Steve Boden – squad update

Incoming Doncaster Knights Head Coach Steve Boden gives an update on the 2020/21 squad and how the Club’s management are preparing for rugby post Covid-19.

Steve discusses his recruitment progress and confirms that, whilst looking to operate a leaner model, the Club will maintain a full time squad next term.

The former Knights hooker says that recruitment is at an advanced stage and asks for patience from fans regarding announcements due to the sensitivity surrounding employment support as a result of Covid-19.

Boden goes on to detail how he’s trying to prepare the squad for pre-season training and states that adaptability is the key focus given the current uncertainty.

Academy promoted!

Doncaster Knights Academy in association with Doncaster College have been promoted to the British University & College Sports [BUCS] Premier Division Two following confirmation from the competition committee.

It is the side’s third promotion in four seasons having entered the BUCS leagues in 2016 and comes following a level transfer last summer.

The transfer saw the Academy elevated two levels in the league pyramid, meaning they will compete in University rugby’s third tier next season.

Although the league title was wrapped up several weeks ago, promotion was only just confirmed as the organising committee determined how best to conclude following the cancellation of all rugby below the Premiership due to Covid-19.

Squad members were told of their success over video call this evening as the side held a virtual awards night.

Head Coach Tyson Lewis hosted the event with third year student Fraser Leiper named as the Player’s & Coach’s Player of the Year, Harry Williams took the AoC Player of the Year award & Jack Townend’s effort versus Birmingham scooping try of the season.

Following the conclusion of the awards Tyson broke news which was extremely well received by the lads – all of whom had got into fancy dress for the occasion.

Tyson spoke to Commercial Manager Michael Casey yesterday about his side’s latest achievement.

Match day Rewind | Knights vs Titans 2011.

Today’s match day rewind comes from 2011 & is a classic derby tussle against them lot darn t’road.

The Titans have been sorely missed since dropping out of the league in 2018 and, following the relegation of Leeds Carnegie this season, there may not be a competitive Yorkshire derby for the Knights for some time.

With this is mind we thought it a good time to rewatch this thoroughly entertaining South Yorkshire clash from the past.

Team news sees many familiar names in the match day twenty-two with three of the current Knights squad in the starting XV in Steve McColl, Dougie Flockhart & Matt Challinor.

In bound Head Coach Steve Boden takes his place on the bench with Director of Rugby Development Glen Kenworthy also named as a starter.

Knights XV; 15. Steve McColl, 14. Dougie Flockhart, 13. Ollie Goss, 12. Andy Wright, 11. Matt Williams, 10.Tristan Roberts, 9 Nathan Jones, 1. Dan Frazier,  2 Steve Laurie, 3 Mike Cusack, 4.Matt Challinor, 5 Glen Kenworthy, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 Neil Cochrane, 8.Ed Jackson

Replacements; 16 Lewis Thiede, 17.Dom Parsons, 18 Craig Hampton,19 Chris Briers, 20 Steve Boden, 21 James Craig, 22 Jacob Rowan

Titans XV; 15 Cliff Hodgson, 14 Jonny Hampsey, 13 John Hepworth, 12 Bryon Godfrey,11 Peter Swatkins, 10 Juan Pablo Socio, 9 Matt Rhodes, 1 Ben Harris, 2 Davy McGregor, 3 Mark George, 4 Agustin Smidt, 5 Louis McGovern, 6 Dan Baines, 7 Sean Dougall, 8 Ryan Burrows

Replacements; 16 John Aikman,17. Jamie Kilbane, 18 Alex Loney, 19 Joe Bedford, 20 Brad Hunt, 21 Simon Worrell, 22 Jon McMahon

Referee: Michael Tutty

Tom James to join Northampton Saints for 2020/21.

Doncaster Knights scrum-half Tom James has agreed to join Premiership outfit Northampton Saints for 2020/2021.

Tom arrived at Castle Park from Bedford Blues in summer 2017 and has enjoyed three successful seasons at the club and making 72 appearances in total.

The 27-year-old was voted the 2018/19 Fans’ Player of the Season as well as the 2017/18 Coaches Player of the Season and becomes the latest Knight to make the jump up the English rugby’s top flight.

Speaking on the announcement incoming Head Coach Steve Boden wished Tom all the best on his move to Franklin’s Gardens. “I’m really happy for TJ, he’s got the reward that he’s been working extremely hard towards and we’re happy to have played a part in his career development.

“As a club we pride ourselves in developing young English talent – be that players or coaches. All the best to Tom in the future, he’s welcome backs to Castle Park anytime. Northampton have got a good one.

We wish Tom the very best for the future!

MATCH REPORT | Knights crowned cup champs!

DONCASTER KNIGHTS 24 WHARFEDALE 17

Doncaster Knights won their second successive Yorkshire Cup with two late tries through their dominate pack after having been well on top for most of the second half.  Throughout the game however National Division 3 side Wharfedale competed well with the Division Two Knights and put them under pressure with three well taken 1st half tries.

For the final, Doncaster Knight’s Director of Rugby Lynn Howells kept faith with the bulk of the team who had got the Club to the final which meant that approximately one third of his regular starting line-up figured.  Although the torrential pre-match rain had stopped when the match kicked off, the conditions underfoot were difficult for both sides and it was fairly obvious that the side that played the conditions best would win.  Wharfedale went ahead after only 5 minutes when they drove the bigger Knight’s pack over from a 5 metre line and their veteran lock Dave Lister scored a try which fly half Andy Baggett converted.  The Knights came back through their backs and they had chances to score but, each time, they either lost the ball or, more often, they fell foul of the referee.  Wharfedale went further ahead after 16 minutes when they broke down the right flank from inside their own half and, when they sucked in the Knight’s defence, scrum half James Doherty galloped over for an unconverted try.  Almost immediately Wharfedale scored again when their backs broke through a big hole in the Knight’s defence midfield and right winger Mark Bedworth raced over for another unconverted try.  From the kick off Knights should have scored when their flanker Andy Wilson made 30 metres up deep into the Wharfedale 22 but he died with the ball rather than passing to the supporting runners.  Wilson was injured in this encounter and he was replaced by lock Luke Gross with Bryn Griffiths moving into the back row.  The Knights now elected to play the game through their pack and the build on the scrummaging dominance they had already obtained.  As half time approached Doncaster were given a scrum 5 metres out in front of the Wharfedale posts and Wharfedale were penalised as they were driven backwards.  After two more similar penalties the referee lost patience with Wharfedale and he awarded the Knights a penalty try that was converted by fly half Cerith Rees to bring the half to a close.

Doncaster’s second half tactics were simple – keep it in the pack and, when you did release it, kick for position.  After only 5 minutes, Howells elected for more pace in the back row and he moved centre Tom Luke to flanker in place of Ollie Cook with Wes Davies coming on in the centre.  The replacement had an immediate effect when the Knights gained a line out 5 metres out following a penalty and  their pack drove over for an unconverted try by Luke.  Simple rugby and patience was the order of the day and the Knights camped on the Wharfedale line and could have scored from a number of pushover attempts but the Dalesmen’s defence held out.  It took Wharfedale almost 25 minutes to get into the Knight’s half and they almost put the game beyond Doncaster’s reach when winger Mark Bedworth was stopped just short after catching a clever diagonal kick by Baggett.  From this effort Wharfedale were penalised and they were immediately pinned back into their half by the powerful Doncaster pack.  The Knight’s third try came after 74 minutes when, following yet another drive for the line, Griffiths drove over from close in and Rees converted with an excellent kick from wide out to put his side in front for the first time.  From the kick off the spirited Wharfedale side attacked the Knights but they were thwarted by excellent defence.  As the game went into injury time, the Knights gained  another 5 metre line from a penalty.  Doncaster’s trade mark catch and drive worked well and replacement hooker Scott Plevey was credited with the try as the pack drove over and the Knights were home by 24 points to 17.

After the match Lynn Howells praised his pack and singled out props Jon Rawson and Toma Toke who destroyed their opposite numbers.  He said that in a cup final you had to give respect to your opposition irrespective of which league they played in and he criticised his side for not doing this in the first half.  He felt that the second half was a different matter however as the Knights played to their strengths as they dominated a very brave Wharfedale side who, in spite of being pinned into their 22 for long periods, never gave up.

Doncaster Knights:  A Carter; P Bailey; S Davey; T. Luke; D Van Vuuren; C Rees; D Storey (D Scully 70); T Toke (R List 61); B Phillips (S Plevey 76); J Rawson (T Davies 53); B Griffiths; G Kenworthy; S Gray; O Cook (L Gross); A Wilson (W Davies)    Sub not used     M Woodrow

Written by John Lowe. 

Match day rewind | ’08 Yorkshire Cup Final.

Get your rugby fix tomorrow as we re-live the 2007/2008 Yorkshire Cup final versus Wharfedale.

Watch the full 80 minutes uninterrupted from Claro Road on Youtube & relive the day (April 30th 2008) the Knights went in search of a second successive County Championship title against the Dalesmen.

Lynn Howell’s was the man in charge and he selected a side packed with Castle Park favorites from noughties – check the full team news below. Thank to John Lowe for providing the footage.

Doncaster Knights XV; 15) Anthony Carter, 14) Paul Bailey, 13) Spencer Davey, 12) Tom Luke, 11) Donovan Van Vuuren, 10) Cerith Rees, 9) Dan Storey, 1) Toma Toke, 2) Ben Phillips, 3) Jon Rawson, 4) Bryn Griffiths, 5) Glen Kenworthy, 6) Scott Gray, 7) Ollie Cook, 8) Andy Wilson

Replacements; 16) Scott Plevey, 17) Richard List, 18) Tom Davies, 19) Luke Gross, 20) Wes Davies, 21) Dave Scully, 22) Mark Woodrow.

Partner work | Commercial update.  

The deep impact of Covid-19 has been felt by all as towns and cities shut down and we stay home to protect the NHS and save lives.

While most of the country is locked inside our country’s key workers, whose jobs are critical for the response to the pandemic, continue to toil.

Many more businesses have adapted to the ‘new normal’ to provide products and service solutions to help during these uncertain times.

The Knights commercial network is key to the Club’s existence and today we are proud to showcase a few examples of the work continuing to be done by some of our partners during the pandemic.

 

 

Electrical wholesalers & long-term partners Edmundson Electrical have played a key part in delivering the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Harrogate.

Edmundson’s supplied electrical components to the emergency hospital, working around the clock to assist the effort to support the NHS and completed what would usually have been a one-year project within two-weeks.

Click for more on more about Edmundson Electrical

 

 

 

Polypipe Group Plc are playing a role in a variety of ways during this crisis.

The Edlington based firm have supplied ventilation equipment to two emergency hospitals as well as manufacturing visors to supplement the PPE supplies of the NHS, and have donated a lot of their own stock of PPE to front line carers.

Elsewhere, Polypipe products continue to be installed in the emergency hospitals as well as some of the essential maintenance work that is going on within existing facilities.

Learn more. https://www.polypipe.com

 

ESC Global have developed and now supply Green AquaCare antibacterial products to combat the spread of Covid-19.

The Green AquaCare range of Surface Sanitiser, Hand Sanitiser and Sanitising Wipes kill 99.5% of bacteria on contact and can assist in keeping you and your family as clean and safe as possible.

To learn more about the product visit – ESC Global or call 01302 360 500

Twenty-Four IT have assisted many businesses to implement working from home solutions – including DRFC & Doncaster Chamber.

The IT support experts remain fully operational assisting key businesses to continue through this challenging time.

On Friday Twenty Four IT’s Chief Technology Officer Tony Houlihan hosted a Digital Webinar on behalf of Doncaster Chamber.

During the seminar Tony discussed the practical and social challenges with working remotely and how to overcome these through the use of effective tools that enable greater collaboration and efficient ways of working remotely whilst maintaining access to all of your familiar applications and data.

Check out more at www.twentyfourit.co.uk 

 

Doncaster based Drainage Company Yates Jetting have found themselves particularly busy maintaining Doncater Royal Infirmary & Bassetlaw District General Hospital’s draining systems. Allowing both sites to continue their essential care uninterrupted. Read more bout Yates Jetting

 

MF Hire answered a call on Twitter from fellow commercial partners Polypipe for personal protective wear.

The Tool & Equipment Hire specialists donated boxes of PPE including facemarks and coveralls which was delivered to Primary Care Network: Doncaster South by the Knights Commercial Team. 

Hill House School have been running Holiday Clubs for the children of key workers (not just Hill House pupils) Spaces are still available on the remaining dates next week click for info.

The school has been posting guidance to parents for home learning and the rugby team (headed by former Springbok Andrew Snyman) have been keeping their skills sharp with an array of trick and challenges on twitter.

On top of this the school has donated safety goggles and disposable gloves to NHS Rotherham General Hospital.

Chapman Physiotherapy continues to provide consultations over the telephone or online. Vicky and her team have also been posting online exercise routines and info to absorb while on lockdown via social media.

Chapman’s work alongside the NHS to delivering the First2Physio service which runs Monday to Saturday, offering 15 minute appointments for a quick assessment, advice and exercises to help you self manage!

Health and Safety consultants AGM Safety managed to deliver vital safety training under Covid-19 restrictions for clients working on a social housing maintenance scheme.

Learn more – http://www.agmsafetyltd.com

 

Harbon Electrical Services are assisting numerous key industries with essential maintenance and installation works to the oil, gas, water and care sectors.

 

Hunter latest to agree new Knights deal.

Ben Hunter has agreed terms on a new one-year contract at the Club meaning he will enter his seventh season as a Knight when the 2020/2021 begins.

The 31-year-old arrived at Castle Park from Cambridge in 2013 and was an instant hit, playing a crucial role in the Knights promotion back to the Championship from National One.

Since then Ben has become synonymous with the Knights number two jersey, picking up plenty of accolades along the way.

In 2014/15 Ben was named the Knights Players’ Player of the season and then a year later was selected in the Championship Dream XV; chosen by a mix of Championship coaching staff and journalists.

The former Hartpury College student made his 150th appearance for the Club versus Ealing in November and says he excited for a new age of rugby at Castle Park under Stave Boden. “I’m pleased to have been given the opportunity to stay with Doncaster Knights for another season.

“The club is heading into a new era with a lot of changes to the squad and coaching staff.

“I have sat down with Bodes, he spoke about his vision for the club moving forward and I feel confident for the new season and grateful he wanted me to be a part of the team”

New boss Steve Boden states that Hunter possesses all the characteristics he wants from players in his new-look squad and is a man he is delighted to have retained. “Huntsis someone that performs at a consistently high level and is a good leader within the group.

“He doesn’t always say too much but when he does its a positive contribution; he cares about the club and we care about him.

“Ben’s playing style is aggressive and combative in the loose and he has a love for the set piece – a dying art these days.”

Boden made 188 appearances as a hooker for the Knights during a seven-year stint from 2005 to 2012 but despite this he ranks Ben as the very best.  “I believe Ben has been the best Hooker through the Doncaster knights professional era and we love to that form continue in 2020/21.” High praise indeed.

Ben’s signing takes the number of Knights contracted for 2020/21 to thirteen.

With more announcements coming soon be sure to keep checking drfc.co.uk & the Knights social media.

2020/2021 current squad. 

ANDREW FOSTER [CONTRACT 2ND YEAR], KYLE EVANS [CONTRACT 2ND YEAR], MATT SMITH [CONTRACT 2ND YEAR], REISS CULLEN [CONTRACT 2ND YEAR], SAM OLVER [CONTRACT 2ND YEAR]

CHARLIE FOLEY [RETAINED 1 YEAR], HOWARD PACKMAN [RETAINED 1 YEAR], WILL HOLLING [RETAINED 1 YEAR], MATT CHALLINOR [RETAINED 1 YEAR], SAM POCKLINGTON [RETAINED 1 YEAR], ROBIN HISLOP [RETAINED 2 YEARS], BEN HUNTER [RETAINED 1 YEAR].

JAMES KANE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR]

A toast to Ian ‘Fraz’ Fraser

The funeral of Ian ‘Fraz’ Fraser will take place tomorrow at 10am.

Fraz joined the club in 1967 and had been a member ever since, firstly as a player and then as a supporter.

He was one of the Club’s true characters and his rendition of the song Startrekking, accompanied by vivid actions, kept everyone amused in the bar after matches both home and away.

Fraz passed away last month after an illness bravely fought & his funeral will take place tomorrow at 10am.

Official government guidelines say only household members or close family can attend funerals currently. However, the service will be live streamed via the link below & we would like to invite all those who knew him to join us to drink a toast to Fraz when the service starts.

https://youtu.be/zm3wwMMqr2Y

Former Tiger Ford to join Coaching Staff.

Former Leicester Tigers & Sale Sharks fly half Joe Ford will join the Club as Backs Coach next season having agreed a two-year deal.

The 29-year-old enjoyed an impressive playing career which included six season in the top flight with spells at Northampton Saints, Sale Sharks & Leicester Tigers.

Ford left Welford Road in summer 2019 having scored 116 points from 23 appearances to join Yorkshire Carnegie in a dual player head-coach capacity but will now focus solely on coaching.

Incoming Director of Rugby Steve Boden believes Joe will bring a fresh energy to the coaching set up and is extremely pleased to secure his services. “I’ve known Joe for a while having coached him at Yorkshire Carnegie.

“Joe always had great ideas around how to make teams attack better and challenges his peers in a positive way.

“Joe is very current, having only recently retired from playing and will bring some fresh ideas with that.

“It might have been hard for the untrained eye to see but some of the coaching points visible in what was an obviously struggling side last year were very positive and credit to Joe’s coaching.

“I think this is a really positive move for us, it is an appointment in line with our ambition for next season – young, fresh and ambitious.”

Along with a well-known brother in the game, Joe’s father Mike Ford is the Attack Coach at Leicester Tigers and has had a lengthy coaching career including spells in charge of Bath and Toulon.

Having confirmed his playing retirement in January, Joe says he cannot wait to focus all his energies into molding a successful Knights team alongside Steve Boden. “I’m really excited to get going and very grateful to Bodesand the owners for this opportunity.

“I’m looking forward to working at Castle Park with a very strong playing group, to be able to prove myself as a coach and to put my all into the role.”

Joe will form part of a new look coaching staff that currently comprises Head Coach Steve Boden, Strength & Conditioning Coach Dougie Flockhart and Head of Performance Analysis Burhan Torgut.

The Club would like to thank Francis Cummins for his work during the 2019/20 season and wish him the best of luck with his future endeavours.

Match day rewind: Knights vs Pirates.

This Easter weekend will be unusual for most of us as we adhere to government guidelines on social distancing to combat the spread of Covid-19. 

The Knights were set for a trip to Lady Bay to take on Nottingham today at 14:30 & whilst we can’t replace it with live action instead we can re-live a classic Knights win from back in the day.

Click the link below to watch the full 80 minutes of Doncaster Knights vs Cornish Pirates at Castle Park from November 26th, 2011.

Two current Knights were in the starting line up that day, with double centurions Dougie Flockhart and Matt Challinor on the right wing and second row respectively.

Inbound Director of Rugby Steve Boden lined up at hooker with DRFC’s Rugby Development Director Glen Kenworthy partnering Chall at lock.

Team news below.

Doncaster Knights XV; 15 David McIlwaine, 14 Dougie Flockhart, 13 Ollie Goss, 12 PJ Gidlow, 11 Michael Keating, 10 Tom Luke, 9 Chris Hallam, 1 Tom Davies, 2 Steve Boden, 3 Alex Brown, 4 Matt Challinor, 5 Glen Kenworthy, 6 Latu Makaafi, 7 David Bradford, 8 Chris Planchant

Replacements; 16 Jack Yeandle, 17 Andy Brown, 18 Zach Farivarz, 19 Andy Boyde, 20 Michael Noone, 21 Fred Burden, 22 Lee Audis

Cornish Pirates XV; 15 Matt Evans, 14 Mark Ireland, 13 Andrew Suniula, 12 Drew Locke, 11 David Doherty, 10 Rob Cooke, 9 Gavin Cattle, 1 Paul Andrew, 2 Rob Elloway, 3 Rudolf Brits, 4 Laurie McGlone, 5 Ian Nimmo, 6 Blair Cowan, 7 Phil Burgess, 8 Kyle Marriott

Replacements; 16 Alan Paver, 17 Tom Cowan-Dickie, 18 Lloyd Fairbrother, 19 Charlie Blair, 20 Sam Hill, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Chris Morgan.