DKTV | Colin Quigley believes the Knights will have to be at their best tonight

The Knights travel to Nottingham tonight looking to continue their Championship Cup run.

Colin Quigley was named the Twitter Fans’ Man of the Match in the fantastic 38-10 in over Jersey Reds.

The prop is now looking forward to a tough cup encounter with Nottingham and believes the Knights will have to be at their best to progress to the semi-finals.

Match Guide for England and Ireland Women Six Nations fixture

The Red Roses return to Castle Park on Sunday in a Six Nations fixture against Ireland Women.

With both sides winning their opening two matches, this could go some way to deciding the title and is set to be a entertaining contest in Doncaster.

England Men will be in action against Ireland at 3pm. Fans can watch the match on the concourse TVs, while enjoying a drink after the Red Roses match has finished.

Parking instructions:

If you have got your ticket or are planning to drive down then you’ll need to know where to park.

Supporters can park in four separate areas:

Woodside Pitch at Castle Park, DN2 5QB

Outwood Academy, DN2 5QD

Lower Outwood Danum, St Leger Way, DN2 6HQ.

Sandall Beat Playing Fields, DN2 6JP – This can be accessed via Sandall Beat Road and driving straight down.

Coaches can park on the Sandall Beat Playing Fields.

Parking will cost £5.

Please allow time to arrive as traffic will be busy on Armthorpe Road due to possible roadworks.

TICKETS:

All tickets are sold out.

Pre-paid tickets can be collected on the day from the from the match day tickets office (next the western entrance of the De Mulder Lloyd Stand).

Gates open at 10am on Sunday (23/02/20).

Food and drink can be purchased from the concourse at either the ‘Longest Bar in Yorkshire’ or the ‘Knights Fayre’.

The Men’s Fixture will be shown on the televisions on the concourse, kick off is 3pm.

TEAM NEWS | Knights prepare for cup quarter final

Doncaster travel to Nottingham tomorrow in the Championship Cup Quarter Final looking to continue their cup run.

The Knights defeated Jersey Reds with their best performance of the season securing a 38-10 win at Castle Park last Saturday.

Although, the side have struggled on the road and last earned an away victory back in December with a convincing five point win over Yorkshire Carnegie.

Doncaster’s record at the Lady Bay is reasonable with three victories out of their last five meetings in Nottinghamshire.

Tomorrow’s opposition are in impressive form entering the cup with three straight victories coming against Hartpury, London Scottish and Yorkshire Carnegie.

Neil Fowkes’ side have also won three out of their last five games at home, only losing to Newcastle Falcons and Ealing Trailfinders.

There are several changes to the Knights outfit that beat Jersey with injuries to Kyle Evans, Matt Smith (foot), Rory Pitman (hamstring) and Robin Hislop (back) as well Guido Volpi being unable to play as he didn’t feature in the pool stage.

Tom James, Wian Conradie Curtis Wilson are back to fitness and make their way into the starting side. Sale Sharks’ second row Rouban Birch has re-joined the club on a dual registered deal and his named amongst the replacements.

 

Knights XV: 15. Cameron Cowell 14. Curtis Wilson 13. Jack Roberts 12. Lloyd Hayes 11. Tyson Lewis 10. Charlie Foley 9. Tom James 1. Marc Thomas 2. Will Holling 3. Andrew Foster 4. Matt Challinor (c) 5. Morgan Eames 6. Fotu Lokotui 7. Wian Conradie 8. Tom Calladine

Replacements: 16. George Edgson 17. Colin Quigley 18. Dan Suter 19. Rouban Birch 20. Michael Hills 21. Reiss Cullen 22. Sam Olver 23. Steve McColl

DKTV | Tyson Lewis reviews Jersey Reds victory

The Knights secured a fantastic 38-10 win over Jersey Reds last weekend with their best performance of the season.

Six tries, a hat-trick from Kyle Evans, set Doncaster up to dominate the game and were deserving of the five points to push up the Championship table.

Three first half scores from Evans, Colin Quigley and Tyson Lewis earned the home side and advantage heading into the second half. One they grasped with both hands, as Evans added to his tally for the afternoon with two more tries either side of Joe Sproston dotting down from close range.

Lewis scored his seventh try of the season just before half time to sway the balance of the game firmly in the favour of the home side.

The winger gave his thoughts earlier in the week after the excellent all round Doncaster display.

Parking for England Women fixture at Castle Park

The Red Roses return to Castle Park on Sunday 23rd February in a Six Nations fixture against Ireland Women.

All tickets are sold out for the third England Women’s fixture in Doncaster in the last two years.

England Men will be in action against Ireland at 3pm with fans able to watch the match on the concourse TVs, while enjoying a drink after the Red Roses match has finished.

Parking instructions:

If you have got your ticket or are planning to drive down then you’ll need to know where to park.

Supporters can park in four separate areas:

Woodside Pitch at Castle Park, DN2 5QB.

Outwood Academy, DN2 5QD.

Lower Outwood Danum, St Leger Way, DN2 6HQ.

Sandall Beat Playing Fields, DN2 6JP – This can be access via Sandall Beat Road and driving straight down.

Parking will cost £5.

Coaches can park on the Sandall Beat Playing Fields.

Academy Focus | ‘Some of tries were outstanding’ Kendo praises league win

The Academy continued their league winning form with a 45-20 win over Durham 4s last Wednesday at Castle Park.

A blistering first half from the home side earned a 38-3 score line after the first 40 minutes.

“The first 40 was the best performance we have put together this season. Some of the tries were outstanding, the hunger of the boys to win was there from the start.

We were just happy to continue the good form in the league.”

Director of Rugby Development Glen Kenworthy praised the overall display and the character the squad showed to bounce back from the cup exit to Manchester.

“The Durham 4s are a tricky team to play, we put them to the sword for the first 20 minutes. In the second half, we gave a few boys a rest, others the opportunity to show their talents. Some of those did well. We may have lost our structure at times in the second half, but overall it is a five point win and we are delighted with that and the performance.

The cup game was good for the boys, they learnt a lot from the defeat. Manchester Met are in the league above and doing well, we more than competed with them. The score line flatters them massively. The boys walked away disappointed, but positive that we gave it our all.”

Next up for the Academy is top of the table Northumbria. Although the Doncaster College students only sit three points behind, but have two games in hand.

” Northumbria away and Newcastle at home are both massive games. They are probably the two in form teams. They’ll plan to knock us off our perch.

We’ll plan well, we have a bit of time before the games. A few boys will be back from injuries which is a big boost. We are confident that we can do the job and get two wins.”

HIGHLIGHTS | Knights 38-10 Jersey Reds

The Knights produced their best performance of the season to secure a 38-10 win over Jersey Reds on Saturday afternoon.

Six tries, a hat-trick from Kyle Evans, set Doncaster up to dominate the game and were deserving of the five points to push up the Championship table.

Three first half scores from Evans, Quigley and Lewis earned the home side and advantage heading into the second half. One they grasped with both hands, as Evans added to his tally for the afternoon with two more tries either side of Joe Sproston dotting down from close range.

Doncaster are now eighth in the Championship table, but are full of confidence as they are just four points from fifth spot.

DKTV | DOR Clive Griffiths praises ‘truly outstanding’ Doncaster display

The Knights secured a 38-10 home win over Jersey Reds on Saturday in their best performance of the season.

Doncaster produced a stunning first half display as they scored three tries through Kyle Evans, Colin Quigley and Tyson Lewis. Which was followed by another two Evans tries either side of a quickly taken penalty from Joe Sproston.

Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths was delighted with the result.

“Before the game we lost Howard Packman in the warm up, then Rory Pitman early in the game, Matt Smith has been off sick for two days, he put a great shift in today. Arise the real Doncaster Knights, it was a vintage performance from the Knights and all credit to the boys for doing that. It was a truly outstanding performance.

The consistency was good, the belief in their own ability. We needed pride of performance and belief. We have had some tough times, last week was a tough game on the road for us.

But we have bounced back with a six day turnaround. We managed the boys well this week and they’ve produced it in dividends with that performance.”

The Knights are next up against Nottingham in the Championship Cup Quarter-Final at the Lady Bay, a fixture Griff is entering with confidence.

“They are a tough team, especially on that patch of grass they’ve got down there. We are in a quarter-final, invariably we do well in the cups so if we can take this performance into next week then who knows, a semi-final beckons.”

Colin Quigley named Twitter Fans’ Man of the Match

Doncaster secured a 38-10 home win over Jersey Reds on Saturday with six tries in a fantastic afternoon at Castle Park.

Colin Quigley scored his third try of the season to help the Knights earn the victory, with the Prop having been voted the Twitter Fans’ Man of the Match for his performance.

The 38-year-old showed his experience helping to win four scrum penalties and won the Fans’ MOTM prize with 43% of the voting, ahead of second and hat-trick hero Kyle Evans (26%), third Matt Challinor (21%) and fourth Fotu Lokotui (10%).

You can watch Colin and the rest of the Knights next month against Coventry by purchasing your tickets here – https://drfc.cloudvenue.co.uk/home.

Joe Sproston leaves for Beziers

The club can announce that Joe Sproston has today joined French side Beziers with immediate effect.

Joe made 102 appearances for the Knights and played his part in the most successful era in the club’s history.

Joining ahead of the 2015/16 season, the forward featured in the play-off final away victory against Bristol at Ashton Gate, as well as scoring the following year in the play off semi-final against London Irish.

The 28-year-old spoke about his time at Castle Park.

“It’s been a real roller coaster of five seasons at Doncaster. But I’ve really enjoyed my experience of being a knight. I’ve met some really great people, and made some lifelong memories.

I’d like to thank the coaching staff who gave me a chance to have a go at professional rugby when I came from Ampthill, who were then a National Two side, and brought me through.

The fans at Doncaster are fantastic, when they travel away in such great numbers or line the concourse after home games.

Lastly thank you to the board, and coaches again for allowing me to take an opportunity which has arisen over in France for the rest of the season.

I wish you all the best and I’m sure I will be around in the future at some point.”

We wish Joe all the best for the future and thank him for his efforts in a Doncaster shirt!

Open Letter from President Steve Lloyd to the RFU

Open Letter from the Executive of the Championship Clubs Committee (CCC) to Bill Sweeney, CEO of the Rugby Football Union to be shared with the Board of the RFU

Dear Bill

The current four year agreement with the RFU for funding the Championship runs out at the end of this season. Throughout those years, the Championship Clubs Committee (CCC) have constantly strived to obtain appropriate funding for clubs in the league to achieve the RFU’s repeatedly stated goal for the Championship League to be the second tier of full-time professional rugby.

As the end of the four year period approached, efforts were stepped up by the CCC to obtain agreement to our funding with little or no tangible response from the RFU. We made it quite clear that the enthusiasm for developing our clubs was unchanged but, to provide a full-time playing contract for players with both the talent and aspiration for full-time rugby, a baseline of circa £1 million per annum was required to provide such players with an albeit basic liveable wage whilst training as a team and conditioning their bodies to produce a level of rugby that would have appeal to rugby supporters throughout the country and to prepare successful players for life in the Premiership.

Club owners, directors, committees and members – many of whom are ex-players themselves put the full weight of their efforts and available financial resources into developing their clubs and achieving the joy of success when their club gained promotion into a higher league.

Leagues were formed in the late 1980’s to bring structure to the game and guaranteed fixture lists to a club’s calendar. Over the years there have been well recorded successes and failures but, at the heart of the league system there was an all embracing word “Aspiration”. Every club then aspired – to greater things; to more challenging games; and, above all, to reap the enjoyable fruits of their collective finances, labours and passion. Not just a business but a way of life.

At the top of the pyramid and the pinnacle of aspiration sits the Premiership League, the Holy Grail of club development. Whether it was a planned achievement or merely an unachievable dream, the climb to the top was open to all.

This week, you finally agreed, Bill, to meet with the CCC to inform us of the RFU decision regarding funding. When that decision was made, we know not; how the diktat was arrived at and on what principle was employed we had little knowledge or involvement. The Chairman of the CCC was not even invited to address the Board of the RFU at its recent meeting to present the Championship view.

And then came Tuesday, 11th February 2020. A meeting had been arranged at Twickenham by the Championship Clubs, which was part of the standard regular meeting pattern. The main agenda item was to finally agree proposals as to how the Championship could become a more sustainable, more professional and more beneficial league for the rugby community as a whole. It was designed to be an aspirational meeting.

After many attempts to discover the outcome of the RFU Board deliberations on funding, it was agreed that you would attend the meeting with Connor O’Shea the newly appointed Director of Performance. The meeting commenced at 11am with the normal CCC meeting, with you joining us at 1.30pm.

At 8.20 am that morning we received a letter from you with the bombshell news that even the greatest pessimists in our midst could not have predicted – a 50% reduction in funding for the Championship for one year only.

Despite many entreaties to you to deliver the verdict over the previous weeks and requests to “put our own case” to the Board, the email was delivered, somewhat reluctantly by you, just prior to your presentation, many CCC members receiving it whilst travelling long distances to Twickenham.

The Power Point presentation you gave was an absolute gallop through “facts and figures” as you saw them – certainly not allowing the gathered Championship representatives to assimilate the material. But your main thrust was that the Championship clubs had, over the past 4 year agreement, failed to achieve a set of five deliverables required as part of the 2015 Funding Agreement.

Those deliverables, as far as we could assimilate through the high speed delivery, were stated as:

 

  • To produce a financially viable 2nd tier of the professional game
  • To develop and grow a 2nd tier of professional clubs with the ambition to become Premier Clubs
  • To develop England Qualified Players (EQP’s) for Premier Clubs and, ultimately, England teams
  • To develop future England Premiership and National coaches
  • Develop a Community Programme associated with the clubs

Let us be quite clear here, not one club attending, particularly those who were in the Championship in 2015, had any knowledge or recollection of such requirements. We signed Participation Agreements to obtain funds and, for the last 4 years all clubs have been striving hard to develop the “brand Championship”. Had we been failing in any contractual requirements, why on earth did the RFU not inform us on an annual basis as would happen in any professional circumstance?

As an aside, it would be equally interesting to test the above targets against Premiership Rugby clubs – particularly the first one requiring financial viability!

As a matter of fact, most of the above “deliverables” have indeed been achieved to various degrees by most Championship clubs. Personal and club resources have been poured into individual clubs to supplement the inadequate RFU funding – to develop facilities; to provide medical and training personnel; to enhance supporter experiences; and, to ensure that the players, who put their bodies through increasing physical pressures, earn at least a very basic living as a full-time professional rugby player.

Bill, regarding the Championship, you and the RFU are presiding over a self-fulfilling prophecy. Starve your racehorse and it will have no chance of winning the race. The funding received over the past 4 years has, at absolute best, provided only 50% of basic funds required to operate a full time squad. You have now decided that your inadequate funding has produced your own definition of inadequate return and hence you are going to halve the input.

It reminds me of a well-meaning bar owner in the mountains of Spain who told me that, as he was only receiving half his previous custom, he was going to double his prices – that would fix it!

Getting down to basics, a sum of approximately £3 million per annum is being saved by the RFU and, vicariously, PRL via your current moves. We are acutely aware of the reduced RFU financial circumstances – after all, as an industrial and provident society, you are owned by over 2,000 member clubs – and we know that, for example, an overspend of tens of millions of pounds has been experienced on the East Stand club project which cannot have helped!

To unilaterally foist the intended reduction on the Championship clubs with little or no consultation and just a few months prior to the start of season 2020/21 is a disaster, for our finances and the RFU’s reputation. Just take a few moments to look at the reaction from the rugby community as a whole on social media. Look at players’ and club staff reactions.

Please accept that our next season has already started, with player retention and recruitment being carried out since the New Year, based on the feeling that empathy and understanding would not allow for such a draconian move without the usual decent notice period of at least a year.

The CCC have asked for a moratorium for two years, to allow more considered debate. It would be a wise and popular move to consider swallowing pride, post media statements, and allow any agreed change to take place in an orderly and sensible fashion.

Bill, you are relatively new to a most difficult job. Please, please, please take a year or two to get to know the clubs out there – not just the Championship but all of your 2,000+ “owners”. See what they achieve through hard graft; feel their pride in their club; hear what they think about rugby in general; and, most importantly, help us all to retain “Aspiration” to the undoubted benefit of the game we love at all levels.

Yours

Geoff Irvine, Chairman

Steve Lloyd, Deputy Chairman

Ian Connell, Independent

 

The Championship Clubs Executive