Doncaster Knights

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Doncaster Knights
Doncaster Knights logo.png
Full nameDoncaster Rugby Football Club
UnionYorkshire RFU
Nickname(s)Knights
Founded1875; 144 years ago (1875)
LocationDoncaster, South Yorkshire, England
Ground(s)Castle Park (Capacity: 5,000 (1,650 seated)
League(s)RFU Championship
2018–1910th
Team kit
Official website
www.drfc.co.uk

Doncaster Rugby Football Club are a rugby union club representing the town of Doncaster, England. The first XV are known as the "Doncaster Knights", and play in the RFU Championship. Being the most promoted side in English history has led to huge changes at the Castle Park ground and within the team structure.

Castle Park Conference and Function centre is a multimillion-pound development and is among the top conference venues in Doncaster, while remaining a supportive place for amateur rugby in the Borough. The club motto "rugby for all" sees amateur side Doncaster Phoenix compete at the same ground, as well as the ladies side Doncaster Demons and every age group from under-7 to under-17s.

History[edit]

The rise to National League One, from amateur status led to the rebranding of Doncaster RFC to Doncaster Knights for the 2006–07 season, and that season saw their highest placed finish to date under Clive Griffiths as Director of Rugby. Doncaster also won the Yorkshire Cup.

After the departure of Griffiths to Worcester, the current DOR Lynn Howells joined the club on the eve of the 2007–08 season. Justin Bishop, signed from London Irish, had acted as DOR during the pre-season.

Howells inspired the Knights to almost repeat the 3rd-place finish in his first season in charge, and has moulded the squad in his own image for the 2008–09 season. 9 January saw the opening of the new De Mulder-Lloyd Stand at Castle park, a £3m state of the art 1650 seater stand. Driven by CEO James Criddle and funded by Tony De Mulder and Steve Lloyd this has seen Castle Park develop into undoubtedly the best rugby facility in South Yorkshire.

The home of the Knights, Castle Park, featured in and won "4 Weddings" and also hosted the Northern BBC TV news coverage for Remembrance Day during 2009 showing how for the operational side of the club has come supporting the on the pitch success.

The 2009–10 season saw the squad decimated by injuries, with no fewer than 15 unavailable players at one stage from a squad of 32. Despite this, and an inhuman 9 games in 27 days (of which they won 8) the Knights managed the Semi Final of the British and Irish Cup and a promotion Play Off finish. The result of the season being the defeat of Bristol at Castle Park, who like Leeds Carnegie before them underestimated the Knights as home.

The 2010–11 and 2011–12 seasons were very average seasons with the Knights managing mid table status and avoiding the relegation playoffs with a reduction in playing budget meaning a shuffling of the pack which saw several long serving players move on to other clubs. The captures of the likes of Tristan Roberts and Paul Devlin hinted at a more creative side than the powerhouse forward game Doncaster are known for traditionally.

The 2012–13 season saw the Knights have a disappointing season with only three wins and a draw out of twenty two league matches and two wins from six in the British and Irish Cup competition which resulted in relegation (for the first time in Doncaster history) back to National League 1. One of the few highlights being a win over local rivals Leeds Carnegie 23 – 17 in February 2013.

For the 2013–14 season DOR Clive Griffiths signed a variety of new and returning players including Mat Clark, Paul Jarvis, Bevon Armitage, Roberto Santamaria and Bruno Bravo who would all feature as regulars in the coming season. The season looked to begin badly for the Knights as they were once again plagued by injuries particularly in the forwards but still with an intention to be the first team to secure promotion back to the Championship at the first time of asking. The Knights started strongly recording seven straight wins before losing away to Henley Hawks 11–10 [1] in a close fought game. The Knights campaign continued strongly at home although with away losses to Blaydon and Wharfedale they could not fully pull away from the following pack. With further signings during the year, such as former British Lion Darren Morris,[2] London Irish back row Danny Kenny,[3] Argentinian-Italian prop Santiago Sodini[4] and the return of former Knight Richard List from RC Narbonne[5] to bolster the injury prone team, the Knights continued to be the team to beat having been top of the table for the majority of the season.

In late March 2014 with only four games left to play of the season there were only two teams (Rosslyn Park & the Knights) left with the potential to win the league and with them due to meet on 29 March many thought this could be the most important match of the season. The game resulted in a win for Rosslyn Park[6] and meant the Knights would need to win all three of their remaining matches to guarantee promotion. With a win over Wharfedale (57–17) at home to secure a 100% home win record for the season followed by away wins against Coventry (17–18) & Blackheath (20–38) the Knights secured promotion back to the Championship despite having lost one more game than Rosslyn Park (having achieved more bonus points to be three points clear).

During the 2013–14 season Tyson Lewis was the top try scorer for National League 1 with 22 tries and his teammate Mat Clark was equal second on 20 tries. Tyson also achieved Guinness World Record fame for "The fastest time to score a try in a rugby union match".[7] The try was scored direct from the opening kick off in 7.24 seconds (Doncaster Knights vs Old Albanians at Wollam Playing Fields, St Albans, UK, on 23 November 2013).

Club honours[edit]

Doncaster Knights

[8]

Doncaster Phoenix (amateur side)

Current standings[edit]

2018–19 RFU Championship Table watch · edit · discuss
Club Played Won Drawn Lost Points for Points against Points diff Try bonus Loss bonus Points
C London Irish 22 20 0 2 835 340 495 18 1 99
2 Ealing Trailfinders 22 17 0 5 733 503 230 16 2 86
3 Bedford Blues 22 13 0 9 632 603 29 11 6 69
4 Jersey Reds 22 12 0 10 554 442 112 9 6 63
5 Cornish Pirates 22 10 0 12 556 507 49 12 7 59
6 Yorkshire Carnegie 22 11 0 11 475 549 -74 8 3 55
7 Nottingham 22 10 1 11 508 597 -89 7 3 52
8 Coventry 22 9 1 12 497 637 -140 7 6 51
9 London Scottish 22 8 0 14 468 616 -148 7 4 43
10 Doncaster Knights 22 8 0 14 546 617 -71 6 4 42
11 Hartpury College 22 7 0 15 415 634 -219 4 4 36
R Richmond 22 6 0 16 430 604 -174 4 5 33
  • If teams are level at any stage, tiebreakers are applied in the following order:
  1. Number of matches won
  2. Difference between points for and against
  3. Total number of points for
  4. Aggregate number of points scored in matches between tied teams
  5. Number of matches won excluding the first match, then the second and so on until the tie is settled
Green background is the promotion place. Pink background is the relegation place.
Updated: 21 April 2019
Source: "Greene King IPA Championship". England Rugby.

Current squad[edit]

The Doncaster Knights squad for the 2019–20 season is:[9] Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.

Player Position Union
George Edgson Hooker England England
Ben Hunter Hooker England England
Charlie Beech Prop England England
Andrew Foster Prop England England
Robin Hislop Prop Scotland Scotland
Colin Quigley Prop Scotland Scotland
Joe Sproston Prop England England
Matt Challinor Lock England England
Morgan Eames Lock England England
Tom Hicks Lock England England
Matt Smith Lock England England
Tom Calladine Back row England England
Michael Hills Back row England England
Sam Jones Back row England England
Rory Pitman Back row Wales Wales
Ollie Stedman Back row England England
Player Position Union
Reiss Cullen Scrum-half Scotland Scotland
Tom James Scrum-half England England
Charlie Foley Fly-half England England
Kurt Morath Fly-half Tonga Tonga
Sam Olver Fly-half England England
Lloyd Hayes Centre England England
Pete Lucock Centre England England
Jack Roberts Centre Wales Wales
Kyle Evans Wing Wales Wales
Dougie Flockhart Wing Scotland Scotland
Tyson Lewis Wing England England
Curtis Wilson Wing England England
Cameron Cowell Fullback England England
Steve McColl Fullback Scotland Scotland
  • Internationally capped players in bold. Their nationality is fixed to international team (World Rugby regulations).
  • Players qualified to play for England on residency or dual nationality. *
  • In all cases nationality shown is the country that the player represents in international rugby union.
  • Notes:

Past performance[edit]

Year Tier Division P W D L PF PA PD TB LB Pts Notes
2016/17 2 English Championship 20* 12 0 8 514 424 90 9 1 58 Finished 4th
2015/16 2 English Championship 22 15 2 5 588 470 118 10 5 79 Finished 2nd
2014/15 2 English Championship 22 8 1 13 429 481 -52 3 6 43 Finished 9th
2013/14 3 National League 1 30 25 0 5 943 487 456 18 4 122 Promoted to Championship as champions
2012/13 2 English Championship 22 3 1 18 364 592 −228 2 7 23 Relegated to National League 1
2011/12 2 English Championship 22 9 2 11 467 524 −57 7 3 50
2010/11 2 English Championship 22 9 0 13 572 576 −4 7 8 51
2009/10 2 English Championship 22 10 0 12 394 386 8 2 6 48
2008/09 2 National 1 30 21 2 7 895 571 324 14 3 105
2007/08 2 National 1 30 21 0 9 796 551 245 12 2 98
2006/07 2 National 1 30 22 1 7 855 474 381 16 4 110 1st Season as Doncaster Knights
2005/06 2 National 1 26 10 1 15 555 699 −144 5 5 52
2004/05 3 National 2 26 23 1 2 818 379 439 11 1 106 Promoted to National 1 as champions
2003/04 3 National 2 26 17 0 9 692 487 205 34
2002/03 3 National 2 26 14 0 12 630 551 79 28
2001/02 4 National 3 North 26 25 0 1 1074 357 717 50 Promoted to National 2 as champions
2000/01 4 National 3 North 23 16 1 6 584 364 220 33
1999/00 4 National 2 North 26 12 2 12 656 539 117 26
1998/99 5 North 1 22 18 1 3 550 214 336 37 Promoted to National 2 North as champions
1997/98 5 North 1 22 17 2 3 489 285 204 36
1996/97 6 North 2 22 22 0 0 690 259 431 44 Promoted to North 1 as champions
1995/96 6 North 2 12 4 2 6 183 168 15 10
1994/95 6 North 2 12 7 0 5 136 155 −19 14
1993/94 7 North East 1 12 11 0 1 232 70 162 22 Promoted to North 2
1992/93 8 North East 2 12 11 0 1 294 39 255 22 Promoted to North East 1
1991/92
1990/91
1989/90
1988/89
1987/88 10 Yorkshire 2
* Season shortened to 20 games due to London Welsh going into liquidation and being removed from the league by the RFU.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Unbeaten run comes to an end for Knights at Henley". www.yorkshirepost.co.uk.
  2. ^ "Former British Lion joins the Knights". www.thestar.co.uk.
  3. ^ "Back row Danny Kenny arrives from London Irish". www.thestar.co.uk.
  4. ^ "Santiago arrives at the Castle". www.thestar.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Return of Richard List". www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk.
  6. ^ "Rosslyn Park 21 Doncaster Knights 18". www.doncasterfreepress.co.uk.
  7. ^ "Fastest time to score a try in a rugby union match". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  8. ^ "History". www.drfc.co.uk. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014.
  9. ^ "The Squad". Doncaster Knights. Retrieved 10 August 2019.

External links[edit]