.

 

“Paul Jarvis has an adductor strain so he’s doubtful and we are waiting to hear on Jim Wigglesworth but we will know for sure when the team is confirmed on Thursday.

 

Kick off versus Blaydon this Saturday is at 14:30 and adult tickets start from just £5. #COYK

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Live at the Castle

Castle Park to host post-match musical entertainment following Championship opener.

 

The Knights make their long awaited return to competitive rugby on September 5th as we welcome London Welsh to Castle Park. Griff’s charges will look to make a flying start to the new campaign by conquering the relegated Premiership outfit on what will be an action packed afternoon both on and off the pitch.

 

Our annual Start of Season Lunch precedes the day’s sport and is a brilliant way for fans to fuel up and socialise ahead of what should be a gripping rugby battle. Then, following the full time whistle, we are delighted to announce that we will be hosting live music on the De Mulder Lloyd Stand concourse.

Barnsley based Danny Smart + The Northern Sons will perform two sets mixing original and cover songs in an indie-country style shortly after the Man of the Match presentations. The show is entirely free to all who have purchased a match day ticket as well as season ticket holders and we hope as many can stay to listen as possible.

Check out more of Danny Smart + The Northern Sons music here.

 

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Knights lay siege to Sedge.

Knights 59 Sedgley Park 7

The Knights returned to Castle Park in emphatic style with a convincing pre-season victory over National League two side Sedgley Park.

Griff included four loanees in his squad of twenty-seven and made a handful of changes to the XV that started vs Hull RUFC a week earlier. The home side did not dither in stamping their authority on the tie as, with just over a minutes gone, prop WillGriff John barged over for his first try in Knights colours. Dougie Flockhart adding the extras with many fans still making their way from the bar.

Sedgley Park did exert early pressure of their own and, in idyllic rugby conditions, spun the ball around impressively. Unfortunately for the visitors, the Knights capitalized well any loose play and registered again soon after. Andy Bulumakau showed great skill post tackle to win the ball on the floor and flick possession to Flockhart. The winger quickly handed on to Paul Jarvis who put his foot down at galloped home.

Arguably the game’s finest moment came on the quarter hour mark. It looked as if the Knights had touched down after Flockhart hard collected a long miss pass from Declan Cusack but the touch judge deemed the Scotsman to have stepped in touch. Play was brought back for a Knights penalty, which was put to the corner. Following a solid catch and drive line out play was brought in field before being switched blind where speedster Glen Kendo lay in wait to collect and race over.

The Knights went on the attack again almost immediately after the restart. Ben Hunter broke free in midfield following some nice passing interplay, the hooker found Latu Makaafi on his shoulder who fought off a would be tackler to score.

Sedgley Park continued to test the Knights defence in the first half and enjoyed lengthy spells in possession. The Knights refused to yield however and the side’s went into the break with Donny leading 28-0.

Griff made full use of his whole squad and players switched on and off throughout the eighty minutes. Whilst it meant a slightly interrupted flow to the game a number of players made very positive impacts from the bench.

It did not take the Knights long to add to their score after the interval. Richard List made a telling carry to get close to the Park line and quickly recycled ball created space for flanker Matt Heaton to surge over.

The Knights set piece looked solid for most of the afternoon and Falcons lock forward Glen Young demonstrated what a threat he can be at the line out. A successful catch and drive from within the Sedgley 22m provided the next score with Joe Sproston, playing at number eight, given the credit. Flockhart successfully struck the conversion to make it a perfect seven out of seven for the winger before making way for Tyson Lewis.

The latter stages of the game saw the intensity level fall slightly but the Knights continued to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Ben Hunter and Bevon Armitage both registered around a score for loanee flanker Jack Barnard.

The visitors were rewarded for their undying determination when Jamie Harrison reacted first to a loose pass in midfield. The winger collected possession at full tilt before showing impressive pace to cross under the posts. Rhodri Carlton-Jones added the extras.

The Knights have now racked up an impressive 127 points in two pre-season fixtures; conceding just seven. They will face a sterner opposition next Saturday however as we welcome Blaydon RFC to Castle Park.

Starting XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Andy Bulumakau, 12) Mat Clark, 11) Will Hurrell, 10) Dec Cusack, 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Jack Bergmanas, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) WillGriff John, 4) Glen Kenworthy, 5) Glen Young (Falcons), 6) Latu Makaafi 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Ollie Stedman

Replacements; 16) Richard List, 17) Ted Stagg,18) Jake Armstrong,19) Harry Betts (L’boro), 20) Bevon Armitage, 21) Tyson Lewis, 22) Sam Edgerley, Blank) Joe Sproston, Blank) Brad Field, Blank) Josh Sharp (L’boro), Blank) Matt Heaton (Otley), Blank) Jack Barnard (Carnegie). All Used.

 

Tries; John 1’, Jarvis 10’, Kenworthy 15’, Makaafi 22’, Heaton 43’, Sproston 49’, Hunter 55’, Barnard 62’, Armitage 74’

Conv; Flockhart 1’, 10’, 15’, 22’, 43’, 49’ Cusack 62’,

Pens;

 

Sedgley Park

 

Tries; Jamie Harrison 64’

Conv; Rhodri Carlton-Jones 64’

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Squad selected for Sedgley test.

The Knights side for tomorrow’s pre-season friendly with Sedgley Park has been announced.

In a game where the full squad will, in all likelihood, be utilised the Knights coaching staff have named a starting line up with six changes to the XV that began the game at Hull last Saturday.

In the backs Andy Bulumakau starts in midfield with Mat Clark shifting inside. Will Hurrell will make his first start since signing for the Club, having made a try-scoring debut from the bench. It is all change at halfback with Michael Heaney and Dec Cusack getting the nod and nine and ten respectively.

Upfront Jack Bergmanas will start at loose head, having come on at hooker last weekend WillGriff John continues at tight head with Ben Hunter making his first appearance of pre-season in the middle. The rest of the starting pack in unchanged with Falcons loanee Glen Young making his Castle Park debut.

There are a number of players set to make their Knights debuts among the replacements.

The relationship with Loughborough Students continues to pay dividends as fly half Josh Sharp accompanies classmate Harry Betts on the bench. Back row duo Matt Heaton and Jack Barnard will also get an opportunity to impress linking up with the Knights to provide cover for Latu Makaafi and Michael Hills.

Listen to Forwards Coach and second row Glen Kenworthy’s thoughts ahead of the Castle Park opener.

 

Starting XV; 15) Paul Jarvis, 14) Dougie Flockhart, 13) Andy Bulumakau, 12) Mat Clark, 11) Will Hurrell, 10) Dec Cusack, 9) Michael Heaney, 1) Jack Bergmanas, 2) Ben Hunter, 3) WillGriff John, 4) Glen Kenworthy, 5) Glen Young (Falcons), 6) Latu Makaafi 7) Michael Hills ©, 8) Ollie Stedman

Replacements; 16) Richard List, 17) Ted Stagg,18) Jake Armstrong,19) Harry Betts (L’boro), 20) Bevon Armitage, 21) Tyson Lewis, 22) Sam Edgerley, Blank) Joe Sproston, Blank) Brad Field, Blank) Josh Sharp (L’boro), Blank) Matt Heaton (Otley), Blank) Jack Barnard (Carnegie)

 

Kick off tomorrow is at 14:30 and entry is included as part of the Knights Season Ticket. Tickets will be available on the gate for non season ticket holders with adult entry starting at just £5. If you have not yet collected your Season Ticket booklet you can do so at tomorrow’s game.

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Knights get first wear of new kit.

The Knights squad suited up in the 2015/16 kit for the first time yesterday as they posed for the team photo and head shots.

The new playing strip will make it’s debut tomorrow as the Knights take on Sedgley Park at Castle Park [KO 14:30] for their second pre-season encounter as the team look to build on last Saturday’s emphatic win over Hull RUFC.

The Knights struck their best poses for the camera amidst plenty of distractions from their teammates. DKTV was on hand to capture all the fun and frolics. All the images will be available online shortly.