Weather watch | Cornish Pirates vs Doncaster Knights.

Snowfall and freezing temperatures have thrown this Sunday’s clash with Cornish Pirates in doubt as the Beast from the East showed its teeth.

With the overnight temperature in Penzance set to plummet to minus four degrees and the snow continuing to fall, this weekend’s clash is not guaranteed to go ahead as scheduled.

Improved conditions are forecast for the weekend and a pitch inspection is set to take place at 11am on Friday with a further inspection potentially timetabled for Saturday morning (before the squad and playing staff depart Castle Park at 9am).

In addition to the pitch conditions, the safety for travel will also be considered when the final decision is made which will be communicated on drfc.co.uk as soon as it is known.

 

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Doncaster Knights & Ian Williams.

Doncaster Knights players and coaching staff returned to Castle Park today following the tragic passing of teammate and friend Ian Willams.

Since the devastating news was made public last Tuesday the Club has been inundated with messages of support and condolence. 

The love shown from the rugby family at all levels of our beloved sport has been truly overwhelming with literally thousands of you contacting the Club via letter, email and social media.

The kindness and compassion has helped Ian’s family through this heart-breaking time and is tribute to the closeness of the vast rugby network.

At the weekend a minute’s silence in Ian’s memory preceded countless fixtures across the country from the Premiership to grassroots level; a gesture that is truly appreciated by all at Doncaster RFC. 

Plans for a tribute to Ian’s life ahead of our next home game, which is perhaps fittingly against Richmond [March 17th], a Club with a long-standing relationship with the Williams Family are afoot and further details will be posted once confirmed. 

With the approval of the RFU and British & Irish Cup Organising Committee, the Knights No3, jersey has been retired for the remainder of the League and Cup season. 

We thank you all for your support during this difficult time.

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Ian Williams.

It is with great sadness that Doncaster RFC announces the passing of prop forward Ian Williams.

Ian collapsed at training at Castle Park this morning and, despite the best efforts of the emergency response team, could not be resuscitated.

Ian joined the Club in summer 2017 from Rotherham Titans and quickly became a well-liked member of the Knights squad making six appearances for the Club.

We extend our deepest sympathies to Ian’s mother Pippa, father Phillip & and sister Helen and are working with a counselling team in the best interest of Ian’s teammates.

Details of Ian’s funeral will be posted once known. 

The club will be making no further comment at this time.

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Heaney to make Premiership switch.

Scrum half Michael Heaney will leave Castle Park at the end of the season to join Premiership outfit Worcester Warriors.

The 27-year-old has enjoyed two spells with the Knights, firstly in 2010 before rejoining the Club in 2015 from his native Ulster.

Heaney has made 74 appearances for the Knights and was selected to the Championship Dream XV following the 2015/16 play-off final reaching season.

Heaney remains a Knights player for the rest of the current campaign and whilst Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths is sad to see him go, he says that he is happy that the scrum half has another opportunity in the top tier.  “As sad as it is to see Michael go, we are really pleased for him to have secured a Premiership contract.

“Doncaster continues to be a fantastic breeding ground for players to achieve their goals of playing in the top flight and it is another feather in our cap.

“Michael follows the likes of WillGriff John and Will Hurrell in recent seasons and knows he is always welcome back at Castle Park and it was fantastic to see WillGriff supporting the boys on Saturday.

“His form has been excellent for us in his time he’s been here and he’s really embraced the Donny ethos, even leading the field as Captain and we wish him all the best at Sixways next season.”

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Knights edge 14 try thriller!

Knights 48-38 Hartpury.

Doncaster Knights made it four wins on the trot with a bonus point victory over Hartpury RFC in what was a thrilling encounter at Castle Park.

The Knights pulled clear of a lively Hartpury side to move to third in the Championship table with Yorkshire Carnegie facing Richmond tomorrow.

Some drizzly morning rain threatened to hamper conditions but as the South Yorkshire sun began to shine both teams took advantage to produce a fourteen try belter with the Knights coming out on top by ten points.

Both sides attacked the game with gusto and the tone was set with less that two minutes played as Hartpury scored before many fans had taken their seats.

Matt Challinor was judged to have stepped out of play as he collected the kick off and from there the visiting pack rumbled well. As they breached the Knights 22m full back Mike Wilcox hit a smart line to dissect Donny defence and score under the posts. Jacob Perry added the extras, 0-7. 

The Knights response came before Hartpury could draw breath, winning a penalty just a couple of phases after the restart. Charlie Foley struck the kick deep into the 22m and Josh Tyrell took possession at the top of the line out. The back-rower handed on to Joe Sproston as the prop looped around the blindside and passed to Ben Hunter who did well to finish under duress.

Foley was unable to add the extras but the Knights took the lead moments later.

More good line out play created a platform for the backs to cut loose. Foley took possession in good field position to hit Tyson Lewis on an inside line and the winger showed some smart footwork before before handing onto Tyrell who crossed for his first Knights try, goaled by Foley.

In keeping with the topsy-turvy start to the game, having just scored two fine tries, the Knights completely switched off to concede a rather sloppy seven-pointer.

Paul Jarvis carried from a kick return but after a nice initial break spilt possession on the floor. Scrum half Harry Cochrane picked up and raced away untouched with the Knights defence unable to lay a glove. Perry kicked the extras wide meaning with just over quarter of an hour gone the score was 12-12. 

Hartpury then re-took the lead with an inventive bit of vision from stand off Perry.

After a penalty moved the visitors into the Knights 22m, the outside half took possession post line out and dinked a lovely chip over the Donny line where centre Luke Eves rose the highest to collect and score.

The Knights rallied before the break and scored two tries in the final five minutes of the half to secure a try bonus point and lead at the change of ends.  

The first came from another powerful set piece platform following which Foley lead the charge, carrying into contact and getting an offload away which release Andy Bulumakau to score.

The Donny backs take all the credit for the second score as the speedsters let rip from their own territory to break down field through Jarvis, Bulumakau and Wilson with the latter being pulled down within touching distance of the try line. Play was quickly moved in field where Michael Hills collected to exploit a broken defensive line and score. Foley added the extras making the half time score 24-17. 

Many might have expected the scoring to be stemmed in the second half following some choice words from both set of coaches but two further tries in the first ten minutes after the restart quickly put paid to that notion.

A well formed driving line out saw Hunter rumble over for his second try of the afternoon on 45 minutes with Foley converting but with the scoreboard barely updated Hartpury crossed themselves. The restart was taken smartly by a red shirt on the right flank and possession move to winger Steven Leonard who raced away to make the score 31-24.

At this point the game was in the balance but the Knights, despite Tom Hicks receiving a yellow card, didn’t ever really look like losing and in the final quarter adopting a “we’ll just score more than you” approach confirmed the win.

From a close range scrum Jason Hill gathered and carried powerfully towards the Hartpury line. The flanker couldn’t quite make it over but play was smartly moved wide to skipper Hills who collected and released a well-timed pass for Tyson Lewis to take and at full tilt would not be stopped.  

Hartpury hit back after a sustained period of pressure and a series of deep driving lineouts, eventually the forwards got a rumble on with Darren Dawidiuk dropping over the line and Perry slotting the extras, 36-31.

The result was secured with just under ten minutes to play as the Knights produced a double whammy of fire tries through Adam Batt and Tom James, the latter one to look out for on the highlights. Declan Cusack was forced from the field with an injury meaning James took up kicking duties to convert his own score and make it 46-31 with five minutes remaining.

Credit must go to the visitors who battled until the last and got some consolation in the dying seconds as centre Tom Seabrook raced away down the left hand side after a series a quick, well-moved phase play.

Perry’s conversion made the final score 48-38 and whilst Clive and his coaching team will no doubt want to address a couple of defensive errors, the Knights are beginning to build some real momentum and can travel to Penzance in a fortnight full of confidence.

Doncaster Knights; 15. Paul Jarvis, 14. Curtis Wilson, 13. Andy Bulumakau, 12. Mat Clark, 11. Tyson Lewis, 10. Charlie Foley (Declan Cusack 62’), 9. Michael Heaney (Tom James 70’), 1. Richard List (Jack Bergmanas 67’), 2. Ben Hunter (David Nelson 55’), 3. Joe Sproston (Ian Williams 70’), 4. Matt Challinor (Adam Batt 65’), 5. Tom Hicks, 6. Jack Ram (Jason Hill 56’), 7. Michael Hills ©, 8. Josh Tyrell

Replacements; 16. Jack Bergmanas, 17. David Nelson, 18. Ian Williams, 19. Adam Batt, 20. Jason Hill, 21. Tom James, 22. Declan Cusack

Tries; Hunter 6’ 46’, Tyrell 13’, Bulumakau 32’, Hills 37’, Lewis 62’, Batt 74’, James 77,

Conv; Foley 14’, 37’, 46’, James 77’

Pens; 

Hartpury RFC; 15. Mike Wilcox, 14. George Boulton (Steve Leonard 40’), 13. Tom Seabrook, 12. Luke Eves (Charlie Chapman 62’), 11. George Perkins, 10. Jacob Perry, 9. Harry Cochrane (Sam Bedlow 62’), 1. Dan Murphy (c) (Mike Flook 68’), 2. Will Tanner (Darren Dawidiuk 37’), 3. Rupert Harden (Mike Daniels 63’), 4. BJ Edwards (Ben Chan 46’), 5. Joe Quinn, 6. Rob Langley, 7. Will Safe, 8. Darrel Dyer

Replacements; 16. Darren Dawidiuk, 17. Mike Flook, 18. Mike Daniels, 19. Ben Chan, 20. Charlie Chapman, 21. Sam Bedlow, 22. Steve Leonard.

Tries; Wilcox 1’, Cochrane 17’, Eves 29’, Leonard 48’, Dawiduik 66’, Seabrook 80’

Conv; Perry 2’, 48, 66’, 80’

Pens;

Referee: Steve Lee

Attendance: 1,220

WINNING HALF TIME DRAW NUMBER – 53556

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Re-signing | Lock Eames agrees new deal.

The Knights second row corps is looking in good shape ahead of 2018/19 as Morgan Eames becomes the latest member of the squad to recommit at Castle Park.

The 23-year-old arrived in the summer from Championship rivals Nottingham and has made his mark on the squad with 16 appearances despite stiff competition from the likes of Club Captain Matt Challinor and establish professionals Tom Hicks and Nick Civetta. 

Morgan made his Championship debut in 2013 and boasts considerable experience in the division despite his age and was the first new signing of the summer ahead of the 2017/18 season. 

Eames is the final re-signing of the day which takes the running total of Knight players re-committed for 2018/19 and beyond to sixteen.

Check out Morgan’s DKTV reaction.

Re-signing | Hooker Nelson extends for two more.

Front row David Nelson has committed his future to the Knights as it is announced that the 23-year-old has agreed a new two-year contract extension at Castle Park.

The youngster made his time with the Knights permanent last summer having impressed whilst dual-registered from Newcastle Falcons in 2017/18. Nelson made ten appearances wearing Donny colours whilst contracted with the Premiership side featuring in both of the play-off semi-finals.

This term Nelson has kept competition on centurion Ben Hunter for starting berth and apart from a spell side-lined with a broken hand had been a regular in the Knights match-day squad. The hooker is clearly rated very highly by the coaching staff and he was one of the first deals confirmed ahead of 2018/19.

David’s signing takes the total number of players contracted for 2018/19 to 15 with one more to come in an hour’s time.

Check out Nelly’s DKTV reaction to signing .

 

TEAM NEWS | Knights looking to make it four in a row.

The Knights will look to make it four wins in a row tomorrow afternoon as they take on Hartpury RFC at Castle Park tomorrow afternoon.

The league’s new boys recorded a late win over Griff’s charges at the Gillman’s Ground in October and arrive having picked up a bonus point win over Nottingham last time out.

The Knights coaching staff make a handful of changes to the backline that started last weekend’s win over London Scottish as Charlie Foley is rewarded for his late match-winning penalty with starting berth at fly half. Michael Heaney returns to the starting XV in place of Tom James and Andy Bulumakau starts outside Mat Clark in the centres with Lesley Klim missing out.

The sole change to last weekend’s starting pack sees Joe Sproston at tight-head in place of Colin Quigley who misses out through an ankle injury suffered in the first half of the game last Saturday.

Ian Williams returns to the squad to cover at tight head with Adam Batt also reintroduced to the match day 22.

Kick off tomorrow is at 14:30 and immediately following by Dougie Flockhart’s Brave the Shave event before Doncaster Phoenix kick off against Derby RUFC at 17:00.   

Stay tuned for the next #FeelGoodFriday announcement at 1pm. 

Doncaster Knights; 15. Paul Jarvis, 14. Curtis Wilson, 13. Andy Bulumakau, 12. Mat Clark, 11. Tyson Lewis, 10. Charlie Foley, 9. Michael Heaney, 1. Richard List, 2. Ben Hunter, 3. Joe Sproston, 4. Matt Challinor, 5. Tom Hicks, 6. Jack Ram, 7. Michael Hills ©, 8. Josh Tyrell 

Replacements; 16. David Nelson, 17. Jack Bergmanas, 18. Ian Williams, 19. Adam Batt, 20. Jason Hill, 21. Tom James, 22. Declan Cusack

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Re-signing | Charlie Foley agrees new deal.

The Club are delighted to announce the re-signing of last weekend’s match winner & utility man Charlie Foley. 

The 26-year-old has proved his value to the Knights squad in a variety of different positions across the back line this season making fourteen appearances in various playing roles.

Foley has chipped in with three tries so far this term whilst plying his trade predominantly at full back but also at stand-off, centre and wing.

Charlie is another Knight to have agreed a two-year contract and will hope to build on an impressive debut campaign.

Team news will be confirmed at noon today but it is believed that the Leeds University graduate will get the nod in the number ten jersey following a string of impressive showings from the bench. 

Check out Charlie’s DKTV reaction to re-signing below.

Re-Signing | Quigs comments to another term.  

Mainstay prop Colin Quigley will be back for another season having agreed a one-year contract extension with the Club.

Quigs has become synonymous with the Knights scrum since joining the Club from Rotherham Titans at the start of the 2014/15 season. The 36-year-old was a crucial cog in both of the Knights play-off reaching campaigns, starting in all four of the 2015/16 play-off semi-finals and finals.

The tight head’s consistency is highlighted by the fact he has made 91 appearances for the Knights in under four seasons and it is not impossible that he could become a centurion before the end of 2017/18. However, having agreed a new deal, the Scotsman will undoubtedly be inducted into the 100 Club next season next season if not this.

Colin has continued to be central to the side’s forward play this term having started in all but two of the Knights Championship clashes so far and has shown a surprising ability to get over the line with four tries to his name.

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Academy crowned Champions!

Yesterday afternoon the Academy, in association with University College Doncaster, won promotion in the British Universities & College Sports (BUCS) league.

The youngsters claimed their crown in resounding fashion as they cruised to an 86-0 victory over Sheffield Hallam 3d XV on Pitch four at Castle Park giving them an unassailable lead at the top of their BUCS division. The win was the side’s eighth bonus point league victory of the season in which they are currently undefeated.

The promotion means that the Academy, who are in only their second season of league competition, will compete in BUCS league Northern 4B for 2018/19 and face a step up in opposition.

The Academy will now focus on retaining their Northern Conference Plate title as they take on undefeated Manchester Metropolitan University at Castle Park this Wednesday. Entry is free for all and any sport is very much welcome, KO 14:00.

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