Steve Lloyd | The Big interview.

Club President Steve Lloyd has been an extremely busy man since the Coronavirus sent the UK into lockdown & ended the Championship season in March.

In addition to overseeing measures to steer Castle Park through the pandemic, the Hesley Group founder also sits on Rugby’s Professional Game Board & is the Chairman elect of the Championship Clubs Committee.

In an extended interview for drfc.co.uk Steve discusses the process Championship Clubs need to go through for a full return to play and what that means for Doncaster Knights.

He goes on to explain the vision for professional rugby at Castle Park and the objectives discussed with new Head Coach Steve Boden who has his complete support.

Mr Lloyd confirms Club’s unwavering dedication to all playing sections at Castle Park for next season and well into the future ad describes how humbled he has been by the generous support of fans via the Crowdfunder campaign.

RFU funding, academy rugby and overall commercial viability are also covered in an interview anyone with an interest in rugby in Yorkshire won’t want to miss.

*We are aware of slight audio interruption in parts, apologies for any disruptions.

Shark Jones makes Knights switch.

Doncaster Knights are delighted to announce the signing of prop forward Joe Jones from Sale Sharks for the 2020/21 season.

Jones arrives having made 29 appearances for the Sharks since March 2018 and gives the Knights a tried and tested performer in the tight head position despite being just 24-years-old.

As a former member of the front row union, Head Coach Steve Boden is well aware of the importance of a strong set piece to a Championship side and believes Jones has the skill set to drive the Knights pack forward.  “Joe is proven to be able to compete at the top flight of the English game. He’s got a strong set piece mindset which can provide us a solid platform.

“As a coaching group we feel there is lots of growth in Joe’s game to develop which will get him back to competing at the top level again.”

Hailing from Mold in North Wales, Joe began his career with two-years in the Sale Academy before joining Cardiff Blues’ Academy in 2013.

He went on to win five caps for Wales Under-20s and also spent time with RGC 1404 as well as representing both Cardiff & Pontypridd in the Principality Premiership.

In the summer of 2016 Jones embarked on a new challenge by moving to France to join Perpignan.

Joe spent two seasons with the Catalan Club, winning Pro D2 in 2017/18 and is now focused on making a splash in the Championship with the Knights. “I am delighted to have signed with Doncaster Knights next season.

“After speaking to Steve [Boden], his enthusiasm and vision for where he wants the team to go was clear.

“He’s on my level and I think that’s important for getting the best out of me and to get the team to achieve what we are aiming for.

“My hopes are to nail down the starting jersey and provide a dominant set piece throughout the season.

“We have signed a lot of quality, determined young lads who want to play which will complement the experienced boys. It’s a hungry squad that has been built and I hope to be a big part of it next season.

Joe’s signing takes the total of confirmed 2020/21 squad members to twenty-three.

To say thank you for donating we are etching the name of every supporter that donated to our Crowdfunder appeal into the fabric of the 2020/21 home jersey. You can still donate & get your season ticket here today.

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] MARK BEST [NEW SIGNING 1 + 1 YEAR] JAMES MITCHELL [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] CONOR JOYCE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] TOM HILL [SIGNING 2 YEARS] SAM GRAHAM [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BILLY MCBRYDE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BEN BETTS [NEW SIGNING 2 YEARS] JAMES NEWEY [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] JACK DAVIES [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] JOE JONES [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR].

MATCH DAY REWIND | KNIGHTS VS ESHER

This weekend’s match day rewind comes from 2012 against Esher.

The Knights last clashed with Esher in the National One winning season of 2013/14 and were a regular adversary prior to that.

‘Team news’ from the clash is below, enjoy!

Knights | 15 Dougie Flockhart 14 Ben Toft 13 Ollie Goss 12 Fred Burden 11 Michael Keating  10 Michael Whitehead
9 Chris Hallam 1 Andy Brown 2 Steve Boden 3 Alex Brown 4 Matt Challinor 5 Dom Parsons 6 Andy Boyde 7 Zac Farivarz 8 Michael Noone

Replacements | 16 Royce Burke-Flynn 17 Jack Yeandle 18 Gareth McDonagh 19 Adam Kettle 20 Chris Planchant 21 Michael Heaney 22 Tomas Francis

Esher |15 Luke Daniels 14 Andy Wright 13 Phil MacKenzie 12 Tom Cheeseman 11 Geoff Griffiths 10 Mark Atkinson 9 Jamie MacKenzie 1 Dave Millard 2 James Campbell  3 Ricky Nebbett 4 Matt Symons 5 James Inglis 6 Sam Stitcher 7 Peter Synnott 8 Mike MacFarlane

Replacements | 16 Ignacio Elodu 17 Shaun Renwick 18 Chris Goodman 19 Kevin Corrigan 20 Rob Kirby 21 Nicky Little 22 Clive Stuart-Smith

Ref. Steve Lee

Bath back-row Jack Davies becomes a Knight.

The Knights summer recruitment continues in the form of 24-year-old back-row Jack Davies.

Standing at 6ft 5in and weighing 116KG, Cardiff-born Jack Davies will add real presence to the Knights new-look squad.

Capable at lock also, Jack signed for Bath Rugby in the summer of 2018 and made five appearances in blue, white & black whilst studying at the University of Bath.

Davies developed as part of the Cardiff Blues Academy, spending 20 months at the Arms Park and progressing to feature for the first team in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

Jack signed for Bristol in the summer of 2015 making his debut in the British & Irish Cup against Ulster Ravens before returning to Wales to spend the 2016-17 season with Cardiff RFC in the Welsh Premiership.

Steve Boden’s latest signing further lowers the Knights average age and the new Head Coach is extremely pleased to be bringing Jack to Castle Park. “As a club we’re glad Jack has decided to join us for this season coming, he will add real competition and versatility across the back row.

“He’s a big man, has plenty of energy and enthusiasm and is a good lineout presence.

“We’re looking forward to working with Jack and seeing how he progresses his game in a Doncaster shirt.”

Following a year back in Cardiff, Jack embarked on a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports and Exercise at Bath University.

Davies combined his studies with playing in the BUCS Super Rugby competition and turning out for Bath United in the Premiership A League. His performances caught the eye sufficiently to earn a senior contract which he balanced with working towards a Masters in Business.

Jack is hoping his rugby continues to make waves in a Donny shirt next season & says he is raring to go. “I’ve spoken to a lot of people about the Knights, Doncaster and the buzz around the Club and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into a proper rugby town.

“I’ve heard good things about Bodes as a Coach and I think what he’s trying to do by creating a young & hungry squad is something that’s really exciting.

“Personally my targets are to play every week and add something to the way the team want to play. From what I’ve seen the recruitment & retention has been impressive and I think we can be a real force next season.”

James’ signing takes the total of confirmed 2020/21 squad members to twenty-two.

To say thank you we are etching the name of every supporter that has donated to our Crowdfunder appeal into the fabric of the 2020/21 home jersey. You can still donate right here.

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] MARK BEST [NEW SIGNING 1 + 1 YEAR] JAMES MITCHELL [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] CONOR JOYCE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] TOM HILL [SIGNING 2 YEARS] SAM GRAHAM [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BILLY MCBRYDE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BEN BETTS [NEW SIGNING 2 YEARS] JAMES NEWEY [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] JACK DAVIES [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR].

MATCH DAY REWIND | KNIGHTS VS BRISTOL.

This week’s match day rewind is another classic across west-country heavyweight Bristol. 

 

Knights | 15 Steve McColl 14 Andy Wright 13 Hudson Tonga’uiha 12 Bevon Armitage 11 Ed Styles 10 Ali Warnock 9 Chris Hallam 1 Stuart Corsair 2 Steve Lawrie 3 Ngalu T’au 4 Glen Townson 5 Bryn Griffiths 6 Adam Kettle 7 Simon Grainger 8 Andy Boyde

Replacements | 16 Michael Cusack 17 Steve Boden 18 Toma Toke 19 Dan Smith 20 Matt D’Arcy 21 Chris Briers 22 Brett Davey

Bristol Rugby | 15 Luke Arscott 14 Tom Arscott 13 Jack Adams 12 Luke Eves 11 Dan Norton 10 Adrian Jarvis 9 Jason Spice 1 Alex Clarke 2 Ross Johnson 3 Darren Crompton 4 James Phillips 5 Roy Winters 6 Ian Grieve 7 Redford Pennycock 8 Dan Montagu

Replacements | 16 Ollie Hayes 17 Wayne Thompson 18 Mark Irish 19 Mariano Sambucetti 20 James Merman 21 Robbie Shaw 22 Junior Fatialofa

Ref: Mark Wilson

Newey next to join Knights new era.

The Knights latest exciting new signing comes in the form of 22-year-old centre James Newey who joins from Jersey Reds.

James’ exploits on the Island mean he is already a well-respected force in the Championship despite his relative lack of years.

On loan from Bristol, Newey was just a teenager when he made his Championship debut featuring four times in the 2017/18 campaign.

His efforts were enough to earn him a full time contract with The Reds and he’s been impressing ever since scoring nine tries in 40 appearances over the last two season.

James has been particularly prolific against the Knights in recent years, having scored in three of his six encounters against us for Jersey.

Now, with his new deal agreed, James is hoping he can be dotting down in Donny colours as soon as possible. “I’m really looking forward to playing for The Knights, I’d like to play a key role in the team’s ambition next season to improve and turn heads.

“I was attracted to sign with The Knights after speaking with Steve Boden and hearing what he said about the Club’s ambition moving forward.

“It sounds like Doncaster will be a great place to play rugby next year with a few fresh faces and a brand of rugby that will suit my game.

“Having been a visitor at Doncaster a number of times I have always enjoyed playing at Castle Park, it’s a great facility with great fans. I would also like to say thanks to Steve and the board for all the support they have given me and other players through this time.”

Despite growing up in Brecon, Wales, James represented Ireland at Under 18 level through the Exile program & his efforts in a green shirt earned him his first pro contract with Bristol.

James made just four appearances for the Bears but still managed to score against the Knights in the British and Irish Cup in October 2017 & is a player Head Coach Steve Boden believes can add some real dynamism to the Knights attack next season. “James is an exciting prospect whose services we are delighted to have captured for next season.

“He has good pace and the ability to create something out of nothing, he also has areas of his game with room for development and we believe he can flourish within the Knights set up and have a great future”

James’ signing takes the total of confirmed 2020/21 squad members to twenty-one.

Our crowdfunder appeal has just 5 days left till it’s conclusion – bag your 2020/21 season ticket or other rewards to support the Club during this difficult time. Crowdfunder page – check them out.

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] MARK BEST [NEW SIGNING 1 + 1 YEAR] JAMES MITCHELL [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] CONOR JOYCE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] TOM HILL [SIGNING 2 YEARS] SAM GRAHAM [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BILLY MCBRYDE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BEN BETTS [NEW SIGNING 2 YEARS] JAMES NEWEY [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR].

 

Photo credit Rich Chapman.

 

 

 

Former Tigers tight head Ben Betts signs.

23-year-old prop forward Ben Betts pens from Championship rivals Ealing Trailfinders ahead of the 2020/21 season.

The Irishman arrives in South Yorkshire from Ealing having spent the 2019/20 season on loan with Nottingham where he made 11 appearances.

Before his move to the capital Ben played for Leicester Tigers, making five appearances for the Welford Road side & Head Coach Steve Boden believes the Munster man has the potential to develop into a top flight player again in the future. “We believe Ben’s best rugby is yet to come – he is a mobile tight head with a solid work rate.

“There is definitely plenty of potential in him and we believe he has a lot of growth in his game that can be unlocked in the environment we’re creating next season.

“He’s an ambitious guy with a good attitude and he will add some real competition at the tight head position.”

Before moving to England, Ben played for Munster at Youth, Under-19 and Under-20 levels and also represented his country at Under-19s and Under-20s; reaching the final of the World Junior Championship in 2016.

In his first season with the Trailfinders Ben featured 10 times and has gained experience in National One with Chinnor & Loughborough Students also.

Commenting on his decision to sign with the Knights Ben said. “I’m really excited to join what sounds like an exciting new squad with loads of ambition & potential to develop under Steve Boden.

“Doncaster have great history in the competition and a reputation of being big up front with lots of firepower which really appeals to me

“I think this is a fantastic opportunity for me personally as I want to test myself and get as much exposure as possible against the best teams in the league and help the Knights push forward.”

Ben’s signing takes the total of confirmed 2020/21 squad members twenty.

We have a host of rewards, including your 2020/21 Season Ticket on our Crowdfunder page – check them out.

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] MARK BEST [NEW SIGNING 1 + 1 YEAR] JAMES MITCHELL [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] CONOR JOYCE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] TOM HILL [SIGNING 2 YEARS] SAM GRAHAM [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BILLY MCBRYDE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BEN BETTS [NEW SIGNING 2 YEARS].

Knights secure Welsh Premiership top scorer McBryde.

The good news keeps coming as it is confirmed that fly-half Billy McBryde has signed from Welsh Premiership side RGC 1404.

The 22-year-old arrives following a tremendous 2019/20 with the North Walians.

The stand off had 163 points to his name, including 6 six tries, when the season was prematurely ended – some 40 points more than any other player in the competition.

Billy joined RGC ahead of the 2018/19 season and played 50 consecutive games having developed through the Scarlets and Llanelli youth programmes.

Son of former Wales international hooker Robin McBryde, Billy made his Llanelli debut aged 18as a substitute against Cross Keys. A year and a half later he made his Scarlets debut against Bath in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.

He was selected for Wales U20 for the 2016 Six Nations Under 20s Championship. His debut came in the opening game against Scotland U20. Coming on in the 79th minute, and immediately scoring a penalty to win the game for Wales.

Billy was selected again for the 2016 World Rugby Under 20 Championship, and made a further three appearances.

McBryde is the second 22-year-old to confirm his signing with the Knights this week and, much like with Sam Graham, Head Coach Steve Boden sees vast potential in his latest acquisition. “Billy is a great fit for us as a developing team, he has a very strong and varied kicking game which we really like.

“We feel Billy has a lot of areas to grow, which is exciting with the drive and ambition he has – particularly working alongside Joe Ford.

“Billy will give us great balance, and drive competition in the fly-half position with Sam Olver, which can only be a good thing for the team and for both players as individuals.”

In addition to his age grade honours, Billy has represented his country at Sevens but is now set on succeeding in the Championship with the Knights. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to be part of a new-look Knights squad and testing myself in a tough league.

“Even after my first conversation with Steve, the ambition he had for the Club was clear and I’m looking forward to linking up with the staff and players and putting on the Knights jersey for the upcoming season.”

Billy’s signing takes the total of confirmed 2020/21 squad members nineteen.

We have a host of rewards, including your 2020/21 Season Ticket on our Crowdfunder page – check them out.

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] MARK BEST [NEW SIGNING 1 + 1 YEAR] JAMES MITCHELL [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] CONOR JOYCE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] TOM HILL [SIGNING 2 YEARS] SAM GRAHAM [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR] BILLY MCBRYDE [NEW SIGNING 1 YEAR].

 

 

 

George Edgson & Jack Roberts join Jersey Reds.

Hooker George Edgson & Jack Roberts join Jersey Reds for the 2020/21 season.

24-year-old Edgson made 19 appearances since joining us in South Yorkshire last summer, featuring at both hooker and flanker throughout the campaign.

Roberts joined the Club on loan from Cardiff Blues late in the 2018/19 season before making the move permanent at the end of the season.

Despite an injury interrupted campaign Jack managed eight appearances with the Knights scoring away against Ampthill.

As a Club we thank George & Jack for their efforts & wish them all the best for the future.

MATCH DAY REWIND | Birmingham & Solihull

This weekend’s match day rewind comes from November 2009 against Birmingham & Solihull.

The last time Birmingham & Solihull played at Castle Park was in September 2017 as The Bees ran out 57-29 winners against Doncaster Phoenix in the Midlands Premier.

The Brummy club has since fallen on hard times and, after a rebuilding period in the Birmingham merit leagues, will re-enter the league structure in Midlands West 4 next season.

In 2009 however the Midlanders had just been promoted the rugby’s second tier and were keen to make their presence felt. Watch the full game below.

Knights | 15 Steve McColl 14 Matt Williams 13 Chris Briers 12 Hudson Tonga’uiha  11. Dougie Flockhart  10 Ali Warnock 9. Chris Hallam 1. Tom Davies 2. Steve Lawrie 3 Ngalu T’au  4 Bryn Griffiths 5 Glen Townson 6 Adam Kettle 7 Simon Grainger 8 Chris Planchant

Replacements | 16 Michael Cusack 17 Steve Boden 18 Stuart Corsar 19 Glen Kenworthy 20 Bevon Armitage 21 Matt D’Arcy 22 Neil Cochrane

Birmingham & Solihull | 15 Mike Penn 14 Simon Hunt 13 Ronnie McLean 12 Will Lawson 11. Mitch Culpin 10 Rod Petty 9 Jimmy Williams 1 Matt Long 2 Jack Preece 3 Ken Dowding 4. Alex Davidson 5. Stuart Ault 6. Chris Brightwell 7. Russell Earnshaw 8.Leopold  Halavatau

Replacements | 16 Eugene Martin 17 Dale Gardner 18 Matt Cox 19 Ed Bingham 20 Sam Brown 21 Ryan Tomlinson 22. Will Martin

End of Season Award winners named!

The Votes have been counted and the winners of the 2019/20 Player of the Season & Try of the Season have been confirmed.

Player of the Season| Sponsored by Lydia Lydia Gin | Robin Hislop– following a stand out campaign, which saw the loose head prop named in both The Rugby Paper & Greene King IPA Championship Team’s of the Season, Bomber now adds Knights’ Player of the Season to this term’s accolades.

The Scotsman took 28% of the public vote with lock Matt Challinor in second place & fly half Sam Olver third and we are delighted that all three will part of the Knights squad for 2020/21.

Try of the Season | Sponsored by Dilly Dilly Gin | Kyle Evans–  Wing Kyle Evans had two of his try-scoring efforts from 2019/20 shortlisted for the Try of the Season vote – both from the same game.

In what was undoubtedly the performance of the season, the 38-10 Championship win over Jersey at Castle Park, Kyle bagged a hat-trick and it was the opener from that game (Try C) that received almost 50% of the total vote.

Tyson Lewis’ finish from a Steve McColl chip forward against Yorkshire Carnegie was the runner up with Evans’ 2nd in third place.

A huge congratulation to both our winners & massive thank you to our award sponsors Dilly Dily & Lydia Lydia Gin – click to check out the Laneham based Gin distillers fantastic range of products.