Knights Rob Ealing of Losing Bonus Point in Important Away Win

Doncaster Knights, with a try in the 75th minute, ensured today’s hosts Ealing Trailfinders did not receive a losing bonus point as the Donny men will return home with a 25-17 victory.

It was a hard-worked first half from the Knights squad as they had to contend with needless penalties to head into the changing rooms in the half-time lead.

The scrum seemed a point of contention as both sets of props were penalised, almost in equal measure, for either early engagement or collapsing.

Ealing also suffered on a couple occasions from their jumper coming across the lineout, or not having their own set-piece ball go to hand.

It was on 13 minutes played that the Knights benefited from a well-taken lineout. It was a tough driving maul as scrum half Alex Dolly was told to use it. He shifted the ball out to Mark Best and the centre duly handed ball on to Sam Olver. Spotting the space, Olver put in a chance chip-kick which was well collected by Maliq Holden to run in the first score.

A lovely kick from Olver to convert took the Knights to the full seven points on the scoreboard. 

Ealing hit back after 25 minutes played. Taking the advantage in the Knights 22, a chip kick over the defence allowed David Johnston to scamper over the line with ball in hand for the hosts’ opening score.

Craig Willis was lucky with his conversion which rebounded off the left upright to fall through the posts for the extra two points.

Just on the half hour mark, as Olver had just kicked a penalty, Ealing were reduced to 14 men as number eight, Rayn Smid, was sent to the sin bin. The Knights had been looking to break down the wing and as Holden put in a pass to Best, the Trailfinders man deliberately batted the ball down.

Seconds before the whistle for half time, the Knights added to their score. Dolly gave a quick pass to McBryde from the breakdown, allowing the Welshman to direct a long pass Holden’s way – the winger then finished for his second score of the day.

With Olver’s conversion, the Knights ran into the changing rooms 17-7 to the good.

Ealing were able to capitalise on a Knights yellow card early into the second half as Kyle Evans was sent from the field for 10 minutes for an offence not wholly dissimilar to Smid’s.

Luke Daniels took ball out on the wing and, with the Knights defence stretched, he was able to crash over for the second half’s first points. However, with Willis’ conversion attempt bouncing off the uprights, it was just the five points.

The Knights lengthened their lead with another Olver penalty before Ealing re-closed the gap with just six minutes to go. The hosts’ moved the ball fast across the field from a lineout in the Knights 22 and – despite a crushing tackle which looked to have taken him into touch – Smid was announced a try scorer. 

With the conversion missed once more, the Knights had a lot of work to do to try to add to their score and rob Ealing of a losing bonus point.

And they did just that a minute later. In almost a complete replica of his score in the home leg of this fixture back in 2021, McBryde ran an intercepted pass the length of the field to score a pivotal try for the Knights. Unfortunately, Olver was unable to convert.

It was tense times from the restart as Ealing bullied their way into the Knights 22. However, the Donny men’s defence held strong and brought about a breakdown penalty. After some checks, it was deemed that was last play and – to the absolute delight of the travelling fans, coaches and players – the final whistle was blown to confirm the Knights as winners.

 

Ealing Trailfinders XV | 15 David Johnston; 14 Luke Daniels, 13 Max Bodilly, 12 Pat Howard, 11 Angus Kernohan; 10 Craig Willis, 9 Craig Hampson; 1 Will Davis, 2 Jan-Henning Campher, 3 Lewis Thiede, 4 Bobby De Wee, 5 James Cannon, 6 Simon Linsell, 7 Max Northcote-Green, 8 Rayn Smid.

Replacements | 16 Shaun Malton, 17 Kyle Whyte, 18 George Davis, 19 Gary Porter, 20 Barney Maddison, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Cian Kelleher, 23 Len Massyn.

Tries: Johnston, Daniels, Smid.

Conv: Willis.

Yellow card: Smid.

 

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Joe Green; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 John Kelly, 5 Jack Davies, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Liam Usher, 18 Charlie Connolly, 19 Josh Peters, 20 Ben Murphy, 21 Alex Dolly, 22 Fraser Strachan, 23 Harry Davey.

Pens: Olver 2.

Tries: Holden 2, McBryde.

Conv: Olver 2.

Yellow card: Evans.

 

Referee: Hamish Smales.

Team News | Knights Named for Top of the Table Clash at Ealing

Doncaster Knights prepare to travel to the Trailfinders Sports Ground to battle Ealing Trailfinders this Saturday, Feb 26. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made three changes to the starting XV who won at the death last weekend at Castle Park against Hartpury.

The pack features two changes. The front row remains from last week with Conor Davidson, George Edgson and Andrew Foster all starting. The second row will combine John Kelly and Ben Murphy. And the back row welcomes Sam Hudson’s return to the starting line-up, alongside captain Sam Graham and Thom Smith.

In the backs, the lone change sees Alex Dolly regain his starting berth to partner Sam Olver at fly-half. Kyle Evans and Maliq Holden are on the wings, Billy McBryde at full-back and the centres are once more Mark Best and Joe Margetts.

On the bench, Boden has reverted back to a 6-2 split. George Roberts, Liam Usher and Charlie Connolly are the front row replacement options. Josh Peters, Jack Davies and Guido Volpi round out the pack replacements.

And for the backline, cover is provided by Joe Green and Connor Edwards.

Kick off is at 15:00 at the Trailfinders Sports Ground and live updates will be available on our Twitter throughout the match.

 

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 John Kelly, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Liam Usher, 18 Charlie Connolly, 19 Josh Peters, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Joe Green, 22 Connor Edwards, 23 Guido Volpi.

Knights Secure Home Win With Olver Penalty at the Death

Doncaster Knights secured another win in a competitive Championship as they defeated Hartpury 11-10 at a muddy and rain-soaked Castle Park.

We believe it would be a fair assessment to deem the game ‘a bit of a slog’. Of course, conditions were far from appealing as Castle Park had been battered by rain downpours in the hours prior to kick-off.

Both sides seemed to stumble to get their attack moving as possession was passed back and forth about as much as the ball was. The Knights were the first on the board, however, as their backs combined for a try.

With the first quarter of the match gone, the Knights were in the Hartpury 22 having benefited from a beast of a driving maul shove. Having received ball out the back of the set, Sam Olver delayed just long enough the draw in the defenders before chipping a kick to Kyle Evans. 

The winger collected the ball over the try line and a simple bend of the knees allowed him to dot the ball down. It was never going to be an easy kick for Olver, but the stand-off gave it a try though it unfortunately failed to split the posts, so the hosts had to settle for the five points.

Hartpury got themselves on the board shortly after the half-hour mark as the Knights were penalised for not releasing at the breakdown. James Williams stepped up and cleanly split the uprights to secure the visitors three points.

The half culminated with a game of kick-tennis, though neither side seemed to be able to get on the front foot, so with the clock in the red, Hartpury put the ball into touch to send some tired and muddy bodies into the changing rooms.

Just short of an hour played, the Knights were awarded a penalty for playing the ball on the floor. Olver stepped up and cleanly split the uprights to widen the gap on the scoreboard.

Tense times arrived for Donny with 10 minutes left to play as Hartpury went ahead in the scores. Olver chipped a kick over the defence but the ball fell into Hartpury hands and with a grubber kick through, Ben Foley was able to just out-pace Billy McBryde to get a hand to the ball over the line. 

With Williams’ conversion secure, the Knights were two points behind with nine minutes left of the fixture to close the gap.

The scrappiness of the fixture continued though – not aiding the heart-rates of Knights fans by any means. However, if there is one thing which has become evident the longer this season has gone on, it is to never count out the gritty determination of this Knights side.

On the last minute, the ref raised his arm to indicate a penalty advantage to the home side for tackler not rolling away at the breakdown. When the decision needed to be made – corner or posts – Olver did not shy away from deeming the posts the Knights’ best option.

And so, with the clock in the red and the Castle Park faithful collectively holding their breath, the stand-off cooly stepped up and sent the ball soaring through the posts for the win at the death.

Whilst a win is a win, and every win is important in this ultra competitive Championship season, the Knights will know they need to improve before they travel to Ealing Trailfinders next weekend.

 

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Joe Green; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 John Kelly, 5 Jack Davies, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Liam Usher, 18 Charlie Connolly, 19 Josh Peters, 20 Ben Murphy, 21 Alex Dolly, 22 Fraser Strachan, 23 Harry Davey.

Pens: Olver 2.

Tries: Evans.

 

Hartpury XV | 15 Tommy Mathews; 14 Ben Foley, 13 Charlie Foley, 12 Jack Tovey, 11 Sam Smith; 10 James Williams, 9 Oscar Lennon; 1 Lewis Holsey, 2 Ethan Hunt, 3 Shaun Knight, 4 Dale Lemon, 5 Cameron Jordan, 6 Josh Gray, 7 Xavier Hastings, 8 Mitch Eadie.

Replacements | 16 Will Capon, 17 Ben Murphy, 18 Conran Gleeson, 19 James Dun, 20 Aled Ward, 21 Oli Robinson, 22 Ollie Wynn, 23 Mat McNab.

Pens: Williams.

Tries: B Foley.

Conv: Williams.

Yellow card: Shaun Knight.

 

Referee: Joe James.

Eco2Loco: Official Match Sponsors of Knights v Hartpury

This week we are delighted to announce our partners ECO2LOCO are the official match sponsors of Doncaster Knights v Hartpury.

ECO2LOCO provide a ‘cleaner and greener’ transport alternative to HGVs; delivering a comprehensive port-to-door logistics service connecting the UK to Europe, whilst cutting emissions and increasing efficiency.

We are exceptionally excited to have had ECO2LOCO involved this season, supporting our on-field success. We look forward to continuing to grow our relationship for many years to come.

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

Doncaster Knights prepare to welcome Hartpury RFC to Castle Park this Saturday, Feb 19. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made six changes to the starting XV who won in the last minute down at the Athletic Ground against Richmond last weekend.

The pack features three changes. In the front row, George Edgson comes in to start with Conor Davidson and Andrew Foster. A new look second row for this week sees John Kelly pack down with Jack Davies. The back row, meanwhile, stays the same with Guido Volpi, Sam Graham and Thom Smith.

In the backs, the changes begin with Joe Green making his first start of the season as he joins Sam Olver in the half-back pairing. Kyle Evans and Maliq Holden remain on the wings as does Billy McBryde at full-back. And the centre partnership this weekend will be formed by Mark Best and Joe Margetts.

On the bench, Boden has gone for a traditional 5-3 split. George Roberts, Liam Usher and Charlie Connolly are the front row replacement options. For second and back row cover, Josh Peters or Ben Murphy could be called upon.

And for the backline options, Alex Dolly, Fraser Strachan and Harry Davey provide cover.

Kick off is at 14:30 at Castle Park and live updates will be available on our Twitter throughout the match.

 

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Mark Best, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Joe Green; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Edgson, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 John Kelly, 5 Jack Davies, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Liam Usher, 18 Charlie Connolly, 19 Josh Peters, 20 Ben Murphy, 21 Alex Dolly, 22 Fraser Strachan, 23 Harry Davey.

Past Players’ Lunch 2022

We are delighted to announce that, after an unavoidable three-year break, we are able to host the Past Players’ Lunch this year.

On March 12, when Doncaster Knights entertain old rivals Cornish Pirates, this special opportunity to get together and catch up with old friends will take place.

Sadly, during the extended break, many have lost friends and due to restrictions were unable to attend funerals, so it will be a good chance to remember them at the lunch.

If you have been involved with the club at any level or in any way, please come along and join us for another great day.

The cost of the hearty lunch will be £16 (which does not include a match ticket).

Please meet at 12 noon for a 12:30pm start.

To book, please contact our reception on 01302 831388.

Please note: if you wish to sit with a particular group, please mention this when you book.

2022 Under-20 Six Nations: England to Play Wales at Castle Park

England’s 2022 Under-20 Six Nations home fixture against Wales will be played at Castle Park. 

In their third-round match, Alan Dickens’ 2021 Grand Slam winning side host Wales at Castle Park, Doncaster, on Friday 25 February, KO 19:00 GMT.

Tickets for the fixture are on sale and can be purchased here: https://www.drfc.co.uk/tickets/

In their opener, England travelled to The DAM Health Stadium in Edinburgh, where they faced Scotland before taking on Italy at Stadio Comunale di Monigo in Treviso, in the second round).

In their fourth-round match, the team play Ireland at Saracens’ StoneX Stadium (Saturday 12 March at 19:15 GMT). England’s final game of the tournament sees them travel to France to take on Les Bleuets in a ‘Super Sunday’, at Stade Aime Giral, in Perpignan, (Sunday 20 March, KO 20:00 GMT).

All matches will be available on BBC iPlayer.

England U20s Head Coach, Alan Dickens said: “We’re pleased to be able to have our home games in two fantastic locations and know we’ll get incredible support from the venues and their regular rugby fans.

“Castle Park is an excellent facility and has hosted England Women with great success and no doubt they’ll do the same with the U20s.

“We’re really pleased the Championship is back to its usual playing window in February and March, in line with the men’s games.

“Many of the lads missed opportunities at U18 level, due to the pandemic, so for some of them this will be their first international experience. I’m sure they’ll enjoy every moment.

“Six Nations did a great job, in really challenging circumstances, to deliver the 2021 championship and we’re looking forward to playing in next year’s tournament.”

Doncaster Knights President Steve Lloyd speaking about the fixture said: “I am delighted that an England U20s game will be played here at Castle Park.

“It is a great honour to host the age-grade side for their game against Wales in the 2022 U20 Six Nations. This will be a great event, not just for our club, but for the town and local area. It is an acknowledgement of the great facilities we have at Castle Park, and we are thrilled to be able to help promote the U20s.”

 

England U20s 2022 Six Nations fixtures

Friday 4 February – Scotland v England – KO 8pm – DAM Health Stadium, Edinburgh

Friday 11 February – Italy v England – KO 7pm – Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Treviso

Friday 25 February – England v Wales – KO 7pm – Castle Park, Doncaster

Saturday 12 March – England v Ireland – KO 7.15pm – StoneX Stadium, London

Sunday 20 March – France v England – KO 8pm – Stade Aime Giral, Perpignan

Castle Park to Host South Yorkshire Old Blacks Game

We are delighted that Castle Park will host the South Yorkshire Old Blacks v RAF Vultures game tomorrow, February 16.

The Wednesday evening game will take place on Pitch 2 and will kick-off at 7:30pm.

In advance of the match, food and drink will be available as the bar in the Arms Park Suite will be open from 5:30pm onwards. 

There is no ticket fee, so it will be free entry for all.

Knights Hold Strong for Win At The Death

Doncaster Knights trailed Richmond for most of the match at the Athletic Ground but gritty determination saw them secure the win with a try in the 82nd minute.

Steve Boden won’t see it as a perfect performance by any means but he will be proud of his side’s commitment to not see themselves as defeated.

It was an error-affected first half for the travelling side as the Knights scored two tries to Richmond’s three. The Donny men looked to have underestimated how physical they would need to be to keep the hosts at bay.

And so, Richmond were the first on the scoreboard for the afternoon. Awarded a penalty for not releasing on the cusp of the Knights 22, directly in the middle of the field, the big boot of James Kane was confident enough to secure the three points.

A game of kick tennis also nearly ended badly as Kane was able to sneak a grubber kick through which forced Maliq Holden to tear back in order to dot the ball down before the centre.

After 11 minutes, Richmond took the first try of the game – their lineout going to hand to produce a dominant driving maul which gave hooker James Hadfield the perfect platform to crash over. With a conversion from Kane, the hosts were 10-0 in the lead.

The Knights changed this on the 20 minute mark. Having ran in to the driving maul, Kyle Evans tore off the back with ball in hand to begin the short phases. A fierce carry from Connor Edwards brought the Knights within inches of the line. This gave Dolly the perfect opportunity to loop in a long pass to Holden on the wing. 

Having stepped the remaining defender, the Doncaster man dotted down out wide for the Knights’ opening score. A tough kick from the touchline robbed Sam Olver of the chance to convert however.

Minutes later, Richmond were reduced to 14 men as winger Jake Caddy was sent to the sin bin after receiving a yellow card for a no-arms tackle upon the restart.

Donny were back adding to the points again – this time through a well-deserved score from Edwards. It all started when Holden got a kick to a dropped Richmond ball, chasing it down and getting the lucky bounce. He then flicked the ball up to Edwards on the supporting line and the centre burst his way across the whitewash, mid-tackle.

It was a more comfortable kicking position for Olver who was able to convert and nudge the Knights into the lead.

Richmond took things back under control just before half time though, scoring twice in the final 10 minutes. A carbon copy of their first try had Hadfield once again crashing to the floor from the back of a driving maul.

Then, Kane benefited from some nice interchanging play in the wide channels as he ran the ball in by the posts and converted his own score – allowing Richmond to run into half time with a 22-12 lead.

The Knights emerged for the second half with some tough work to do to climb their way back into contention for the win. Reinforcements were brought on relatively early, but Richmond were able to get themselves further ahead before the Knights comeback truly began.

Caddy ran in Richmond’s final try of the day having received ball to the wing quickly off the back of a strong scrum. The conversion attempt was wide and the Knights started to close down on Richmond’s 27-12 lead.

The Knights crashed over from a driving maul just minutes after the hour mark, and we believe it may have been Charlie Connolly at the bottom of the messy pile who was the try scorer. With a conversion from Olver the Knights were eight points adrift.

Less than five minutes later, the Donny Welshmen combined – McBryde timed a perfectly weighted pass out wide to Evans who, having stepped two defenders, cantered in for the five points. Olver’s conversion meant it was a tense one-point game.

On 76 minutes, Kane likely believed he had kept his side safe as he kicked a penalty through the posts when a Donny player was called as going to ground at the breakdown.

This Knights side doesn’t seem to be one to give up easily though, so they let 80 minutes come and go as they continued to play, looking for any sliver of daylight to run into and through the Richmond defensive line.

And it’s just as well they did. With 82 minutes played, Thom Smith had a blinder as he took charge of storming the ball down the wing and, with a dummy offload to Connolly out wide of him, ran in the score to the elation of his teammates and coaches alike.

Putting the sealer on things, Olver stepped up to take the conversion and, as it sailed through the posts, the Knights were declared the 30-33 winners.

 

Richmond XV | 15 Will Kaye; 14 Owain James, 13 James Kane, 12 Ronnie McLean (c), 11 Jake Caddy; 10 Ted Landray, 9 Jack Stafford; 1 Jonny Harris, 2 James Kadfield, 3 Ntinga Mpiko, 4 Freddie Hosking, 5 Will Carrick Smith, 6 Ethan Benson, 7 Jared Cardew, 8 Huw Worthington.

Replacements | 16 Mike Perks, 17 Luke Spring, 18 Jimmy Litchfield, 19 Myles Scott, 20 Sam Collingridge, 21 Mark Bright, 22 Hamish Graham, 23 Callum Watson.

Pens: Kane 2.

Tries: Hadfield 2, Kane, Caddy.

Conv: Kane 2.

 

Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Connor Edwards, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Ben Murphy, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Edgson, 17 Liam Usher, 18 Charlie Connolly, 19 Jack Davies, 20 John Kelly, 21 Joe Green, 22 Mark Best, 23 George Oram.

Tries: Holden, Edwards, Connolly, Evans, Smith.

Conv: Olver 4.

 

Referee: Charlie Gayther.

Team News | Knights Named for Visit to the Athletic Ground

Doncaster Knights look to claim a valuable away win as we travel to face Richmond at the Athletic Ground this Saturday, Feb 12. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made three changes to the starting XV who won against Bedford Blues at Castle Park last weekend.

The forward pack remains intact. The front row will be Conor Davidson, George Roberts and Andrew Foster. Second row will feature Ben Murphy and Josh Peters. And the back row will be formed of Guido Volpi, Sam Graham and Thom Smith.

In the backs, the changes begin with Sam Olver rejoining Alex Dolly in the half-back pairing. Kyle Evans and Maliq Holden’s places are secure on the wings but Billy McBryde moves to full-back. And to complete the starting line-up, Connor Edwards moves to outside centre to make space for Fraser Strachan in the 12 shirt.

On the bench, George Edgson, Liam Usher and Charlie Connolly form the replacement front row. Jack Davies and George Oram join the returning John Kelly as the second and back row replacements.

For the two backline options, Boden has gone with Joe Green and Mark Best.

Kick off is at 15:00 at the Athletic Ground and live updates will be available on our Twitter throughout the match.

 

Starting XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Connor Edwards, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Alex Dolly; 1 Conor Davidson, 2 George Roberts, 3 Andrew Foster, 4 Ben Murphy, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Guido Volpi, 7 Sam Graham (c), 8 Thom Smith.

Replacements | 16 George Edgson, 17 Liam Usher, 18 Charlie Connolly, 19 Jack Davies, 20 John Kelly, 21 Joe Green, 22 Mark Best, 23 George Oram.