Slow start costs Knights.

London Welsh 14 – 10 Doncaster Knights.

The Knights arrived for what was the first fixture versus London Welsh at Old Deer Park since 2012 having not recorded a win over the Exiles since a 20-9 triumph in October 2009; a run of eleven victories.

That run was extended following a frustrating display in the Capital where the Knights left it far too late to demonstrate their capabilities and, in a tantalizing finish to the tie, allowed the Exiles to hang on for a narrow victory.

To use the old cliché, it was certainly a game of two halves, Welsh were without doubt the more threatening outfit in the opening forty and had it not been for some gutsy, dogged defending from Doncaster would have been out of site by the interval. In the end they went in to the break leading 11-0 and the Knights finally showed what they could do in the second stanza coming within an inch of snatching victory in the dying seconds.

The Knights looked lively enough from the kick off but met a solid Welsh defensive front and eventually an error was forced from which the hosts built their first attacking platform. Over eagerness in the Knights defense saw them caught offside in midfield and Joe Carlisle opened the scoring with an on target penalty kick.

Donny had a chance to level the scores shortly after following back to back penalties against the hosts but Cusack was unable to convert, 3-0.

From the quarter point to half time momentum took a pretty serious swing in Welsh’ favour as they starved the Knights of the ball and produced some fierce form at the breakdown. Another penalty went their way and Carlisle looked to double the Welsh lead but found only the upright, however, a botched attempt to run possession clear very nearly resulted in an opening try for the hosts.

The home fans did not need to wait much longer for a Welsh score, gutsy running and quick phase play opened up space down the right flank where some sloppy defence created space for winger Kristian Phillips who put in perfectly weighted chip that he collected in the goal area to touch down.

The Knights spent the later stages of the first half holding on as Welsh applied wave after wave of attacking force; stretching the Doncaster defence close to the point of breaking…but not quite. Solid resistance just about kept the hosts at bay and good work on the floor from Harry Allen forced another penalty in kickable range but Cusack’s effort again dropped wide.

With half time looming the Knights continued to absorb Welsh pressure but with the last play of the first forty conceded a penalty which Carlisle converted to take both teams into the sheds with the hosts up 11-0.

The Knights needed to demonstrate far more attacking intent than they had up to that point if there was to be any chance of salvaging something from the game but it was Welsh who came out of the blocks quicker.

A nice kick to the backfield pinned Doncaster into their twenty-two and, after securing good line out ball, were pinged for truck and trailer at the maul. The signs were pretty bleak with Welsh in prime attacking position but a monster scrum from the Knights pack forced a penalty in a shove that began a half Donny dominance up front.

Mat Clark created the first purposeful Knights attack of the game as he bust through the Welsh line, the centre wasn’t able to outstrip the covering defence as he carried into the home 22m but after getting back to his feet post collision was penalized somewhat harshly.

Donny continued to turn the screw and it paid dividends shortly after. A penalty on the floor was kicked deep too touch by Cusack and the pack drove with gusto having secured the lineout. The maul was dropped in sight of the Welsh line where Harry Allen picked up to barrel over against his former club. No luck with the conversion, 11-5.

The signs continued to be good for the Knights as another scrum penalty relieved Welsh pressure but they suffered a setback when Richard List received a yellow card for an off the ball tackle and Carlisle converted the resulting penalty.

Welsh were unable to make the most of their numerical advantage and as the hour mark passed the Knights utilized the bench which built on the momentum they had gathered. Unfortunately, good attacking positions were often ruined by careless hands and poor decision making letting the hosts off the hook when there really should have been points on the board.

A centerfield penalty gave Cusack opportunity to establish good field range and he produced a fine touch finder deep into the Welsh 22m where further penalties lead to the sin binning of Ben Pienaar. The Knights went back to the corner and after drawing in defenders and penalty advantage flung possession wide for Lloyd Hayes to cross untouched; the centre was unable to convert his own effort but the Knights trailed by just four going into the closing staged.

The final ten minutes of the game made for extremely entertaining viewing as the Knights threw all they had at Welsh who hung on for dear life. A penalty got Doncaster past halfway but a not-straight line out gave possession back to the hosts who elected for a line out of their own. Glen Young did well to interrupt the Welsh throw and in the next phase Donny forced a knock on from which Sean Scanlon almost latched on to a Lloyd Hayes break but the final pass was judged just forward.

With 79 minutes on the clock Welsh just had to win the scrum and keep possession for another minute to seal victory but an almighty effort from the Knights pack crumbled their Welsh opponents backwards for a penalty.

With just enough time left, possession was kicked to the corner and another driving line out forced penalty advantage and then again as the hosts were caught off side in midfield. This left the Knights with a penalty five metres out in front of the posts on the final play of the game, the decision was made to tap and drive a maul. The pack initially got a rumble going forward, what followed was pretty chaotic and I’m sure, depending on who you ask, there are various interpretations of what happened but the end result was a scrum to Welsh and with that the game ended.

A bitter pill for the Knights who paid the price for a sluggish start. This weekend we welcome London Scottish to Castle Park hoping to maintain our unbeaten home start.

 

London Welsh XV; 15. Martyn Thomas, 14. Kristian Phillips, 13. Heath Stevens, 12. Seb Jewell, 11. Miles Mantella, 10. Joe Carlisle, 9. Ryan Glynn, 1. Darryl Marfo (James Hallam 58’), 2. Adam Kwasnicki (Koree Britton 60’), 3. Ben Cooper, 4. Alex Woolford (Jesse Liston 28’), 5. Barney Maddison, 6. Ben Pienaar, 7. Ryan Hodson (C), 8. Aaron Carpenter.

Replacements: 16. Koree Britton, 17. James Hallam, 18. Lovejoy Chawatama, 19. Jesse Liston, 20. Rob Lewis, 21. Glyn Hughes, 22. James Lewis.  

Tries; Phillips 25’

Conv;

Pens; Joe Carlisle 8’, 40’, 55’

Knights XV; 15. Paul Jarvis, 14. Andy Bulumakau (Sean Scanlon 60’), 13. Lloyd Hayes, 12. Mat Clark, 11. Tyson Lewis, 10. Dec Cusack, 9. Michael Heaney (Ben white 82’), 1. Richard List © (Ben Hunter 65’), 2. Harry Allen (Ben Hunter 65’), 3. WillGriff John (Colin Quigley 70’), 4. Matt Challinor, 5. Dave Nolan (Latu Makaafi 49’), 6. Glen Young, 7. Will Owen (Jarad Williams 62’), 8. Alex Shaw

Replacements; 16. Robin Hislop, 17. Ben Hunter, 18. Colin Quigley, 19. Latu Makaafi, 20. Jarad Williams, 21. Sean Scanlon, 22. Ben White

Tries; Allen 50’, Hayes 70’

Conv;

Pens;        

Attendance; 1,025.

Referee; Andrew Jackson

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DKTV: Academy vs Sheffield Hallam.

The Academy continued their solid start to life in the BUCS rugby leagues with a 61-3 win over Sheffield Hallam at Castle Park last Wednesday

The Academy, in association with Doncaster College and University Centre, began their debut season in the British Universities and Colleges Sport leagues earlier this month and have played three fixtures so far.

Following an opening day defeat to Durham they have recorded back to back wins over York and Sheffield Hallam as the look to ascend the league structure….much like the Knights did all those years ago.

You can track the Academies progress and league standings via the BUCS website.

 

Side announced for Welsh clash.

The Knights return to Championship action following a two-week Cup break which included a weekend off altogether for the squad following the postponement of the Round Two clash with Munster ’A’ last Saturday.

The coaching staff have named a very pacey looking back division with Andy Bulumakau and Tyson Lewis starting out wide. There is a bit of a reshuffle in midfield with Mat Clark moving to inside centre alongside Lloyd Hayes. Dec Cusack and Michael Heaney form a familiar duo in the half backs with Paul Jarvis at fifteen.

Upfront Richard List Captains the side with Harry Allen at hooker and WillGriff John at tighthead. Matt Challinor makes his return from a pectoral injury to partner David Nolan in the second row. Dual-registered duo Glen Young and Will Owen start on the flanks back from Newcastle Falcons and Leicester Tigers respectively and Alex Shaw will wear number eight.

The bench has a five, two, forward, back split with a full set of front row replacements provided by Robin Hislop, Ben Hunter and Colin Quigley. Latu Makaafi and Jarad Williams offer more forward fire power upfront and replacements out wide come from Sean Scanlon and Ben White.

Kick off tomorrow is at 14:00 and will be covered live via @Doncasterknight on twitter.

Knights XV; 15. Paul Jarvis, 14. Andy Bulumakau, 13. Lloyd Hayes, 12. Mat Clark, 11. Tyson Lewis, 10. Dec Cusack, 9. Michael Heaney, 1. Richard List ©, 2. Harry Allen, 3. WillGriff John, 4. Matt Challinor, 5. Dave Nolan, 6. Glen Young, 7. Will Owen, 8. Alex Shaw

Replacements; 16. Robin Hislop, 17. Ben Hunter, 18. Colin Quigley, 19. Latu Makaafi, 20. Jarad Williams, 21. Sean Scanlon, 22. Ben White

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County girls at Castle Park this Sunday.

Girls rugby takes centre stage at Castle Park this Sunday (October 30th) as we host a feast of County rugby with a Roses Battle to start the day.

Under 15 & Under 18 sides from Yorkshire and Lancashire will kick off at 11:30am with the Under 18s Captained by former Doncaster RFC Mini Junior player Carmen Tremilling.

The game will be followed by Cheshire vs Northumberland (12:45) and Cumbria vs Durham (14:00) to complete what should be an exciting display of girls rugby as the young ladies look to impress for a chance to make the North of England age group teams.

There is no cost to spectate and all positive support is very much welcomed.

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Who are the Knights of the Roundy Tables?

The Knights of the Roundy Tables will hold their first gathering of the new season on November 5th ahead of the visit of London Scottish to Castle Park.

Many of you will have witnessed the Roundies clad in medieval regalia at Castle Park or at various away venues in the league and  presumed they were no more than enthusiastic, slightly eccentric fans. Whilst that is largely true, if you were to ask any of the Knights themselves they would tell you that there is far more to it than just wearing funny costumes at rugby matches….as Mike Sokolow (AKA Sir Spicious of Orl) explains in vivid detail.

The Knights of the Roundy Tables– the truth behind the myths*

Much has been said about the legend of the Roundy Tables and of the Knights who carry their at name. Some of it may even be repeatable. There are those who would have you believe these shadowy figures in medieval garb are simply ghosts of a long lost rugby tradition or that they are the figments of a booze-fuelled imagination. Others believe the Knights are lost souls who are cursed to tread the bars of rugby clubs around the division striking fear into opposing supporters and embarrassment into their partners. It has even been whispered that they are simply a bunch of blokes who like dressing up. Those who have met the Knights and attended their gatherings may know the truth but it is a truth that has never been spoken – until now.

The legend is shrouded in the mists of time. There remain some who remember the olden days – withered former players who once believed in the creed of social rugby. It was a time of great camaraderie where mirth and merriment off the field were considered as important as the amateur ethos of the game played on it. And then, in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighty-six (although some say it was eighty-seven) the great and powerful Lords of Ahrefyu, in the fabled Ivory Towers of Twickenham, decreed that winning should be important and that the pursuit of money and profit that follows success should be held as the New Way. And Doncaster was engulfed in the vortex. And though it sought freedom it found that winning was the only way. And they became good at winning. And they battled ever nearer to the top of the maelstrom that was the League Structure. And as they did so, little by little, the mirth and the merriment, the fun and the frolics disappeared from the club.

In a dark corner, at the back of the stand, a lone voice cried out, “Enough. This cannot be the way. Who will join me in defending our right to be merry? Who will join me in upholding the Old Way? Who will stand with me?” And that voice was heard and the plea was not in vain. And in that moment a seed was planted.

For a while it seemed that all would be well. The people remembered the days of jollity in rugby and came to join the gang from the back of the stand to celebrate and share those memories. There was food and beer and singing and beer and some silliness and beer. And sometimes there was more beer. But the Lords of Ahrefyu would not tolerate frivolity. They decreed that success on the field of play and good times off it were not compatible and the people of Doncaster feared for their team’s continued success and whilst the dark cloud of trepidation descended upon them, the fun was once again banished from the realms of their club. And in their moment of despair they cried out, “Who shall defend the Old Way now? Who shall be our champions?” And behold, a small group of noble Knights, guardians of tradition through generations of change, stepped forward to answer the call, to offer a better way of supporting their heroes.

The Knights of the Roundy Tables, for it was indeed they, vowed to be a visible presence when most needed. They showed how the fun of the rugby club might be recaptured with more than simply excellent or entertaining rugby. They brought back the thrill of joining in. They reminded the fans of Doncaster that stories were for telling, songs were for singing, challenges were for facing and that where appropriate, a hint of the bawdy was still good fun. And more than anything, they took the most solemn of oaths that they would crusade in support of the on-field Knights with any and all who would join them. And so it came to pass. Maybe one day, tales of those crusades will be told. Until that day, only those bold enough to present themselves at the Roundy Tables will know the truth of what goes on.

Tickets for the Knights of the Roundy Tables Lunch are now on sale for just £14 which includes a two-course meal and match day programme. For more information, or to book your place, call reception on 01302 831388 or email emajor@castle-park.co.uk

[*The Myths behind the Myths may be a more appropriate title.]

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Kick off change: March 26th.

The Knights Greene King IPA Championship Round 20 clash with Cornish Pirates on March 26th at The Mennaye will now kick off at 15:00.

The fixture was originally scheduled to be played at 14:00 but has been revised following a request from the home team; we apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

 

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Griff report: Post Rotherham.

The Knights began their 2016/17 British and Irish Cup campaign with an underwhelming 34-17 defeat away at South Yorkshire neighbours Rotherham Titans.

Reflecting on the performance, DoR Clive Griffiths states that there will be no passing of blame and that the team need to cut out basic individual mistakes to ensure a return to form is found against London Welsh next Saturday.

“Saturday’s performance was very disappointing; I’m not taking anything away from Rotherham but they didn’t have to do very much to get the win and that was largely due to our numerous unforced errors and the 15 penalties conceded to their 10.

“There is no excuse from within the camp, we were off our game at Clifton Lane, and lots of our errors were repeat errors which is of course is concerning.

“The only place to work on and fix them is the training field so that’s what we will be doing continuously until we get it right. 

“We are making every effort to rekindle some of the episodes of rugby we saw last season and have certainly seen it in glimpses this season already. 

“Since the London Irish game we have scored 23 tries in seven matches it’s certaonly not all doom and gloom? Also let’s not forget that we are still third in the Championship at this moment in time!  

“When we do get it right we look a very good side, with and without the ball but our goal has to be far more consistent in the weeks ahead as the challenges will come thick and fast in the Championship. 

Clive went on to give an update on the various squad injuries where there is mixed news coming from the physio room. “We are disappointed to announce that Ed Falkingham picked up a shoulder injury whilst featuring on loan for Hull Ionians and has now had an operation which will see him side-lined for between three and four months.

“Ed had been training and progressing really well and was set to feature in the British and Irish Cup but will now see his development delayed as he recovers and rehabs.

“Additionally, Michael Hills picked up a freak injury in the gym which will mean we have to delay his return, we will know more on how long he is out for very shortly.

“It is better news for Sean Scanlon and Matt Challinor as they have recovered well from respective knee and pectoral injuries and should be available for selection against London Welsh at the end of the month.”

A reminder that this Saturday’s [22/10/16] game with Munster ‘A’ has now been postponed, a rescheduled date for the fixture will be published once confirmed.

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Griff pays tribute to lost legend.

Earlier this week Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths and the Knights media team spoke to put together Clive’s welcome message for Saturday’s match day programme.

Following the announcement yesterday that the Knights British & Irish Cup tie with Munster ‘A’ has been postponed those programme notes will no longer be used their full form, however, it seems fitting to publish the Gaffer’s tributes to the late great Anthony Foley. 

“The visit of Munster ‘A’ is extremely poignant considering the tragic news that came out of Paris last weekend; the passing of a man that can only be described as a truly iconic figure in Irish Rugby – Anthony Foley.

“During such tragic circumstances, when someone of such stature leaves us all to prematurely, the week-to-week rugby routine almost pales into insignificance and all our immediate thoughts go to Anthony’s family and close friends as well as everyone connected with Munster and Irish Rugby.

“It is a massive shock to lose someone so young, so talented and with so much to look forward to; it really puts an awful lot into perspective.

“The Munster rugby community will regroup and eventually recover from this massive body blow and life will go on but it is an absolutely stunning and horrendous piece of news to have received last week.” 

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Postponement of B&I Match v Munster ‘A’

Doncaster Knights are scheduled to play the Munster A squad scheduled for a British and Irish Cup fixture on Saturday.  Following the sudden and tragic passing of Anthony Foley in Paris last Sunday, Munster Rugby has requested to postpone the fixture which Doncaster RFC was immediately willing to accept. 

Munster Rugby thank Doncaster Knights and the British and Irish Cup Organising Committee for their understanding and help at this time.  In explaining the decision further Munster A Head Coach Peter Malone said, “With the Munster A squad featuring a number of senior players, planning for an away fixture would not be suitable at this point in time. 

“We thank Doncaster Knights and the B&I Cup for facilitating our request in light of the exceptional circumstances.”

DRFC will publish details of the rescheduled fixture as soon as they are notified by the B&I Cup Organising Committee

 

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Sam hoping for Cup bounce back.

***Interview conducted prior to Doncaster Knights vs Munster ‘A’ being postponed this fixture will not longer take place on 22/10/16.***

Scrum half Sam Edgerley made his first start of the new season at the weekend having produced several impressive displays from the bench in 2016/17.

Unfortunately, Saturday’s performance left plenty to be desired as a much-changed Knights side went down 34-17 to South Yorkshire rivals Rotherham Titans. However, despite the defeat, Edgerley is confident that the team will get their Cup campaign back on track this weekend versus Munster ‘A’ before resuming Championship action away at London Welsh.

“It just didn’t click for us on the weekend, we got out-muscled really which is a shame because we had the fire power to go there and get a win but we just didn’t deliver. We’ll have a good training week and look to build into the Munster game this weekend.

“We need to be full of energy and be much better on Saturday, at the end of the day we’re at Castle Park, it’s our home ground and we don’t lose here.

“It’s a massive game for us, British and Irish Cup, Championship, it doesn’t matter. It’s extremely important to get back on track and deliver a performance that we know we’re capable of.

The twenty-four-year-old played at both scrum half and full back on Saturday and has also featured on the wing for the Knights. Whilst Sam has proved his worth to the team in a variety of positions he has his eyes set firmly on the scrum half role but appreciates that the competition is fierce. “Heaney has had a very good start to the season but I’m trying to push him every day, we’re really good mates as well which is really good, we train together, we work hard together in the week and I’m learning a lot from him.”

“Hopefully I’ll have a good game this weekend and push him for the shirt for the London Welsh game. I’ll definitely have to be better than I was against Rotherham to achieve that.”

This weekend’s British and Irish Cup opponents, Munster ‘A’, arrive in South Yorkshire following the shocking loss of head coach Anthony Foley. The former Munster and Ireland back row had previously lead the ‘A’ side before getting the top job at Thomond Park and his passing last weekend sent shock waves throughout the world rugby community.

Sam believes that the devastating events will bond the travelling Munster side and that they will bring an almighty determination into the fixture. “Anthony Foley’s passing was a tragic event and our thoughts go out to his family as well as everyone at Munster Rugby; it’s absolutely devastating for them and we wish them all well.”

“I’m sure they’ll come here playing for him and be absolutely firing so we’re going to have to be on the money to rival that and see off the big bundle of energy that I’m sure they’ll bring into the game.

“Munster are a top-quality side so we’ll have to be on the ball and, like I said before, we have to be a lot better than we were this weekend.”

Tickets on sale now for this weekend’s British & Irish cup tie right here.

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