Knights Topple League Leaders at Castle Park

Doncaster Knights claimed a valuable four points in a famous win as they defeated Ealing Trailfinders 22-5 at Castle Park today, maintaining their home win record.

It was a ferocious game, with the Knights doggedly determined not to allow Ealing to claim an inch – to the point that they held the Londoners scoreless for 70 minutes.

The Knights opened the afternoon’s scoring just four minutes into the encounter when winger Maliq Holden went over for a try in the exact same corner in which he had scored one against Richmond at the beginning of the month. With Sam Olver’s conversion, the Knights were seven points up on the board.

Ealing strung good phases together, featuring in the Knights 22 on a couple of occasions, but each time they believed they had a foothold in the game, the home side would repel their advances.

Olver topped up the scoreboard with a penalty, earned at the scrum by the pack – a feature of the day. Ealing were hampered for much of the match by the wind as kick after kick was collected by the blustering weather and sent back into play on out after just a couple of measly metres.

It was never going to be a relaxed affair, but tempers flared before half time to the point that referee Ian Tempest sent Knights back row, Jack Davies, to the bin for foul play. However, even with 14 men, the Knights closed out the half leading 10-0 – no mean feat, holding Ealing scoreless in a half.

Not long after the second half start, James Cordy-Redden thought he had breezed through for the visitors before play was brought back for a crossing call on the winger.

Play was back-and-forth for the following quarter before the Knights struck again on 63 minutes played. A massive effort at the driving maul from a lineout in the Ealing 22 saw the Donny pack crash over with hooker George Edgson claiming the scoring glory. A conversion from Olver lengthened their lead.

With 70 minutes on the clock, the London outfit finally got their names on the scoreboard. Ealing used quick pace in their rolling maul to surprise the Knights defence and cross for their sole score, reportedly secured by Simon Uzokwe. Unfortunately for the visiting side, Craig Willis’ conversion rebounded off the posts.

Doncaster always seemed determined to put a final nail in the coffin, and they did just that with five minutes to spare. Jack Spittle intercepted an Ealing pass in his own 22 and fed Billy McBryde who stormed down the field, easily covering 90 yards, to score a raucously received try. The conversion was held up by the wind but the Knights and their fans were already happy enough.

An already joyous afternoon for the crowd was made all the sweeter as club legend, Richard List, made an appearance on the field for the last five minutes of the game.

It was a win that never truly seemed in doubt from the minute Doncaster scored their first try, and so, it is a performance they will want to mirror when they head to Cornish Pirates next week.

 

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Jack Spittle, 13 Mark Best, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Richard List, 18 AndrewFoster, 19 Danny Drake, 20 Josh Peters, 21 Sam Hudson, 22 Lloyd Wheeldon, 23 Harry Davey.

Tries: Holden, Edgson, McBryde.

Conv: Olver 2.

Pen: Olver.

Yellow card: Jack Davies.

 

Ealing XV | 15 David Johnston, 14 James Cordy-Redden, 13 Max Bodilly, 12 Reuben Bird-Tulloch, 11 Luke Daniels; 10 Steven Shingler, 9 Craig Hampson; 1 James Gibbons, 2 Shaun Malton, 3 Lewis Thiede, 4 Bobby de Wee, 5 James Cannon, 6 Max Northcote-Green, 7 Simon Uzokwe, 8 Rayn Smid.

Replacements | 16 Jan Campher, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Kyle Whyte, 19 Simon Linsell, 20 Willem Massyn, 21 Stephen Kerins, 22 Craig Willis, 23 Cian Kelleher.

Tries: Uzokwe.

 

Referee: Ian Tempest.

Doncaster Knights Join Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice Twinkle Campaign

Doncaster Knights and Castle Park are joining the Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice Twinkle Campaign this Christmas.

The campaign is all about raising money for the hospice while acknowledging someone special in your life – be it a loved one, a friend, a colleague or anyone else you would like to keep in your thoughts.

We have lots of purple stars available for you to dedicate a star to your chosen person and hang it on the Christmas tree in our concourse.

To hang a star on our tree, you simply make a donation to the hospice. There will be a donation bucket right beside our tree.

You can read more about the campaign, and the amazing work that Bluebell Wood do, at their website https://www.bluebellwood.org/twinkle

Team News | Knights Named for Trailfinders Battle

Doncaster Knights set out to maintain a home win record tomorrow as we welcome league leaders Ealing Trailfinders to Castle Park. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made five changes to the starting XV who scored a narrow victory over Hartpury at Alpas Arena last weekend.

In the pack, Conor Davidson maintains his places whilst George Edgson and Gaz Denman return to the starting line-up as George Roberts and Andrew Foster move to the bench. A debutant last weekend, Thom Smith takes the #8 shirt to allow for John Kelly’s move to lock where he will partner recent signing Ben Murphy. 

Jack Davies returns to the team as he starts at blindside flanker, with Sam Graham as captain rounding out the pack. Gaz Denman (?), Danny Drake, Josh Peters and Sam Hudson bolster the forward replacement options, with a possible debut in store for Kai Owen – the loosehead having arrived on loan from Worcester Warriors.

The backline hosts a lone change as Fraser Strachan moves into the first XV following Joe Margetts’ HIA at Hartpury last weekend. On the bench, newly signed scrum half Lloyd Wheeldon could make his debut and Harry Davey could feature for the first time since the Knights’ victory at Ampthill.

Kick off is at 14:30 and supporters are encouraged to arrive early to donate to our Christmas tree as we have partnered with the Bluebell Children’s Hospice and their Twinkle Campaign this Christmas.

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Jack Spittle, 13 Mark Best, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Jack Davies, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Kai Owen, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 Danny Drake, 20 Sam Hudson, 21 Lloyd Wheeldon, 22 Harry Davey, 23 Josh Peters.

Peters Enjoying the Professionalism of Doncaster Knights

Lock Josh Peters signed for the Knights from Stade Dijonnais in Nationale, the French third tier, in the summer of 2021.

Peters had previously played his rugby in Spain – where he grew up – for Marbella RFC as well as for Oundle School in Northamptonshire.

The forward was tempted back to playing in England by not only an opportunity to test himself in the Championship with Doncaster but also, to be closer to family following a year under COVID-19 restrictions.

“I did my year away in France and that was fun, I enjoyed it, but with the COVID thing, I wanted to be a bit closer to family and friends.

“The rugby over there is a bit looser, I think that’s the best term. Everything’s very emotionally driven in the game in France. There’s a lot of rivalries and fighting for positions. It’s very different, but I enjoyed it none the less.

“Coming to Doncaster, it’s been very professional – especially compared to France. In France, there’s probably more money in the game but there’s less direction in things.”

The forward believes he has settled in to his new squad well, especially since he was already familiar with a couple of his fellow players.

“I already knew Sam Olver because I went to school with him – his dad was actually my tutor at school – so I’ve always been close with him. I also knew a few guys from age-grade stuff with England, but it has been nice to get to know everyone properly.”

English-born, Peters spent a large chunk of his childhood living in Spain and, despite being recognised at England U18 level, has his international caps as part of the Spanish national set-up.

“I grew up out in Spain, so before I ever played for the England age-grades I played for the Spain age-grades. Then England saw me playing for Spain, saw my surname, and asked if I would be interested in coming over here to do some training with them.

“So, doing that was what put me in touch with Sam Olver’s dad, who sorted me out with my schooling and all that. It all fell into place nicely, to be fair – I was very lucky.”

Discussing the possibility of more international caps in the future, the lock explains his focus is with the Knights, though he would be delighted to again feature internationally.

“It’s hard at the moment to get the balance. I want to play as many games as I can here and going away with Spain is actually quite difficult with the whole COVID situation – it means I miss games here.

“I had a bit of a bad experience last year where I went away for too long and it was hard to get back into the team. So, I want to try to centre myself here, but if there were vital games, then I do want to be playing for Spain.”

Peters will need to be playing at his sharpest to feature for his international side again and, also, if he and the wider Knights squad wish to hand a defeat to the league leaders this weekend as Ealing Trailfinders travel to Castle Park.

“I feel like I’m going well – I just need to keep fit and stay on top of things, and hopefully that means I’ll have a good season for us.

“Our scrum is pretty solid. We’ve got a few work-ons still in maul time but I feel like it will gel together at some point in the near future – though hopefully the very near future, like, before this weekend’s game.

“We’ve got Ealing at home, which is never an easy game, then Pirates away is a tough one, mainly because of the travel, and then a derby against Nottingham. So, I think we need to be tight in these games. 

“It’s a really important block for us, and an important block in the season, because I feel like there’s a lot of points to be gained and taken away from other teams. I mean, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all, there’s still a lot of games to play, but I think this is a really important block.”

The first test of the block, against Ealing Trailfinders at Castle Park, takes place this Saturday, Nov 27. Kick off is at 2:30pm and tickets are available at https://www.drfc.co.uk/tickets/

Knights of the Roundy Tables Lunch

The Knights welcome Ealing Trailfinders to Castle Park on November 27th and on the same day the Knights of the Roundy Tables will hold a lunch.

Doncaster have won all of their home games of the season so far and now head into an exciting run of games in late November and December, so it is sure to be another fantastic occasion at Castle Park.

There will be a lovely two course lunch to enjoy with the price of £16 per person (not including match day ticket or programme) and will start at 12.30pm in the Lansdowne Suite.

Tickets are now on sale for this and can be purchased from reception or by calling 01302 831388.

Match day tickets for our clash with Ealing Trailfinders can be purchased via https://www.drfc.co.uk/tickets/

Knights Secure Hard-Fought Away Win Against Hartpury

An early start on the scoreboard for the opposition wasn’t a strong enough hold on the game to deny Doncaster Knights the comeback win at Alpas Arena today.

It was a tough opening 15 minutes for the travelling Knights as Hartpury took full control of the encounter, scoring two unanswered tries within the first quarter. Likely fearful of another Ampthill performance, Boden’s men looked to get themselves back in the game – helped by two tries within minutes of each other.

Having ended the half with another try in the bag, the Knights emerged for the second half under no illusions that their jobs for the day were done. A back-and-forth half, with attack and defence required in equal measure, meant that a lone Sam Olver penalty was enough to seal the win for the travelling side.

Hartpury were first on the board after just five minutes. Having made their way into the Knights 22, an error from the visitors at the lineout allowed flanker Harry Short to dart through for the game’s maiden score. With the conversion coming from James Williams, the side looked hungry for more of the same.

Their second try followed five minutes later as an almost identical lineout position gave them front-foot ball to sending hooker, and co-captain, Will Crane barrelling through for what was ultimately an unconverted score.

That would be the last points Hartpury saw in the half as the Knights went on the offensive. The first try was a purely backs-motivated affair as a beautifully collected chip kick from Jack Spittle allowed him to release Alex Dolly. Heading straight for an on-rushing defender, a last-ditch over the head pass from the scrum half sent Joe Margetts, the former Hartpury player, over for the Knights’ first score.

Never ones to shy away from limelight, the backs were soon back in the scoring action. Having been fed quick ball from the rolling maul, a speedy connection between Billy McBryde and Spittle saw the winger run in for a score.

With breaks in play, and a momentary departure from the field for Margetts to complete a HIA, the first half was ultimately ended by a try all for the forwards. Recycling ball on the line, the eventual scorer was lock Josh Peters who crashed over. Olver slotted his first successful conversion of the day to send the sides into half time with Hartpury trailing 12-17.

The second half, whilst intense as territory was hard to come by, was relatively quiet in a points-scoring sense. Penalties were evenly distributed to both sides and turnovers were aplenty. The replacements made noticeable impact as Sam Hudson in particular made a barn-storming carry into the Hartpury 22 at one point.

Ultimately, there were two penalties alone in the second half to decide the scoreline. For the Knights, Olver took the gift of a penalty right in front of the posts to snag a 12-20 scoreline, while Hartpury took a penalty on 72 minutes to close the gap slightly to 15-20.

It was a winning performance for Steve Boden’s side but it is one that remains to be improved upon if the Knights are to make headway against Ealing Trailfinders at Castle Park next week.

 

Hartpury XV | 15 Ben Foley; 14 Sam Smith, 13 Jack Tovey, 12 Charlie Foley, 11 Robbie Smith; 10 James Williams, 9 JB Bruzulier (cc); 1 Conor Maguire, 2 Will Crane (cc), 3 Ciaran Knight, 4 Dale Lemon, 5 James Scott, 6 Josh Gray, 7 Harry Short, 8 Nahum Merigan.

Replacements | 16 Luke Stratford, 17 Aristot Benz Salomon, 18 Shaun Kinight, 19 Josh Fenner, 20 Joe Howard, 21 Oli Robinson, 22 Toby Venner, 23 Matt McNab.

Tries; Short, Crane.

Conv; Williams.

Pens; Williams.

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Maliq Holden, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Jack Spittle; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Thom Smith, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Henry Paul, 18 Gaz Denman, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Sam Hudson, 22 Joe Green, 23 Fraser Strachan.

Tries; Margetts, Spittle, Peters.

Conv; Olver

Pens; Olver

Team News | Knights Named for Hartpury Trip

Doncaster Knights look to claim a second away win tomorrow as we travel to face Hartpury at the Alpas Arena. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made three changes to the starting XV who were victorious over Richmond at Castle Park earlier this month.

In the pack, Conor Davidson will debut at loosehead in place of Conrad Cade while fellow debutant Thom Smith replaces Sam Hudson on the flank. Ben Murphy could make his Knights debuts off the bench while Will Holling is named in the matchday side for the first time since his short-term loan to Premiership side, Wasps.

Henry Paul, Gaz Denman, Jack Davies and Sam Hudson round out the bench with which Boden has gone for a 6-2 forward-back split.

The backline remains unchanged, although Maliq Holden and Jack Spittle do switch wings. On the bench, the two replacements are Joe Green and Fraser Strachan.

With the few changes this week, Conrad Cade, George Edgson, Guido Volpi and Kyle Evans all drop out of the matchday 23.

Kick off is at 13:30 and supporters will be able to watch the England v South Africa game in the clubhouse following the match.

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Maliq Holden, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Jack Spittle; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Danny Drake, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Thom Smith, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 John Kelly.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Henry Paul, 18 Gaz Denman, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Sam Hudson, 22 Joe Green, 23 Fraser Strachan.

Knights Sign Scrum Half Lloyd Wheeldon

The club are excited to announce the signing of scrum half, Lloyd Wheeldon, until the end of the 2021/22 season. 

The half-back arrives from Heriot’s Rugby where he played for the Scottish side in the Super6 competition.

Discussing Lloyd’s signing, Head Coach Steve Boden said: “We’ve been aware of Lloyd’s ability for some time now. He got some great experience down at Harlequins and a taste of a professional environment.

“With Gus Warr going back to Sale Sharks, it was a great fit for us. Lloyd is very competitive, which is great to have within the squad.”

Lloyd has most notably played for the British Army’s Senior XV as a Lance Corporal in 3 Para. It was the scrum half’s impressive performance in an Army v Navy game which put him firmly on Harlequins radar.

As well as Harlequins, the Army man has also featured for Heriots in the Scottish Super6 competition and for Castleford Tigers in Rugby League action.

The English half-back joins the Knights as a young player keen to secure game time.

“I’ve always been interested in being at Doncaster Knights as I know it’s a well-respected club, and being a Northern lad, it speaks volumes to play for them.

“I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can achieve as a squad in the remainder of this season.”

Vacancy: Experienced Full Time Front of House Supervisor

We are looking for a professional and friendly front of house supervisor to join our Castle Park team full time.

Your main goal in this position should be to ensure the highest level of client satisfaction and provide an outstanding customer experience.

Requirements are:

  1. Overseeing the smooth running of functions during all events.
  2. Managing front of house employees during a shift.
  3. Performing opening and closing checks.
  4. Good knowledge of customer service.
  5. Planning and directing staffing and training.
  6. Must have good leadership and supervision skills and be an effective communicator.
  7. An ability to work under pressure with good attention to details.
  8. Experience of working as both part of a team and alone.

For any enquiries or to apply, please contact catering@castle-park.co.uk

Supporters Coach – Hartpury

Please see below for the latest information on the Supporters Coach for the Hartpury fixture this weekend.

Our next away game is at Hartpury on Saturday, November 20th.

As the game kicks off at 1:30pm, our coach will have to leave Buckley’s depot at 8:30am.

After our usual stops we will be leaving the club at 9am and the Winning Post by 9:15am.

We will leave Hartpury at 5pm, to allow for supporters to watch the England v South Africa game.

Cost is £20 for adults and £10 for juniors.

To book a seat, please contact John Lowe on 07977112706.

Raffle prizes and volunteers to sell tickets, as well as run Guess the Score, are very welcome.

Bodes’ Update on the Season So Far

Knights Head Coach Steve Boden provides an update on injuries, the start to the season so far, and what his squad will look to take away from an upcoming tough run of games.

Thankfully, Bodes hasn’t had too many injury hits to concern himself with, but it is always best to have a team at full-strength – something he hopes to have in the relatively near future.

“Prop Joe Wrafter is doing well in the rehab process. He’s hopefully about 6 weeks away from returning to play. It’s been a long process for him but it’s been done the right way, so we’re looking forward to seeing him in a Donny shirt for the first time.

“Fellow prop, George Oram, has started his return to play protocol and, all going well, we’re hoping George will be back match-fit within 6 weeks. He’s got to hit a few criteria first but fingers crossed he’ll be returning within that period.

“And centre Connor Edwards has a small knee tweak which is an ongoing problem but he’s back in full training and available for selection in the near future.”

It’s a selection process which has become rather more complicated for Bodes and his coaching staff in recent times. In the pack, Will Holling earned a call-up to Wasps but has sat behind in-form hookers George Edgson and George Roberts in a Knights shirt.

“I think you’ve just got to be honest with them all – there’s nothing that I would say to Will that I wouldn’t say to the others. It’s easier to just put things straight on the line. While Will has gone to Wasps and had that great experience, the two in-form hookers at the club at the moment are George Edgson and George Roberts.

“They had an opportunity through Will being injured at the start of the year and they’ve taken it. Now, I’ve also got to realise that I’ve got three very capable hookers and I can’t just leave people not playing rugby that need to play. So, Will is going to get an opportunity and that will give us the chance to put competition back into that position. It’ll come, they’ve just got to be patient.”

Meanwhile, in the back-line, both Maliq Holden and Joe Margetts were impressive on debut against Richmond at Castle Park earlier in the month, so will surely be looking for more game-time on the wing and in the centre respectively.

“It’s a good headache, the one I’ve got with selection. I think sport is about opportunity and that’s all you can ask for is to get an opportunity, and take it when you get one.

“I think with Mal and Joe, it was pretty obvious they had good games. The challenge to anybody that wants to play regular minutes at this club is you’ve got to be there consistently, otherwise there’s a guy waiting.

“So, for me, the challenge for them now is can they do that week-in, week-out? If they can, then we’ll be impressed by it, but at the moment, they should celebrate that performance but know they’ve got to go on and do it consistently.”

Consistency will definitely help the squad, who have recorded four wins and two losses from six games so far this season. Bodes believes that too much time cannot be spent looking back on performances – the improvements lie in knowing what went wrong and focusing on adapting for that next game.

“I think, like we always do, we don’t really evaluate the outcome as much here – which is something it takes the new lads a little while to get their heads around.

“Coventry away was obviously disappointing and I take a lot of heat for that because I don’t believe I prepared the side in the best manner – that one was on the coaching staff.

“Bedford away was a very naïve performance but I’ll be honest, if we had played the type of rugby we played at points against Bedford consistently, then we would have had a lot more commanding performances this year.

“The performance was a massive positive against Bedford and it sort of turned us around a corner a little bit. Then we won the Scottish game, and I’d say that was a scrappy performance but we got the five points.

“Then after that, Ampthill was a poor performance but we still got the result. We showed some character in that game though and that’s what you’re going to need in a long season. There’s going to be times where you have to scrape results out.

“Against Richmond, in patches, I thought we played some really good stuff. I think we left about 25 points out there against Richmond – and that’s being realistic. We need to get our maul functioning as it isn’t at the moment, so that’s something we’re working really hard on. We also then need to sort out our maul defence.

“Attack wise, I think we’re creating some good stuff but we’ve got to have the ability to hold onto the ball for longer periods than we are doing.”

The next opportunity for Bodes and his squad to test out their improvements will come when the Knights travel to Hartpury this Saturday, Nov 20, for a 13:30 kick-off.