Error-Effected Knights Suffer Defeat at Castle Park

It was a tough day at Castle Park for Doncaster Knights as slow phases and handling errors thwarted their attempts to come out on top of Coventry in the first leg of the Championship Cup quarter finals.

Each time the Knights looked to have gotten a foothold in the game, either Coventry would strike or an infringement from the Donny men would hamper their good efforts.

Despite being a key aspect of their game for most of the season, the lineout proved a point of contention for the Knights today as they struggled to receive their own ball or contest Coventry’s.

The visitors were the first on the board after 11 minutes. They got the better shove from the set piece which gave Jordan Poole the perfect chance to hurl himself over the line for the opening score. With a conversion from Tony Fenner, the were seven points to the better.

Green’s usual pace with ball provision was missed today, and cost the scrum half a big blow as Ryan Burrows heard the referee’s call for the ball being out the ruck and flew out of the line to hit the young Knights scrum half and produce a Coventry penalty.

It was an unforeseeable happening, but Knights also took the blow of losing both props after just 15 minutes played. Gaz Denman was the first to leave the field after being cut open in the head, while Joe Wrafter followed seconds later for a HIA that he would ultimately fail.

Ten minutes on from their first score, Coventry were crossing the line again. With a quick camp on the Doncaster line, Fred Betteridge saw the chance of a score and took it. With Fenner’s conversion, Coventry led the way 0-14.

Guido Volpi made a confident break in the midfield on the back of a short pass from Sam Olver. However, he chose to take the contact option rather than to pass and his pop pass was mishandled, which gave the penalty the way of Coventry.

With four minutes left of the first 40, the Knights got themselves some points. With forwards and backs combining in the phases, it was a closely timed short pass from Harry Davey to Maliq Holden on the wing that sent the former dancing down the edge for a try in the corner.

It was a tough conversion for Olver whose attempt from the tee was just shy of the uprights.

In the death of the half, however, Coventry re-opened the gap in points. Green’s chip kick was collected by opposition hands and the visitors broke down the wing. Evading a number of Donny tackle attempts, Andy Forsyth found himself one-to-one with Olver on the line and, in a 50-50 chance, the Knights man turned left as Forsyth went right for the score.

Fenner’s conversion ended the half with Coventry running into the changing rooms leaving the Knights with a lot of work to do to recover from a 5-21 scoreline.

On the 50 minute mark, the Knights started to close the gap. Big pressure from an on-rushing Knights line forced Coventry into a quick kick. Olver collected a duly put one into the sky for Holden to storm down. Having taken the bounce of the ball, the winger stepped a defender to run the ball over the line mid-tackle.

A successful conversion from Olver took the standings to 12-21 with a half hour left on the clock.

Ten minutes later, Olver opted for the chance of the posts rather than another attempt at a lineout in the corner and was able to close the gap by an additional three points.

Those points were somewhat in vain, however, as just minutes later, Coventry pulled ahead again. Find their driving maul halted, the visitors went to the short phases and repeatedly hit the Doncaster line. Seeing a shred of daylight in the Knights line, Betteridge sniped through it for the score, which Fenner converted. 

The Knights pulled back within reach with eight minutes left. Some speedy ball and multiple offside calls against Coventry gave them the opportunity to be threatening the opposition line through the forwards. It was tough work, but it paid off as the Donny men crashed over.

It looked to be Sam Graham at the bottom of the pile – marking his first try of the season in possibly the last home match of the year – and Olver shortly stepped up to the tee, having no trouble in converting the score.

There was no doubting that the Knights wanted another score, that was more than evident to see but perhaps their adrenaline got the better of them. With a minute left, and after some hard-hitting work to attempt to give themselves good position, a ball over the head to Best was the only asking Thom Emery needed. 

The Coventry man ran the length of the half, Holden in pursuit, but the replacement reached the line before the Doncaster winger and, with Fenner’s conversion taken with the clock in the red, Coventry sealed their 22-35 victory.


Knights XV | 15 Billy McBryde; 14 Harry Davey, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Joe Green; 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 Will Holling, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Thom Smith (c), 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Conor Davidson, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Josh Peters, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Alex Dolly, 22 Mark Best, 23 Sam Graham.

Pens: Olver

Tries: Holden (x2), Graham

Conv: Olver (x2)


Coventry XV | 15 Louis Brown; 14 Louis James, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Will Owen, 11 James Martin; 10 Tony Fenner, 9 Dan Babos; 1 Toby Trinder, 2 Jordan Poole, 3 Matt Johnson, 4 Adam Peters, 5 James Tyas, 6 Fred Betteridge, 7 Josh Bainbridge, 8 Ryan Burrows.

Replacements | 16 Suva Ma’asi, 17 Luc Jeannot, 18 Jake Bridges, 19 Rhys Thomas, 20 Thom Ball, 21 Finlay Ogden, 22 Rob Stevenson, 23 Thom Emery.

Tries: Poole, Betteridge (x2), Forsyth, Emery

Conv: Fenner (x5)


Referee: Adam Wookey.

Team News | Knights Named for Cup QF at Castle Park

Doncaster Knights will this Saturday, April 30, face Coventry at Castle Park in the first leg of the Championship Cup quarter final. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made 5 changes to the starting XV who secured an impressive 32-20 victory over Pirates in Penzance last weekend.

In the pack, the front row of Joe Wrafter, Will Holling and Gaz Denman remains intact. In the second row, Ben Murphy comes in to partner John Kelly. Meanwhile the back row remains as-was with Thom Smith captaining the side at openside flanker, Sam Hudson on the blindside and Guido Volpi at eight.

In the half-back pairing, Joe Green is this week partnered by Sam Olver at 10. Maliq Holden remains at 11 while Harry Davey moves to 14 to accommodate Billy McBryde at full back. The centre pairing hosts one change as this week Fraser Strachan will combine with Joe Margetts.

There are a couple of changes on the bench. George Roberts, Conor Davidson and Henry Paul form the replacement front row. Josh Peters, Jack Davies and Sam Graham then cover the second and back row. 

For the backs, the replacements are Alex Dolly and Mark Best.

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 Harry Davey, 13 Joe Margetts, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Sam Olver, 9 Joe Green; 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 Will Holling, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Ben Murphy, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Thom Smith (c), 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 George Roberts, 17 Conor Davidson, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Josh Peters, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Alex Dolly, 22 Mark Best, 23 Sam Graham.

Knights v Coventry (CUP) – Ticket Offers

This Saturday, April 30, Doncaster Knights will welcome Coventry to Castle Park for the first leg of the Championship Cup Quarter Finals.

Kick-off will be at 2:30pm and we are delighted to offer a ticket discount to any Students or NHS staff members.

With valid proof of ID, when purchasing a ticket on match day at Castle Park, both categories will be eligible for a £10 match ticket.

PLEASE NOTE: All season tickets will remain valid for this game with no additional charge – you will still be required to show your season ticket at the gate for entry.

Knights v Coventry Lunch at Castle Park

This Saturday, April 30, Doncaster Knights will welcome Coventry to Castle Park for the first leg of the Championship Cup Quarter Finals.

Kick-off will be at 2:30pm and we are delighted to be offering a £14 lunch in our Woodside Suite (food served 1-2pm).

To book your place, please contact our reception on 01302 831388.

The menu will be:

  • Chicken Rogan Josh
  • Sweet potato, vegetable and chickpea balti basmati rice
  • Garlic and coriander naan
  • A glass of red or white wine, or a pint of beer

Please note: match day tickets must be purchased seperately here.

SEASON TICKET HOLDERS: All season tickets will remain valid for this game with no additional charge – you will still be required to show your season ticket at the gate for entry.

Danny Drake to Join North Harbour Rugby

We can announce that lock Danny Drake will leave Doncaster Knights to join NPC side, North Harbour, in New Zealand at the end of the 2021/22 season.

The 27-year-old second row originally signed for the Knights from Welsh URC side Scarlets in August 2021.

Featuring in the Knights second row in 15 out of 20 league games this season, Danny has been a pillar of power in the boiler room this season and a safe pair of hands in the carry.

Danny has thoroughly enjoyed his time with the Knights and believes it has been an important experience in his rugby career.

“I’ve loved my time at Doncaster. Before joining, I was promised a motivated and hungry group of players and staff – and those promises were definitely fulfilled.

“I think what this group has achieved this year is a testament to the attitude and work ethic of players, coaches, and the medical team, which is why we were able to turn a few heads with our performances and finish the season with the best win/loss record.

“The coaches have been great in facilitating leadership opportunities, instilling rugby understanding and confidence in a young group of players.

“This team is such a tight-knit group on and off the field, they work so hard not only to better themselves but, more so, for each other and the mate next to them.

“I will miss Doncaster as a club – it has been one of the biggest highlights from my time in the UK, but I can say with confidence that the team is in great hands and in a good place for next season.

“Thank you to all those involved with my time at Doncaster – I massively appreciate what everyone at the club has done for myself and my partner.”

Whilst his move back to New Zealand is imminent, Danny will remain committed to Doncaster Knights and helping ensure his teammates focus on the Championship Cup.

Knights Claim Important Championship Cup Win in Penzance

It was a tough battle in Penzance this afternoon as the Knights dug deep to out-perform the hosts, Cornish Pirates, for an important win in the Championship Cup.

It would be fair to say the Pirates dominated the opening few minutes on home soil. However, they had their own frustration as handling errors hampered their attack at times – including a knocked-on ball from Matt Bolwell when he had completed the hard work of breaking the line.

They were on the board first regardless. Callum Sirker collected a ball, darting to the line before being torn down just short by the backtracking Knights defence. They kept momentum on the Knights line, however, and after a quick check, the ref’s hand went in the air to signify Alfie Petch was the day’s first scorer.

Harry Bazalgette confidently secured the extras and it was the hosts’ turn to switch to defensive mode as the Knights looked to charge down the field. Good competition for the restart ball from Sam Hudson and John Kelly set them on the right path as a great line from Harry Davey certainly didn’t hamper efforts.

A slight falter allowed Pirates to add a penalty to their score but the Knights knuckled down to secure their first points minutes later.

Hudson perfectly executed a support line for Kelly. The charging second row drew in the closest defender before handing off to his back row teammate to run in the score under the posts. An easy kick for Billy McBryde secured the full contingent of points for the Knights.

Knights didn’t let-up as half time quickly approached. Fraser Strachan, Davey, Maliq Holden and Kyle Evans looked for quick interplay off a scrum but a last pass not going to hand gave Pirates a lineout. The set-piece was unclean from the hosts and Will Holling was able to dive on the ball.

Hudson, spotting a gap straight ahead, scooped up the ball and charged through with the line dead-set in his sights for his, and the Knights’, second score of the day. An unsuccessful conversion attempt from McBryde limited the points, but the Knights were still a shy two points ahead.

On the last minute of the half, the hosts secured the half time lead as a return kick from Ruaridh Dawson was collected by AJ Cant who, having run down the line, gave the offload to Sirker to secure the points. With an unsuccessful conversion attempt from Bazalgette, it was a narrow three point lead at the half.

Re-emerging for the second half, the game was up for the taking by either team. Eight minutes after the restart, a Knights forwards was scoring again. With a lineout deep into the Pirates 22, Holling timed his tear off the driving maul perfectly, making the short run to crash over the whitewash. A successful conversion from McBryde gave the Knights a short four point lead.

Shortly after the hour mark, the Knights added to their tally. A theme of the day – slick connection between the backs – produced for the Knights as Strachan made the initial break before flicking the ball out to his winger Holden to run in the score. Freshly on the field, it was an unfortunate conversion miss from Sam Olver.

Five minutes later, the Knights were charging forth again. Cant looked to have thought he had more time than he did for a clearance kick as Mark Best charged him down. The Donny man’s timing was the better of the two as he prevented the kick and gathered the ball for an easy run-in. Unfortunately, it was another ball pulled wide of the uprights in Olver’s conversion attempt.

With the ten minute warning having passed, the Pirates were attacking deep in the Knights 22, driving their maul towards the line. It looked to be Kessell that knocked on while taking the ball off the back but the referee called an end to the play. Having consulted his linesman, Ben Murphy was shown a yellow card which looked to be for coming through the maul.

Using their man advantage, the Pirates added to their score as a chance flick pass in the wide channels was collected by replacement Rory Parata for the run-in. A missed conversion could only bring the hosts within nine points, however.

To put the sealant on things, Olver indicated the posts for a penalty in the Pirates 22 and secured the three points to see the game culminate with the Knights claiming an important 20-32 away win.

In a tough match, there were stand out performances from a number of Knights players and the game showed a Donny team that has no plans of letting up in their commitment to performances in this Cup campaign.


Pirates XV | 15 AJ Cant; 14 Robin Wedlake, 13 Tommy Wyatt, 12 Shae Tucker, 11 Callum Sirker; 10 Harry Bazalgette, 9 Ruaridh Dawson; 1 Marlen Walker, 2 Thom Channon, 3 Alfie Petch, 4 Cory Teague, 5 Danny Cutmore, 6 Matt Bolwell, 7 Will Gibson, 8 Tom Duncan (c).

Replacements | 16 Syd Blackmore, 17 Garyn Phillips, 18 Hayden King, 19 Steele Barker, 20 Josh Caulfield, 21 Tom Kessell, 22 Arwell Robson, 23 Rory Parata.

Pens: Bazalgette

Tries: Petch, Sirker, Parata

Conv: Bazalgette


Knights XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Connor Edwards, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Billy McBryde, 9 Joe Green; 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 Will Holling, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Thom Smith (c), 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 George Edgson, 17 Conor Davidson, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Lloyd Wheeldon, 22 Mark Best, 23 Sam Olver.

Pens: Olver

Tries: Hudson (x2), Holling, Holden, Best

Conv: McBryde (x2)

Yellow card: Ben Murphy


Referee: Dan Jones.

Doncaster Knights Colts in Yorkshire Shield Final

Doncaster Knights Colts will travel to Beaver Park this Sunday, April 24, to face Moortown in the Yorkshire Shield Final (K0 12.25).

This is an end of an era for the starting XV as this will be their penultimate U18 game together before they all depart for their potential future Open Age debuts and for others, exciting new careers or university adventures.

Getting to this final is testament to their strength of character and individual ability to adapt and overcome the many challenges they have faced as a team in the last few years. Despite continual time apart there is an invisible cord that seems to have held them all together and when asked, they have delivered and made us proud.

Joining them as reserves are some of our amazing U17s who will be taking the baton next year.

We wish you all every success.


Colts Starting XV: 15 Matthew Gould; 14 Bailey Tanner, 13 Marcellin Camillo, 12 Ivan Simpson, 11 Adam Harding; 10 Jerry Bulivou,  9 George Hill (C); 1 Taylor Davies, 2 Josh Briggs, 3 Jake Odams, 4 Liam Powell, 5 Kieran Kingswood, 6 John McCann, 7 Archie Upton, 8 Anthony Newall.

Replacements: 16 Zak De’ath, 17 Mason Clark, 18 Finn Wilson, 19 Josh Cole, 20 Henry White, 21 Alex Challenor, 22 Max Brown, 23 Enzo Van Zyl.

Team News | Knights Named for Cup Trip to Penzance

Doncaster Knights will travel to Penzance to face Cornish Pirates this Saturday, April 23 for the second leg of the Championship Cup first round. 

Head Coach Steve Boden has made 10 changes to the starting XV who suffered a two-point 24-26 loss to Pirates on April 9 at Castle Park.

In the pack, Will Holling and Gaz Denman come in to the starting line-up to join Joe Wrafter in the front row. It’s a different second row as John Kelly and Josh Peters claim the four and five shirts. And, in the back row, Thom Smith takes on the captaincy at openside flanker as Sam Hudson plays the blindside and Guido Volpi moves to eight.

At half-back, Joe Green returns to partner Billy McBryde at 10. Maliq Holden returns to the side to claim one wing with Kyle Evans on the other. The centre partnership of Fraser Strachan and Connor Edwards remains intact with Harry Davey moved to full-back.

There are further changes on the bench. The replacement front row is formed by George Edgson, Conor Davidson  and Henry Paul. Ben Murphy and Jack Davies provide options for the second and back row. 

And, for the backs, the three replacements named are Lloyd Wheeldon, Mark Best and Sam Olver.

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

There is also a live-stream available for this game at a cost of £7 – more info HERE.


Starting XV | 15 Harry Davey; 14 Kyle Evans, 13 Connor Edwards, 12 Fraser Strachan, 11 Maliq Holden; 10 Billy McBryde, 9 Joe Green; 1 Joe Wrafter, 2 Will Holling, 3 Gaz Denman, 4 John Kelly, 5 Josh Peters, 6 Sam Hudson, 7 Thom Smith (c), 8 Guido Volpi.

Replacements | 16 George Edgson, 17 Conor Davidson, 18 Henry Paul, 19 Ben Murphy, 20 Jack Davies, 21 Lloyd Wheeldon, 22 Mark Best, 23 Sam Olver.

RFU Autumn Internationals 2022

Early Applications from Club Members will be welcome from Monday 25th April 2022 for tickets to England’s Autumn International games at Twickenham.

The Club has been allocated a limited number of tickets for each of the 2022 Autumn International games at Twickenham, so availability is strictly limited, and we expect demand to be high.

Doncaster RFC members can apply for a maximum of two tickets per game for the New Zealand and South Africa fixtures and a maximum of four tickets for the Argentina and Japan games.

Tickets will be available for the following games:

England vs Argentina – Sunday 6 November 2022 – K0 TBC

England vs Japan – Saturday 12 November 2022 – K0 TBC

England vs New Zealand – Saturday 19 November 2022 – K0 TBC

England vs South Africa – Sunday 26 November 2022 – K0 TBC

Ticket prices will vary between games and all applications will include a £6 non-refundable administrative fee.

Applications can be made by completing the following online form HERE.

Please note the Knights club contact for international tickets is Nikki Davies – please direct any enquiries to


Mobile Ticketing – All tickets will be issued digitally via the Twickenham App. Club rules pertaining to ticket applications must be adhered to and successful applicants will be notified by return email week beginning 9 May. We will also advise if your application has unfortunately been unsuccessful.


General Rules & Conditions

The following information applies to England international games considered as ‘Home Games’ which means games to be played at Twickenham:

  • Ticket applications will only be considered from Season ticket holders held for a minimum of two years
  • Ticket applications will be limited to two per game unless stated otherwise
  • All ticket applications must be made by the online form in accordance with instructions published on the Club website for the specific series of games
  • Ticket applications will be considered on a first come first served basis
  • All tickets purchased will be at face value plus a £6 administration fee per ticket (the administration fee will be kept by the Club)
  • Tickets are usually issued to the Club approximately two weeks prior to each game
  • Tickets that are unwanted for whatever reason must not be resold under any circumstances (any such tickets must be returned/transferred back to the Club)
  • Details of all international’s series including application dates, ticket prices etc will be advertised on the Club website as and when the information becomes available

*These rules are subject to change depending on RFU regulations and club policy.

Knights Coaching Staff All Re-Sign

Doncaster Knights are ecstatic to announce our coaching staff have all re-signed with the club.

Head Coach Steve Boden leads the way as Forwards Coach Nathan Smith, Backs Coach Joe Ford, Head of Strength & Conditioning Adam Simpson, and Director of Academy Tyson Lewis all commit their future to the Knights.

Well-known around Castle Park, in his playing days Bodes spent seven years in a Knights shirt from 2005 to 2012, chalking up 188 appearances. He originally returned to the Knights as an Assistant Coach in May 2019 before taking up the Head Coach mantle at the end of that year. And in his time in charge, the side have finished third and second in the Championship table in the previous two seasons.

It should also be noted that, going forward, Bodes will take on the title of Director of Rugby for the Knights, in a decision approved by himself, President Steve Lloyd and Executive Chairman Tony De Mulder.

Bodes is delighted to be continuing his connection with a club he has enjoyed both playing and coaching highlights with.

“As people are aware, I’ve got close connection and affiliation to the club – it’s a club that I care about. When I sat down with Steve Lloyd and Tony De Mulder two years ago, we put a two-to-three-year plan together and we’re two years in, and we feel like we’ve made a good stride forward in rebuilding the club from where it was.

“Off the back of that, we’re hoping to continue to make strides forward as a club, and I’m really happy and humbled that they would like me to be part of that journey.

“The environment and the culture that the club is trying to create makes it easy for me to turn up to work every day and enjoy it – and that’s testament to the club, the board, the supporters, and all the players and staff.”

Nathan Smith originally worked alongside Bodes during his days at Yorkshire Carnegie. His coaching CV includes being Head Coach at Ilkley RFC and Forwards Coach at Loughborough Students. Nathan arrived in Doncaster in September 2020, ahead of the 2020/21 truncated season and has already made a noticeable impact on the running of the forward pack.

Nathan is looking forward to continuing his connection with a driven coaching and playing squad at Castle Park.

“It was a no brainer to re-sign. I have the privilege of working within a team where players and coaches want to maximise their potential every day, in an environment I enjoy working in. I’d like to thank Bodes and the club for giving me the opportunity to continue to be a part of that.”

Joe Ford followed an impressive playing career with his first coaching role at Yorkshire Carnegie in the summer of 2019. Having officially retired in early 2020, he was approached by Bodes to join his young coaching set-up for the shortened 2020/21 season. Joe’s impact can be seen in the communication and unity amongst the Knights back-line.

Joe is relishing the opportunity to better himself as a coach whilst giving his all to ensuring the next incarnation of the Knights squad is in the best position possible to achieve.

“The club is a great place for me to be at this stage in my coaching career as I am able to continuously learn and improve myself and my coaching style every day – and that’s everything I could ask for.

“I enjoy working with Bodes and all of our staff on a daily basis, so I’m really excited to continue to work with the driven squad that is being put together for next season.”

Adam Simpson arrived at the Knights in 2021 to take up the Head of S&C position having previously been part of the Bradford Bulls rugby league set-up as well as working for Halifax FC. Committed to ensuring the Knights squad are in the best condition, his leadership in the gym and with nutrition have been invaluable.

Adam feels the culture of the current Knights set-up is one which is beneficial to coaches, players, and staff alike.

“The Knights have a brilliant culture across the playing squad and coaching department. Bodes has created an environment driven toward improvement each week and it’s exciting to be continuing to be part of the process.”

Another figure in the coaching staff recognisable to loyal supporters, Tyson Lewis originally joined the club from Plymouth Albion in 2012, going on to make 196 appearances as a Knight before calling time on his career in February 2021 as the club’s leading try-scorer in the professional age. In playing retirement, he has taken up leadership of the Knights Academy as well as aiding the first team as a skills coach with the backs.

Tyson is thrilled to continue his allegiance with the club and give his all to the squad he and his fellow coaches are continuing to develop.

“I’ve been a part of the club a long time now and have experienced wonderful times, both as a player and most recently as a coach. It’s an absolute honour to be continuing my association with this great club as part of a young and exciting coaching group, coupled with a more exciting and hungry playing group.

“The skies are really the limit, and I am looking forward to seeing just how far we can go as a club.”

We are delighted to have all five coaches remaining at Castle Park and are intrigued to see what progress they can make in the remainder of the 2021/22 season and into the next.