The Club has been awarded RFU and Clubmark accreditation status

The club have been awarded RFU Accreditation status after demonstrating six key criteria over the last three years.

The six principles that we have shown a commitment to are as follows:

  • Recruiting new players
  • Retaining, re-engaging & developing players
  • Retaining & recruiting high quality coaches, referees & volunteers
  • Effective & efficient management & governance
  • Effective & efficient facilities
  • Integration with the local community
  • Rugby’s core values of teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline & sportsmanship

To be accredited with the award the club must show a continuous commitment to delivering quality standards in the development of Rugby across the club and to plan for the long-term sustainability of the club as well as show a continuous commitment to the criteria over a two-year period before applying for the status in the third year.

Further great news is that the club also received Clubmark accreditation, which is the only national cross sports quality accreditation scheme for Club’s with Junior sections. It is built around a set of core criteria which ensure accredited clubs operate to a set of consistent accepted standards and adopted minimum operating standards.

Executive Chairman Tony de Mulder was delighted that the club had earned the awards.

“This is great news and a deserved achievement for the club, it is an award that a lot of hard work has gone into in order to earn, we have successfully applied for the re-accreditation again and shows the future is bright for us.”

 Don’t forget that 2019/20 Season Ticket holders can still be bought by calling 01302 831388 or visiting our Castle Park reception on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. 

Knights welcome National 2 South champions in pre-season test

The Knights will face National League 1 side Rams RFC in a pre-season fixture on the 31ST August.

Based in Reading, the recently promoted side will visit Castle Park on the back of just two defeats in their National 2 South campaign last season.

Known as Redingensians Rams until the beginning of last season, the side will pose a challenge for the Knights with top try scorer and hooker Ben Henderson dotting down 21 times during the 2018/19 campaign.

While winger Jak Rossiter scored 18 tries and Alex Sears managed an impressive points tally of 177 points. 

The Rams won their league by 18 points to be crowned champions and will arrive in late August with confidence. While Doncaster have made eight signings as well as two coaching appointments as we begin to prepare for the upcoming Championship campaign. 

Rams’ Head Coach Seb Reynolds won the Rugby Paper Coach of the Year for his great achievements, as he led the side to just the first title in four years and has developed a side consisting mostly of local players, many from local Reading schools, with 10 players pulling on a first team Rams shirt, who came through the junior section and with the vast majority of the remaining players having been capped by Berkshire Under 20s or via Reading University, where the Rams Academy is based.

The match will be free to all 2019/20 Season Ticket holders, which can still be bought by calling 01302 831388 or visiting our Castle Park reception on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Steve Boden will return to the Knights as Assistant Coach

The club are delighted to announce that Steve Boden will be the Assistant Coach for the next two seasons, starting from the 1st July.

The 36-year-old played at Castle Park for seven years between 2005 and 2012, making 188 appearances for the Knights in both the National 1 and Championship, before moving to Jersey.

After retiring as a player at the Channel Islanders, Steve became Forwards Coach with the club and later moved to Yorkshire Carnegie in 2016 to become their head coach, where he helped guide the Leeds based side to a play-off final in his first season at Headingley.

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths was pleased to welcome back Steve to the Knights, albeit this time to his coaching staff.

“I am delighted that one of our centurions is back in the fold at Castle Park as in recent seasons Steve has proved to be a respected forwards coach who can also turn his hand to other aspects of the game.

He brings with him a wealth of Championship rugby experience having had successful stints at Jersey and Yorkshire Carnegie, which will prove vital working alongside new head coach Tom Smith. 

Steve will begin his new coaching position on July 1st – it will make a change having him on our side of the fence!”

Steve is signed on for next season! Are you? Do not forget 2019/20 Season tickets are now on sale! You can split the cost into three equal payments as well, so call 01302 831388 to purchase yours today! 

Tony De Mulder on ring fencing

Executive Chairman Tony De Mulder believes that the club has a solid legal case that will affect the Premiership Rugby Limited’s proposal on promotion and relegation.

The Knights remain against ring-fencing, while a compromise has been offered that would see the Premiership increased from 12 clubs to 13 and the side that finishes bottom in the top divison then face both home and away the Championship champions for the final spot.

Tony spoke below on the latest proposal in an interview with Dave Craven from the Yorkshire Post.

 

There are 13 Premiership Rugby Limited shareholders, including promoted London Irish and Newcastle Falcons who have just been relegated.

Each receives ‘P Shares’ – even when in the second tier – which significantly outweighs anything Championship clubs receive from central funds and makes the task for ambitious clubs like Doncaster, Cornish Pirates and Ealing almost impossible.

PRL would like to get plans in place for 2019-20 with the new season having a delayed start in October due to the World Cup.

“In a way their current idea is still partially ring-fencing considering the funding of the team that’s coming down,” De Mulder told The Yorkshire Post.

“The ‘P Shares’ system for founding members of the PRL in our opinion – and our lawyers’ opinion – is a cartel, or a monopoly, at least.

“The Championship clubs have had that legal advice; it’s been conveyed to PRL.

“For years now we have been asking PRL for us to actually see the P Shares agreement. They have still refused to give it to us.

“In our lawyer’s opinion, number one, the P Share is absolutely devastating for any (non-PRL) Championship club who gets into the Premiership because of the lack of funding.

“The other is anyone who comes down from the Premiership has then also got a huge advantage over the other Championship clubs.

“We get £600,000 from the RFU, part of which is for stadium development and community work, not just for paying players.

“What the Premiership clubs get is in the millions and a huge difference in the funding.

“The sort of body we’d go to is the Competition Markets Authority. We’d present our case to them who would then hopefully take it on board.

“Those guys have a lot of power. They have the power to make businesses – and it (PRL) is a business – alter what they are doing.

“Most Championship clubs spend at least £1m on their squads alone. You’d want something along those lines and it should be made fair if we are going to take this (deal) on.”

And, after private equity firm CVC Capital Partners invested more than £200m into Premier Rugby in December – for a 27 per cent share – De Mulder feels the Championship is now in a better bargaining position.

“For the first time, in this latest negotiation, the Championship has importance,” he said.

“Before we had little clout. They could tell us what they like.

“But now they have CVC coming in, putting in vast amounts of capital, things are different and the CVC have grandiose ideas of getting a good say in all matters in all leagues in Europe and leading onto the Six Nations as well.

“Okay, the Championship is a small cog in that wheel, but we feel that for the first time we have an important role – and that is to protect promotion and relegation. We are safeguarding it.

“There could be another Exeter. At Doncaster we nearly made the Premiership (in 2016) although, I think, if we’d have got there, we’d have come straight down again because of this unfair funding situation.

“Our negotiation will contain lots of elements of this kind to make the funding fairer for promoted clubs.”

Do not forget 2019/20 Season tickets are now on sale! You can split the cost into three equal payments as well, so call 01302 831388 to purchase yours today!

2 Days left to secure your seat!

Season Ticket holders have only two days left to secure their current seat for next season.

Also for the first time this year we are offering a FREE DNA Card for every adult season ticket purchased, giving you access to exclusive discounts across the high street and on many national brands, including Tesco, Pizza Hut, Your M&S, PC World a huge 25% off all LNER rail fares.

For the 2019/20 season, our U16’s Season Tickets are completely FREE when purchased alongside an adult ticket.

And don’t forget, buy your season ticket before 31st May to guarantee your current seat. 

To purchase your 2019/20 season ticket simply call 01302 831388 during office hours, email reception@castle-park.co.uk or visit the Castle Park reception on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday.

Purchasing a Season Ticket includes DRFC membership and offers significant savings compared to buying tickets on a match by match basis as well as numerous other benefits including:

  • Full voting rights at the Clubs Annual General Meeting
  • Right to enter ballot for International Ticket allocations after two full seasons or more of continuous Club Membership
  • Two “Bring a Friend for Free” vouchers for a first team game
  • Regular electronic communication from the Club
  • Guaranteed entry into all home league, cup (pool) and a minimum of 1 friendly game
  • Guarantee your seat in The De Mulder Lloyd Stand (where applicable)

Academy | The story behind the dream

A statement from Becky Fores, Programme Leader of Sport, and Exercise Science at Doncaster College regarding the Academy being promoted to the BUCS Northern 1A following an independent assessment. 

 

During the 2017/18 season it was identified by the coaching team and myself that the level of games which the academy were facing within their fixtures in the Northern 5B league was not of the standard which our players were at. We were not only undefeated, but there was clear risk presented to our opposing players. At the end of the season an informal appeal was made, however BUCS were not ready to acknowledge this and wanted to see more from us.

The 2018/19 season in the Northern 4B league has been a rollercoaster of a ride for the academy, they again were undefeated in their fixtures, again playing teams who were not at the required level for our lads. Our academy train daily, have S&C sessions each week and have coaches that are Championship players, the teams we were up against were often 4th/5th teams of other universities and playing rugby for social purposes. We had roughly nine games cancelled on us (last minute) and it was becoming a real problem for the moral of the boys, but also playing havoc on their training regime. Change needed to happen.

So six months ago, with the support of Head Coach Tyson Lewis and the Club, I began the appeals process for the promotion of our Doncaster College Academy Rugby Team (Doncaster Knights Academy) from 4B to 1A.

The process was in no means simple, it’s been six long hard months of evidence gathering in relation to talent pathway, players rugby history, facility provision, physio provision, coach sustainability to justifying the longevity of the whole rugby programme here at Doncaster College and University Centre. BUCS set out vigorous criteria for us to meet and in February we confirmed that we met each and every condition set.

Once the paperwork was in, there was one criteria still to be met (the seeding fixtures) and this was where I handed over the appeal fully to Tyson who arranged for the team to meet teams of a similar standard to that of the academy. We played the two fixtures (Hull University and the Russian Team Krasny Yar) both of which were observed by RFU members and reported back to BUCS. Although the team lost against Krasny Yar, it was confirmed that the skill presented by our players during both the Hull game and the Krasny Yar game warranted promotion beyond where we currently sat.

We are thoroughly excited by the prospect of continuing to enhance the rugby provision we offer here at Doncaster College in partnership with Doncaster Knights.

I would like to thank BUCS (in particular Nick Burley) for their support, along with Mark Saltmarsh, Jonathan Rickerby and Mike Hart from the RFU who have also been of immense support for both Doncaster College and our partner club Doncaster Knights.

Our coaching team are outstanding and without them, this unique experience could not be made into reality. But it’s our boys who deserve my greatest thanks as without them, none of this would be possible.

 I wish everyone all the success moving into the 2019/20 campaign. I can’t wait for the season to start.

 

Club Membership for the 2019/20 Season

Supporters can again enjoy the benefits of being a member of the club for the upcoming 2019/20 Championship Season.

Fans that don’t wish to purchase a Season Ticket but still watch and cheer on the Knights regularly this membership is ideal for you!

For just £50 you will get all the rewards below for the 2019/20 season.

  1. One opportunity to bring a friend to a home game for free, friend must not be a member.
  2. 5% discount on room hire at Castle Park.
  3. 5% discount on one matchday lunch.
  4. Entry into a monthly draw for a FREE Home ticket.
  5. A Members Loyalty Card that earns the holder discounts in the club shop as well as at food counters and the bar. There is no minimum amount of credit that a supporter has to place on the Members Loyalty Card. 

To become a member and sign up you simply go to our reception during the week (9am-5pm) and complete an application.

If like the rest of the members, you would like to receive weekly updates on all things Doncaster Knights, email ryoung@castle-park.co.uk to be added to the mailing list. 

Those that want to apply for International tickets via the ballot, need to have held a membership for two years. 

Academy to play three leagues higher after independent assessment

 The Academy side will play in the BUCS Northern 1A division next season after being independently assessed and as a result promoted up the University rugby union system.

Under the stewardship of Head Coach Tyson Lewis and fellow coaches Richard List, Declan Cusack and Matt Challinor the side gained promoted for the second consecutive season as they won the Northern 4B division this year by 22 points, winning all nine games.

While the side also won the Northern Conference Plate for the second time in their history with a triumph over Leeds University.

Last year in the 2017/18 campaign the Academy won the Northern 5B league by six points with an unbeaten record of eight wins. Not only that the team also claimed the Northern Conference cup for the first time in their history.

Another triumph for the academy and a testament to the coaching has been the progression into the Doncaster Knights first team before earning a full-time professional contract with Sam Jones, Sam Pocklington and Will Holling now all signed to the club. While another future star 18-year-old Seth Adams scoring on only his second appearance for the Knights during a 2018/19 pre-season friendly against Newcastle Falcons.

After being independently assessed in two one off games against Hull University and Russian Premier side Krasny Kar, the Academy will start next season in Tier 1 of the University Rugby Union system as they begin life in the Northern 1A division, which is three divisions below Super Rugby.

Head Coach Tyson Lewis was delighted his team will be playing in a much higher division next season.

“It is a huge weight off our shoulders with the decision to go up the leagues, we are excited to test the waters in that league and obviously playing Hull first team as one of the preliminary games for whether we would gain the promotion gave us an indicator, we did win that but it was probably the first time in the season that we’d had a real test and a team go at us and put us under pressure.

Looking forward to next season if we can have more games like that it is going to be a bigger challenge for the boys and they’ll learn a lot more from playing games then doing reviews.”

Tyson believes the development of the squad in the higher leagues will improve against tougher opposition as well.

“The progression will be big, it will go from knowing we can score from anywhere to thinking actually about the phases, being more strategic and it will be a step towards being able to play for the Knights’ first team.

In terms of playing the higher leagues and understanding the game further, it will allow the boys to use their rugby brain and identify various situations.

After two consecutive league and cup victories, Tyson will continue his ambition for promotion once again next season.

“Our ambitions won’t change even though we are in a higher league and by nature we are  competitive individuals but a humble group, we will go out to win every game and win the league, we had a taste of the league against Hull and are stepping into the unknown.

It has been hard work on and off the field to have this decision go in our favour, the boys learned so much from the game against Krasny Kar who were basically a Championship outfit. It is a testament to the young men in the Academy and I want to thank them and those that started with us right at the start.

We will not squander their hard work and I want to thank the club, Becky, Clive, Tony and Steve for backing us all the way.

It has been a massive effort and the hard work behind the scenes between the Knights and the College and I am grateful to everyone that has played a part to help us fulfil this dream and hopefully come September we can push on.”

Do not forget 2019/20 Season tickets are now on sale! You can split the cost into three equal payments as well, so call 01302 831388 to purchase yours today!

NEW SIGNING | Welsh winger Kyle Evans signs for the Knights

The club can today announce the latest new signing for the 2019/20 season as Kyle Evans has joined the Knights on a two-year-deal.

The winger was named the Welsh Principality Premiership Player of the Season in 2017/18 after an impressive campaign for Merthyr RFC.

The 28-year-old spent three seasons in the Welsh top division with Llanelli where he scored 27 tries in 57 games and earned a call up to regional duty with Scarlets in the LV = Cup.

Kyle also played for a campaign in the GK IPA Championship with Birmingham based Moseley before moving to Merthyr in 2016.

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths was pleased to add the fast and quick footed winger to the Doncaster squad.

“When I spoke to Kyle he gave all the right signals that he really wanted to succeed with the Knights. His hunger for success was infectious. With Paul Jarvis’ departure we needed to bring in another wingman and I am delighted to say we now have Kyle on board.”

Kyle spoke of the excitement to get going at Castle Park when the Knights begin pre-season on June 11th. 

“I am happy and indebted to Clive Griffiths for giving me the opportunity to join Doncaster Knights RFC. I am excited to be playing in the Championship and facing new challenges which I feel it will bring the best out in me.

I am very much looking forward to meeting and working alongside the team, coaching staff and all that are involved to become the very best I can be.

My focus right now is playing well and consistently for the Knights and I am excited to see what I can contribute to the team next season.” 

Kyle is signed on for next season! Are you? Do not forget 2019/20 Season tickets are now on sale! You can split the cost into three equal payments as well, so call 01302 831388 to purchase yours today!

NEW SIGNING | Reiss Cullen joins the Knights from Bristol

Doncaster have added Reiss Cullen for the 2019/20 season after the scrum-half signed a two-year-deal.

The 22-year-old joins from Bristol Bears, where he made 10 appearances, three coming in the British & Irish Cup and scored two tries during his time at Ashton Gate.

Reiss also featured for Cardiff Blues and Cornish Pirates in the 2017/18 season after signing from Scottish semi-professional side Watsonians at the start of the campaign.

The scrum-half arrived at Bristol from Watsonians and was a big part of the first team in Edinburgh during his three years there. He helped the club regain promotion to the top flight in 2015/16 and played in every match in 2016/17 as the team stayed up in the Scottish Premiership.

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths was delighted with the latest addition to the Knights for the upcoming season.

“Reiss is a great player for us and is an explosive scrum-half and has a very good experience and schooling down at Bristol with Pat Lam and his coaching staff.

He will bring an all rounded skillset and will certainly provide some healthy competition to the number nine jersey with Tom James and Sam Pocklington.”

While the youngster is excited about getting started at Castle Park.

“The Knights play a brand of rugby that suits my playing style and I think I can learn a lot from the coaches and players at the club.

It will be a good challenge for myself in a different environment and will be good for my personal development.

I have been at Bristol for the last two years and haven’t had the consistent game time, I am looking for regular playing time and to test myself in the Championship. I am hoping the club can push up the table for a top three spot as there is more than enough talent to do so.”

 Reiss is signed on for next season! Are you? Do not forget 2019/20 Season tickets are now on sale! You can split the cost into three equal payments as well, so call 01302 831388 to purchase yours today!

Vote for your Academy Try of the Season

The academy season is now over after another campaign of success with a league and cup triumph.

Under the stewardship of Head Coach Tyson Lewis and fellow coaches Richard List, Declan Cusack and Matt Challinor the side claimed another BUCS league title and followed that up with an impressive 36-15 win in the Northern Conference Plate cup final. 

You can now vote for your favourite Academy try of the season by clicking here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2PZXC68