Doncaster Knights 2021/22 Season Leavers
8th June 2022
Doncaster Knights can confirm that five players will leave the club now that the 2021/22 season has culminated.
Kyle Evans, Mark Best, Lloyd Wheeldon, Charlie Connolly and Liam Usher will all move on, joining Sam Graham, Guido Volpi, Danny Drake, Josh Peters and Jack Davies whose departures have already been announced. In addition, Gaz Denman has already confirmed his retirement from professional rugby.
Head coach Steve Boden said: “It’s one of the toughest parts of professional sport, when players and staff move on to new challenges and new ventures.
“Each and every player last year, throughout my tenure, was a pleasure to work with and they will be greatly missed at Doncaster Knights.
“I’d like to think they will be back in some capacity in the near future, be that playing at Castle Park against Doncaster or coming to enjoy a pint and a catch up.
“We wish everyone all the best in the next stages of their careers and lives. And they are welcome back at Castle Park at any time.”
2021/22 Season Leavers
Evans originally arrived in Doncaster from Welsh Premiership side Merthyr RFC in May 2019. His impressive speed, crushing tackle technique and ever-reliable handling skills soon had him earning the title of many Knights’ fans favourite player – as shown by his wins for Supporters’ Player of the Year for the 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons.
A more subdued figure off the field, Kyle’s work-rate spoke for itself in each fixture he was involved in. In the 2021/22 season alone he played in 15 league games and 3 Championship Cup games, crossing the whitewash on 8 occasions to finish joint second in the Knights’ try-scoring charts.
Kyle will leave big boots to fill as a firm fan-favourite, and a raw talent in both defence and attack.
Best signed for the Knights in May 2020 from fellow Championship side, Jersey Reds. Mark has been in fantastic form this season, starting on the regular in the Donny centre partnership – overall, he contributed to 17 league games and 4 Championship Cup games this season, scoring 7 tries along the way.
An energetic character both on and off the field, Mark has endeared himself to teammates and fans alike. His impact was also noticed by those outside the club, as he was nominated for the inside centre position in the Champ Rugby Team of the Season.
Mark’s impact will be missed next year, as his sharp feet and strong communications skills were always on display for the Knights.
Wheeldon made the move to Donny from Scottish Super6 side Heriot’s Rugby. Most notably, a Lance Corporal in 3 Para, it was Lloyd’s performance in an Army v Navy game which allowed him to have previously been noticed, and picked up, by Harlequins.
Keen for more game time, Lloyd secured minutes in 5 league games this season as well as 2 Championship Cup appearances, adding a Doncaster try to his name in that time. We thank Lloyd for his time in Doncaster.
Connolly arrived from Chinnor RFC having previously played in the United States with the Houston Sabercats MLR franchise. The prop was an important signing for the squad as the 2021/22 season was plagued with injuries at prop.
Having survived a baptism of fire of his first training week coinciding with prep for a Jersey Reds away trip, Connolly went on to play in 8 league and 1 Championship Cup fixtures in Doncaster colours – scoring a try in the process as well. We thank Charlie for his work.
Usher signed for the Knights in early 2022 as late-season injury cover for Boden’s squad. Signing from Australian side Western District Bulldogs in the Queensland Cup, he was eager to take every opportunity available and to test himself in the Northern hemisphere.
In total, the prop made four league appearances as well as playing in one of the Championship Cup fixtures. A well-liked player amongst the squad, we thank Liam for his contribution to the Knights.