January Supporters’ Knight Cancelled

We can confirm that there will be no Supporters’ Knight in January, 2022.

This decision has been made with the health of the squad, coaches and fans in mind as there are ongoing COVID issues in the Championship and throughout the country right now.

We look forward to welcoming you back for another Supporters’ Knight when we are able to.

Please enjoy a happy and safe New Year.

Knights v Bedford Blues Postponed

Doncaster Knights can confirm that Saturday’s Round 14 Championship fixture against Bedford Blues has been postponed.

The decision to postpone the fixture, due to take place on January 1 at 2:30pm, has been taken by the Rugby Football Union (RFU) after Bedford reported COVID-19 cases within their squad. 

The game will now be played at a later, as yet unconfirmed, date.

While we are disappointed not to be playing this weekend, the most important matter is the health of all at Bedford Blues and in our own squad, so we wish everyone affected well and hope they have a speedy recovery.

From everyone at Doncaster Knights, we hope you enjoy a fun and safe New Year. We look forward to welcoming you back to Castle Park in 2022.

 

Note: all tickets already purchased for this game will remain valid for the re-organised fixture.

Knights v Bedford Blues – Livestream

We are thrilled to announce that our Championship game against Bedford Blues on New Years’ Day will be live-streamed.

Fans will be able to access the game at this link: 247.tv/champsrugby

The game, which will kick-off at 14:30 on January 1, will be the 35th meeting between the two sides. So far, the Knights have won 17 to Bedford’s 15 wins, with two draws played.

The Knights team for the fixture will be announced at 12 noon tomorrow.

Five-Try Knights Get Bonus Point Against Scottish At Athletic Ground

Doncaster Knights secured a final win of 2021 with a five-try outing against London Scottish at the Richmond Athletic Ground this afternoon.

Steve Boden’s squad travelled to London having secured two bonus-point wins back-to-back at Castle Park against Nottingham and Coventry. And so, the head coach will surely be pleased to see out the year with a third consecutive bonus-point.

The Knights were the first on the board when Alex Dolly elected to go for goal from a penalty in midfield. Finding the posts easily, the first three points were secured and the Knights didn’t look to let-up on the scoring for the remainder of the encounter.

From defending in their own 22, the Knights went immediately on the offensive when back row Sam Hudson put in a grubber kick on a fumbled ball. Dolly chased it down to dart over for the first try of the day, before going on to convert his own score.

Having been vital to the first try, Hudson then secured one of his own. From a pick and go on the Scottish line, he dotted the ball down over the line and watched on happy as Dolly added the extras.

Scottish got themselves on the board five minutes shy of half-time when, having taken advantage of their attacking phases in the Knights 22, wing Sam Baker crossed for the hosts, before Harry Sheppard added the conversion.

Unfortunately, in the process of the try referee Adam Leal felt Billy McBryde had made a high tackle, so the Welshman was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes.

Being reduced to 14-men didn’t seem to rattle the Donny boys however, as shortly after the yellow card John Kelly made a break before offloading to Maliq Holden who cantered over for the Knights third score. The conversion was added by Dolly to take the Knights points tally to 24.

In the death of the half, Scottish were able to secure a second try as their driving maul proved powerful enough to send Nick Selway battering over for an unconverted score.

Running out for the second half, the Knights knew the opportunity for a bonus point was on the table – and on 56 minutes it was secured. Following a prolonged period of recycling ball on the Scottish line, Andrew Foster found a break in the defensive line and crashed over. Dolly dutifully kicked the conversion to lengthen the lead.

On the hour mark, there was a break in play as Gaz Denman received treatment for a neck injury. The replacement prop was ultimately removed from the field of play for what we hope was only a precaution and not a serious injury.

The restart allowed Scottish to gather themselves in attack as they scored a try through Tom Georgiou before Sheppard once more added the extras for what proved to be the hosts’ last points of the match.

In the last ten minutes, the Knights still did not relent. Having missed one minutes before, Dolly kept his cool to kick a penalty which cleanly split the uprights. And then, on the death, replacement hooker Will Holling secured a final try from the bottom of a Knights rolling maul.

A 19-39 away game winning scoreline is a positive note to end the year on as the Knights squad will look to push on from this win to start 2022 on the front foot when Bedford Blues visit Castle Park on New Years’ Day.

 

London Scottish XV | 15 Tom Georgiou; 14 Sam Baker, 13 Leo Fielding, 12 Javiah Pohe, 11 David Halaifonua; 10 Harry Sheppard, 9 Ed Hoadley; 1 Maurice Nwakor, 2 Nick Selway, 3 Jimmy Roots, 4 James Tyas, 5 Ehize Ehizode, 6 Harry Wilson, 7 Jack Ingall, 8 Cameron King.

Replacements | 16 Tom Petty, 17 Joe Rees, 18 Alex Gibson, 19 Tom Baldwin, 20 Brian Tuilagi, 21 Morgan Dawes, 22 Laurence May, 23 Sam Hanks.

Tries: Baker, Selway, Georgiou.

Conv: Sheppard 2.

 

Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 Jack Spittle, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Billy McBryde, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 John Kelly, 5 Danny Drake, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Hudson, 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Ben Carlile, 18 Gaz Denman, 19 Josh Peters, 20 George Oram, 21 Joe Green, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Sam Graham.

Pens: Dolly 2.

Tries: Dolly, Hudson, Holden, Foster, Holling.

Conv: Dolly 4.

Yellow card: McBryde.

 

Referee: Adam Leal.

Team News | Knights Named for Boxing Day Trip to Scottish

Doncaster Knights look to claim a third away win for the season as we travel to the Richmond Athletic Ground to face London Scottish on Sunday, Dec 26. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made four changes to the starting XV who charted a bonus point victory over Coventry at Castle Park last weekend.

In the pack, George Edgson gets a rest week as George Roberts claims the starting hooker position with Will Holling named to the bench. Conor Davidson remains at loosened while Andrew Foster comes in for Gaz Denman, who drops to the bench.

The remainder of the pack is intact with John Kelly and Danny Drake the locks, Guido Volpi and Sam Hudson manning the flanks, and Thom Smith captaining the side from the eight position.

In the backs, there are a further two changes. Mark Best and Joe Margetts both drop out of the matchday side with Connor Edwards and Fraser Strachan given starts. Alex Dolly, Billy McBryde and Harry Davey maintain their positions for a second week to round out the backline.

On the bench, Ben Carlile, Josh Peters, last week’s debutant George Oram and the returning Sam Graham are the forward options. Joe Green and Sam Olver are also named to provide cover for the backs.

Kick off is at 15:00 and unfortunately there will be no live stream of the game. We will have updates on our Twitter throughout the game for fans to follow.

 

Starting XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 Jack Spittle, 13 Fraser Strachan, 12 Connor Edwards, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Billy McBryde, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 John Kelly, 5 Danny Drake, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Hudson, 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 Will Holling, 17 Ben Carlile, 18 Gaz Denman, 19 Josh Peters, 20 George Oram, 21 Joe Green, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Sam Graham.

George Blake

It is with regret that we have to announce the sad passing of 90-year-old club stalwart, George Blake. George passed away in DRI after a short illness and we offer our deepest sympathy to his sons Alan and David, his family and his very many friends. He will be sadly missed by us all.

George first became involved with the club in the early 1970s when he came down to collect his son David who had played in an invitation match involving Doncaster Grammar School. He was invited in for a drink (which turned into several, interrupted by a quick trip home to collect his wife) and this lead to  an involvement with the club that continued until his passing. For a great deal of that time he was accompanied by his lovely wife, Jean, who sadly passed away almost 20 years ago.

Although George never played for the club, he can rightly be given the accolade of being a club legend for two reasons. Firstly, he quickly became involved with helping serve on the bar before taking on the role of bar chairman at a time when the club’s bar activities rocketed following the conversion of the old gym into a bar in the 1970’s. 

George kept the bar going in spite of having to hold down a full time job as a dental technician. For many years he and Jean could be found at the club irrespective of the season or the weather. Everyone at the club knew George and Jean and they were both elected to the club’s Chain Gang for outstanding efforts over many years, an award that was rarely given to members who had not played for the club.

George also used his skills as a dental technician which he had initially acquired as a member of the Royal Army Dental Corp during national service in Egypt. Around this time mouth guards were being promoted for safety reasons but George was not convinced standard ones sold in shops were safe so he set up a small workshop at home at his own expense.

Thereafter for many seasons, until his eyesight started deteriorating a few years ago, whole generations of junior rugby players, plus numerous 1st XV and other senior players, were turning out in individual, professionally produced mouth guards in a mixture of colours that George would offer. It always used to amaze George how many people would come to speak to him at the club because he had made their first mouth guard!

George loved the club and put his heart and soul into it. He rarely missed a game, home or away, and he was a regular traveller on the supporters coach. In particular, he really looked forward to his visits to Cornish Pirates and Jersey. It was during one such weekend in Jersey a few years ago that George paid an emotional visit to the small coastal pub where he and Jean had spent their honeymoon some 50 years earlier.

George’s funeral will be held at Rose Hill Crematorium on January 11th at 11.30am.

Following the service, attendees are invited back to Castle Park for refreshments.

George, may you rest in peace.

 

George’s sons have set up a Just Giving page in George and Jean’s memory – more info, or to donate, here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/georgeblake90

Hospitality for Knights New Years’ Day Game

We are delighted to offer a New Years’ Day menu in hospitality for our January 1 game against Bedford Blues. Please see below for full details of what will be available.

Can we ask that everyone wishing to book a place in hospitality do so before Wednesday 29, December by contacting our Commercial Manager, Joe Lowes, on 07908815885 or by emailing jlowes@castle-park.co.uk

 

Clubhouse and Woodside Suites

There will be a chaffing dish selection available in both suites.

The selection will include – 

Pickle tray and poppadoms

Chicken bhuna

Sweet potato, mushroom, chickpeas and spinal dhall

Basmati rice

Garlic and coriander naan

Onion bhaji 

Please note the cost will be £17.50 for a main, £10.50 for children.

Knights Get Best of Coventry in Bonus-Point Win at Castle Park

Doncaster Knights rid themselves of any thoughts of their early season defeat to Coventry as they defeat the opposition 31-9 today at Castle Park.

Steve Boden’s men secured the bonus point win with five tries – three converted – to claim valuable points and continue their home-win record.

The first points of the match, in fact, went against the Knights. Coventry were awarded a penalty for the Knights collapsing a driving maul and stand-off Tony Fenner stepped up to elect for the posts and put the visitors on the board first.

The Knights replied minutes later with a try which proved how dogged they were willing to be to secure the win. Camped in the Coventry 22, recycling ball well, Mark Best took a pass from Alex Dolly to feed Maliq Holden. The winger hopped around before popping the ball of – mid-tackle – to Harry Davey who dove for the line. Dolly’s conversion drifted just wide, but the Knights were still in the lead.

Fenner put Coventry – who were reduced to 14 men shortly after as Jonathan Kpoku was sent to the sin bin – a hairs-breadth in front on the quarter-hour mark with a penalty for offside but the Knights were fighting back soon enough.

Just shy of half-time the home side crossed the whitewash again. Dominating the Coventry 22, Donny took an extremely quick tap from a penalty as John Kelly crashed over directly under the posts. The conversion added from Dolly allowed the Knights to secure double Coventry’s points on the board.

Boden’s men ran back into the changing rooms for half-time with a 12-6 lead but looking as if more points were most definitely on their minds.

Coventry were again the first side on the board, however, with another well-struck kick from Fenner securing their third, and last, penalty of the day. The visitors were soon hampered by ill-discipline once more as Aaron Hinkley was sent to the sin-bin.

The Knights took full advantage of the lack of man-power. They battered the Coventry line before Guido Volpi slammed over for a third Knights try. With the conversion successful from Dolly, they looked to close in on the bonus point score.

On the hour mark, Coventry were reduced to 13 men as this time it was Andy Forsyth shown the yellow card, looked to be for a cynical knock on. In this period, the Knights wrapped up their bonus point. 

Having used the full width of the field to attack, ball was fed to Jack Spittle who danced around a defender long enough to hand off to Best, with the centre completing the score. It was a tough kick for Dolly right out on the wing but a monstrous strike of the boot sent it sailing over without issue.

George Oram entered the field to make his Doncaster Knights debut and surely added extra heaving power to the rolling maul which ultimately finished the game. With George Roberts at the back with ball in hand, the Knights secured a fifth and final score, as the conversion attempt from Olver was unsuccessful.

It’s a very important set of points for Steve Boden’s men to add to their table tally as they head into the second half of a fiercely contested Championship season.

They’re next test will come when the Donny men travel to London Scottish on Boxing Day.

 

Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 Jack Spittle, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Billy McBryde, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Danny Drake, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Hudson, 8 Thom Smith (c).

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Ben Carlile, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 George Oram, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Lloyd Wheeldon, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Fraser Strachan.

Tries: Davey, Kelly, Volpi, Best, Roberts.

Conv: Dolly 3

 

Coventry XV | 15 Rob Knox; 14 Rob Stevenson, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Tom Griffiths, 11 Louis James; 10 Tony Fenner, 9 Joe Snow; 1 Toby Trinder, 2 Joe Richardson, 3 Phil Boulton (c), 4 Nile Dacres, 5 Jonathan Kpoku, 6 Adam Peters, 7 Aaron Hinkley, 8 Fred Betteridge.

Replacements | 16 Seb Blake, 17 Luc Jeannot, 18 Will Hurd, 19 Ben Meakin, 20 Tom Ball, 21 Josh Barton, 22 Tom Curtis, 23 Tom Stanton.

Pens: Fenner 3

Yellow cards: Kpoku, Hinkley, Forsyth

 

Referee: Alex Thomas

Spectators Code of Conduct Update (Dec 17)

Please see below for the update to our Spectators Code of Conduct, Dec 17. Please ensure you read all information fully before attending a Doncaster Knights game at Castle Park.

 

Spectators will be able to purchase match tickets on the day as individuals. As per Government guidance, please ensure appropriate social distancing at the ticket window.

Matchday tickets can be collected on the day from the ticket office window also.

Upon purchasing a match ticket, the supporter must abide by the Spectator Code of Conduct and be aware of the associated risks of attending a match.

Spectators with disabilities should inform staff when purchasing tickets to discuss what adjustments may be required, to be made by the club, in-keeping with COVID-19 regulations.

We request the use of face coverings especially when indoors and in all covered communal areas including on entry and in the concourse, in queues and in the toilets. It is also strongly encouraged that masks are worn outdoors due to the higher risk of transmission associated with singing or shouting.

Please no spectators to enter the field of play, players technical area, and other players areas as all classed as RED ZONES.

 

Services available/ restrictions to spectators.

RED ZONE areas are still in place and these areas are for players, match officials, and match staff only. These areas are field of play, technical area, changing rooms, team coach viewing location, match official’s rooms, and access to field of play. 

Toilets and first aid facilities will be open. The toilet block will be clearly signposted and social distancing is asked whilst queueing. The area will be monitored by stewards and cleaning protocols is in place.

East Terrace – Access through Gate 3 at the Woodside paddock as normal. Those spectators walking over to the East terrace from the DML Stand must walk at the rear of the main building and not in front of players’ access to the pitch as this area is part of the red zone and will be cordoned off. Stewards will be in position and able to provide guidance. These measures are in accordance with the RFU guidelines

The food and beverage kiosks are open as normal but please queue in a safe manner with appropriate social distancing.

DML STAND – the food and beverage kiosks are open in the concourse, but we ask if spectators could please return to your seat prior the consuming your food or drink to maintain a safer environment throughout the concourse.

The DML STAND concourse is still a walkway to facilities within the concourse and seats please maintain social distancing throughout.

Hand sanitiser stations will be positioned at entry areas, soap dispensers are available in the toilet blocks.

 

Day of the Match

Spectators should not attend the match if they or any member of their household are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • A high temperature 37.8 or higher
  • New onset of a continuous cough
  • Loss of or change in normal sense of taste or smell.
  • Spectators must not attend if they have been requested to isolate by NHS Track and Trace.

The club is using both Gates to enter and exit – Those standing on the East Terrace must use Gate 3 at the Woodside Paddock and those seated in the DML STAND use Gate 6 at the Ticket office.

Team News | Knights Named for Coventry’s Castle Park Visit

Doncaster Knights set out to maintain a home-win record as we welcome Coventry to Castle Park. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made three changes to the starting XV who stormed to victory over Nottingham at Castle Park last weekend.

In the pack, there is a sole change as Andrew Foster drops to the bench to make room for Gaz Denman in the starting line-up. Last week’s hat-trick scorer George Edgson and Conor Davidson complete the front row. John Kelly and Danny Drake partner again at lock, with Guido Volpi, Sam Hudson and Thom Smith rounding out the pack.

On the bench, having been ruled out late last weekend, George Oram could make his debut if called upon. Sale Sharks loanee Ben Carlile and George Roberts join Foster as the front row replacements. Jack Davies also gives the Knights a back row or second row substitute option.

The backline features two changes this week as Mark Best and Jack Spittle return to the side, claiming Connor Edwards and Kyle Evans’ places. Billy McBryde starts at stand-off once more, with Alex Dolly, Joe Margetts, Maliq Holden and Harry Davey completing the back-line. 

With Best having moved into the first XV, Fraser Strachan claims a spot on the bench, accompanying last weekend’s replacements Lloyd Wheeldon and Sam Olver.

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

Starting XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 Jack Spittle, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Billy McBryde, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Danny Drake, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Hudson, 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Ben Carlile, 18 Andrew Foster, 19 George Oram, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Lloyd Wheeldon, 22 Sam Olver, 23 Fraser Strachan.

Davey Says Knights Focus is on Combining Performances

Back three player Harry Davey signed for the Knights from fellow Championship side, Cornish Pirates, in the summer of 2021.

Davey had featured 10 times for the Pirates during an injury-affected time with the Penzance outfit for whom he signed from Yorkshire Carnegie in 2019.

The 22-year-old agreed to sign with Doncaster Knights having previously been coached by Head Coach Steve Boden at Carnegie where Bodes was pivotal in Davey’s switch from fly-half to back three.

“I was at Pirates for two years and I struggled a little – mainly through injuries – so I didn’t play as much as I’d have liked. Before that, I was at Yorkshire Carnegie, so I obviously worked under Bodes, and that was good. So, when I had the opportunity to come to Doncaster, I took it with both hands and was really keen to start here.”

“During my last year at Yorkshire, I was a fly-half and I don’t really know how I was progressing in that position. Then Bodes helped move me to the wing and that’s probably where I played the best rugby and so I stuck there.

“Having that 10 background, it helps with playing 15 and also on the wing a little – so I’m comfortable with both now. And, to be honest, I think I prefer being on the wing or at 15 rather than at fly-half.”

Davey knows that with such strong competition amongst the backs in the Knights’ squad, his place in the starting team is never secure. However, the young player thinks this is to his betterment rather than detriment.

“You don’t want to be given the position. The boys here are really competitive and, coming to the club, you knew straight away that it was going to be tough to try get into the team. 

“You’ve just got to keep your head down and if one week you’re not in the squad, then you’ve got to take it on the chin, continue to work hard that week to prep the boys for the game and then hopefully the week after you’re in and raring to go.

“It is tough when you’re not playing because you want to be out there but if you’re not in the squad then it’s what’s best for the team at that time – which can be tough – so when you’re in you’ve got to try to take your opportunity.”

Knights players, especially of late, can never be accused of slacking as their commitment to each training-week and game is evident to see. Davey believes this is because the squad has aspirations to continually better themselves.

“Obviously we want to go for promotion – we’re not just here to sit where we are. We just take it all game-by-game, try to win each game and hopefully get five points. So, that’s the main goal and aspiration. 

“If we went up, then that’d definitely be outstanding but, like I said, the game time is the most important thing for me and for the team right now. Going forward, if we’re playing the right rugby then we’ll be in the position to potentially win every game.”

As the squad have reached the middle of the season, they know there could be some tough challenges still to come as teams look to finish the season on a positive note. And so, the Knights are focusing on ensuring every performance is their best.

“For the squad, I think the second half of the season is going to give us more opportunity to play the rugby we want to play. Especially in the first half against Nottingham, I think we were really professional – we stuck to the game plan exactly how we wanted to play.

“So, we want to be bringing performances from different games into one. For example, maybe our defensive efforts against Jersey combined with the game management we played with against Ealing or how we stuck to the plan against Nottingham – just bringing that all into hopefully getting a full 80 minute performance of everything being right.

“Then it’ll just hopefully be about getting more wins and slowly crawling up the table.”

The next opportunity to take more points in the table will arrive when Coventry travel to Castle Park this Saturday, December 18 for a 14:30 kick-off.