News 2012-13

Preview to Doncaster (A)


Guide Us Clive, Thou Great Redeemer
Pilgrim to This Barren Land
We are Knights, and they are Jersey
Nine points each, with Trembling Hands
Bread of Heaven? Yorkshire Puddings? We prefer to eat Cow

Doncaster _Knights _logo _crop

As is well-known, the RFU Championship remains without a
sponsor. Given that Jersey and Doncaster go into tomorrow night's
crucial encounter (t' crunch, as they're referring to it in
Yorkshire) with scarcely a cigarette paper between them, I wonder
if Rizla might be tempted?

Perhaps Rizla might not be ideal in other respects - various
smoking-related health concerns, the fact that leaders Newcastle
are whole reams of fag papers clear at the top, I could (and often
do) go on... but the margins are certainly tight enough when it
comes t' crunch.

Both clubs can be traced back to the 1870s, and have enjoyed
spectacular rises up the RFU pyramid since leagues began 25 years
ago. Donny's rise from Yorkshire Two/ level 10 underwrites their
claim to be the most promoted side in rugby history, while Jersey
can trace their rise back to Hampshire One/ level 8.

Both sides had tough starts to their Championship campaigns -
Jersey's first at this level, Doncaster in their eighth campaign
since the run of promotions came to a halt - for the moment at
least - in 2005. Both gained their first league win at the seventh
time of asking on the last weekend of October, and are now locked
together at the foot of the table - nine points each, and
spookily-similar points records, Jersey having scored 158 points
and conceded 308, Donny on 157/ 307. Jersey currently get the edge
thanks to having two wins thus far, while the home team's points
haul come from one win, a draw and three bonus points.

The match that completes the first half of the league programme
for each side could be a key factor in determining who is relegated
to National One in April, although there will be many other twists
and turns to come, and other clubs involved.

Clive -Griffiths _886767

To spice things up further there is a new man in charge on the
playing side at Castle Park - the returning Welsh supremo Clive
Griffiths (a.k.a the Great Redeemer Pt II, pictured above), anxious
to stabilise the ship after a heavy defeat against Nottingham last

And the 'former players' box is ticked on three counts: flanker
Jethro Rawling played three games for Jersey last season during a
brief loan spell from Leicester; scrum-half Nicky Griffiths had a
season with the Knights in 2009/10, making nine appearances; but
the list is headed by Steve Boden - Jersey's hooker spent seven
seasons at Castle Park up until last summer, making around 200
appearances and scoring 18 tries, including 10 in 2007/08. See
picture below of 'Bodes' in his free-scoring youth.


This is Jersey's fourth trip to Yorkshire in less than three
months, with many of the players who've been on every trip now
adopting convincing Yorkshire accents, listening to brass band
music on their headphones on the team coach and telling anyone
who'll listen about how many Olympic medals 'their' county won at
London 2012.

The distance, and the Friday night scheduling, may limit the
size of the visiting support, but the Island media is once again
set to do Jersey proud, with live BBC Radio commentary, streaming
on the Channel TV website, tweets from @jerseyrfc and a full report
in the Jersey Evening Post on Saturday.

It looks set to be a chilly evening in South Yorkshire, with
temperatures around freezing during the game, but frost covers have
been used by the home side who have expressed no concerns about
'getting it on'. Spectators are advised to wrap up warm, and take
on plentiful quantities of warming cow pie, la spécialité de la
at Castle Park.

Desperate -dan -with -his -cow -pie

News from the Jersey Camp

Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey brings in fresh faces at
half-back and back-row as he seeks the winning formula for the
clash with Doncaster.

Fly-half Mike Le Bourgeois, one of the form players for the
Islanders this season until he was injured at Bristol three weeks
ago, is back at number 10 and will be partnered by former Doncaster
scrum-half Nicky Griffiths (pictured below).

Ip _241112_0331

Flanker Kingsley Lang and number 8 Guy Thompson are back in the
starting line-up after being rested for the encounter with
Newcastle Falcons last weekend - the pair are joined in Jersey's
back-row by Paul Rodgers, a second-half replacement against the

Two other replacements from the 3-24 loss to Newcastle, centre
Dai Bishop and skipper Nathan Hannay in the engine room, complete
the changes along with ex-Knight, Steve Boden - the experienced
hooker gets the nod in spite of an impressive showing by Dave
Felton on Saturday.

Jersey's bench features the 5:2 split of forwards and backs that
Harvey has favoured for much of the campaign, with all seven
replacements having been involved in the Newcastle game.

"There have been some difficult calls in selection," admitted
Harvey. "Some players really put their hands up against Newcastle,
such as the starting props, and deserve another chance, but I've
also got some players who've been in great form this season, such
as Thompson and Le Bourgeois, who I wanted to get back into the

"I'm sure Doncaster will be motivated, with a new man-in-charge
[Director of Rugby Clive Griffiths] and back in front of their home
fans after a big defeat last weekend, but I can't control that - I
want my boys to focus on what they have to do, and if they perform
to their collective ability then I'm confident we can achieve the

Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and

1 Richard Barrington
2 Steve Boden
3 Jon Brennan
4 Dave Markham
5 Nathan Hannay (capt)
6 Paul Rodgers
7 Kingsley Lang
8 Guy Thompson
9 Nicky Griffiths
10 Mike Le Bourgeois
11 Ed Dawson
12 Dai Bishop
13 Donovan Sanders
14 Ed Tellwright
15 Glenn Bryce

16 Dave Felton
17 Sean McCarthy
18 James Gethings
19 James Voss
20 Fred Silcock
21 Dave McCormack
22 Barry Davies

Doncaster in 2012/13
After a busy summer of pre-season training, new signings and
friendlies against Newcastle, Gloucester (both lost) and Cambridge
(won), Knights started their Championship campaign at Plymouth on
September 1st, taking a bonus point from a 27-22 defeat. Bristol,
Newcastle and London Scottish were next in line, resulting in three
further losses, although the nine-point margins in two of these
games signalled bonus points which had got away.

The first positive result of the season was an 18-18 home draw
against Cornish Pirates, although this was a game Knights looked
set to win until a 79th-minute Kieran Hallett penalty squared the

After a 42-7 reverse at Leeds, the B&I Cup offered a fresh
opportunity, but Scottish visitors Melrose claimed a 30-29 triumph
at Castle Park before Knights sneaked down the M1 and grabbed a
27-13 win over Nottingham in a game where they were clearly the
more motivated side. This desire carried through to the return to
Championship action on home soil when Moseley were beaten 24-16.
After going down 38-20 at Rotherham, a second home win looked on
the cards against Bedford, only for a last-gasp Josh Bassett try
and Brendan Burke conversion sealed a fortunate win for the

Last Sunday Doncaster made their second trip of the season to
Meadow Lane and this time finished a distant second, Jethro
Rawling's try being the lone score in a 52-7 defeat.

Clive Griffiths, back at Castle Park as Director of Professional
Rugby, has selected his first Knights team since his return to
Castle Park for the clash with Jersey.

Griffiths has named a largely unchanged side from the one that
lost out to Nottingham last week, although one key adjustment sees
new signing Connor Braid start at full back. The Canadian, one of
several Canucks now involved in the Championship, played in the
recent international series at Colwyn Bay and has a total of four

In the centres, Jersey will encounter the Zimbabwe-born former
Loughborough Student Edward 'Dante' Mama, formerly on the books at
Leicester, and James Tincknell, a former Premiership player with
Leeds who is one of three players in the squad who played for
Wharfedale when Jersey visited in January, the others being
replacements Ben Sowery (hooker) and Tom Barrett (utility

The experienced number 9 Chris Hallam is in his fifth season as
a Knight, while fly-half Jamie Lennard, though only 25, is in his
second stint at Castle Park and has played for six other clubs in
his career to date, including Premiership and Heineken Cup
experience with London Irish. He's this season's top-scorer with 11
conversions and 15 penalties.

Doncaster's pack is unchanged from the trip to Meadow Lane -
Jersey should watch out for combative hooker Rhys Buckley, a summer
signing from the Dragons, and fellow Welshman Tom Davies in the
loose-head spot. Number 8 Chris Planchant has been with Knights
since 2007 and is approaching his 100th appearance, while skipper
Matt Challinor, who plays lock, played for Harrogate, Morley and
Rotherham before signing for Doncaster in summer 2010.

Doncaster Knights: 15 Connor Braid, 14 Dougie
Flockhart, 13 Dante Mama, 12 James Tincknell, 11 Tyson Lewis, 10
Jamie Lennard, 9 Chris Hallam, 1 Tom Davies, 2 Rhys Buckley, 3
Tomas Francis, 4 Matt Challinor (C), 5 Dominic Parsons, 6 Adam
Kettle, 7 Jethro Rawling, 8 Chris Planchant
Replacements: 16 Ben Sowery, 17 Jack Bergmanas, 18 Brian
McGovern, 19 Phil Hoy, 20 David Bradford, 21 Louis Silver, 22 Tom

History of Doncaster RFC
Doncaster Rugby Football Club were founded in 1875. The club led a
nomadic existence for the first 50 or so years, playing at various
sites in the area. There was even a short spell as a Northern Union
club, dabbling on what might be known in other areas (but not a
rugby league stronghold) as 'the dark side'.

In the early 1920s DRFC moved to a site near the town centre
where it shared a ground with the cricket club, as is the case to
this day at Clifton Lane for local rivals Rotherham. This uneasy
liaison lasted for 30 years before the club moved to its existing
ground at Armthorpe Road, some three miles away from the town. What
started as a single pitch, two changing rooms and a small clubroom
facility evolved over the years into the first-rate facility that
it is today, catering not only for the professional Knights, but
also amateur sides and a thriving junior section that now has more
than 400 members.

Key milestones in the evolution of Castle Park were the opening
of the new clubhouse in 2000 and the completion of the De Mulder
Lloyd Stand in January 2009.

The pre-league era was for the most part a constant story with
highlights including success in the Yorkshire Shield, the county
cup competition for junior sides, in 1979.

1987 was a year of innovation in rugby union, with the inaugural
World Cup, followed a few months later by the introduction of the
national leagues. Donny took their place in Yorkshire Two, or level
10 on the national pyramid. Jersey were at level eight at this
stage - London Four South-West - but were relegated within a season
to Hampshire One.

Within two years Doncaster were up to Yorkshire One, and then
the early 1990s saw three consecutive promotions drawing on a
'home-grown' policy that utilised former members of an
all-conquering colts side.

On the international stage, two more World Cup cycles had passed
and the game turned professional, with the first paid employee at
Castle Park being Player-Coach Kevin Westgarth in summer 1996. The
following season saw 22 straight wins in North Two, and it was
nearly another promotion the following season only for New Brighton
to take the North One title on points difference. In 1998/99 they
went one better: promoted to the National League (level four) and
also winning the (senior) Yorkshire Cup by beating Sandal in the

While the majority of the players remained home-grown, imported
coaching talent was a feature of the 'noughties', first with former
Bristol stalwart Derek Eves and then a succession of Welsh Coaches
that made Doncaster second only to the Patagonian town of Puerto
Madryn as a small corner of the Valleys far from home (or in this
case a few hours up the motorway).

Kingsley Jones was the man-in-charge in 2003/04 and the final
promotion - so far - of the club's ascent was achieved under South
African successor Pieter Muller in April 2005. The first season at
level two ended with a respectable finish, and in summer 2006 Clive
Griffiths became Director of Rugby. There was something of the
Great Redeemer in the new man as he guided the newly-rebranded
Knights to third-place in the league, the only down side being
rival calls from those in need of redemption, with Griffiths
joining fellow countryman 'Razor' Ruddock at Worcester in summer

Another Welshman, Lynn Howells, was appointed DoR ahead of the
2007/08 season in which Donny were fourth, with Howells assisted by
Italian Massimo Cuttita and former London Irish player Justin
Bishop, and the following season they survived the 'culling' of
four clubs from level two as The Championship was founded.

Since then Knights have finished 7th (2010) 6th (2011) and 8th
(last season), leading to three appearances in the now-defunct
promotion play-offs - there was little success in 09/10 or 11/12,
but the season in between saw Howells' side just a point adrift of
Bedford in the tussle to claim a semi-final place. In 2009/10 there
was a successful run in the inaugural year of the B&I Cup in
2009/10, winning the pool before losing to eventual winners Cornish
Pirates at the semi-final stage.

Doncaster Triv
* The final games of 2005/06 saw club captain Rob Liley reach the
1000 point mark for the club in his four seasons at Castle Park,
and the 2000 point mark in an illustrious career before retiring.
Liley's older brother John, ex-Leicester, played alongside him
during part of this period
* Winger Dougie Flockhart was the highest points-scorer in 2011/12
with 100 while fellow winger Michael Keating was top try-scorer
with 10
* Although his memory of the occasion is somewhat sketchy, records
show that Ben Harvey turned out for Richmond against Doncaster at
the Madejski Stadium in January 1998, Richmond winning the Tetley's
Bitter Cup match 58-8

Donc Stand _1

* The De Mulder Lloyd Stand (pictured), which has a capcity of
1,600, is named after two leading backers of the club - Tony De
Mulder, currently President and Chairman, and former Chairman Steve
Lloyd, who now lives in Guernsey but is still a major supporter of
* Clive Griffiths was a contender for international honours in the
days before tactical replacements, and before Wales demeaned the
prestige by awarding caps for games against the Barbarians. Plenty
of players who sat on the bench in the 1960s and 70s never made it
onto the field, but Griffiths won a single cap, and in impressive
circumstances too, as a half-time replacement for the injured (how
many times did that happen?) JPR Williams in a 27-3 stuffing of
England in Cardiff in March 1979. He will be one of two
single-capped Welsh full-backs involved, along with Jersey's Barry

Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from
Doncaster v Jersey through the following channels:

• Live commentary on BBC Jersey, available online and on your
transistor-wireless device, with the show starting at 7pm
• Live streaming on Channel Television, from 7.40pm. A new venture
by the local ITV station in Jersey
• The JEP will look ahead to the game in both Thursday and
Friday's editions, and there'll be full match coverage on Saturday
(paper on sale from 7am)
• Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby

The Championship this weekend
Friday: Bristol v London Scottish (7.45pm) and Newcastle v
Plymouth Albion (8pm)
Saturday: Moseley v Rotherham (12.45pm)
Sunday: Leeds v Bedford and Cornish Pirates v Nottingham
(both 2pm)

And finally
A pause for thought about how life can change in an instant - this
week marked a year since talented Doncaster and former Bath
scrum-half Lee Audis sustained horrific injuries in a car accident.
He has been in hospital ever since, but has shown remarkable spirit
and hopes to be home soon, and attending a match at Castle

Audis may well get to watch James Tincknell, who spent three
weeks in a coma after an accident in February 2011 but battled back
to return to professional rugby with Doncaster this season after
spending the second half of 2011/12 at Wharfedale. Tincknell won
the Rugby Players Association's Blyth Spirit Award for his

It would be remiss not to mention former Jersey prop James
Ellershaw who had a terrible car accident of his own in October
2011 - his former colleagues hope the big man is doing well.

Switching to local action, there's just one game of note in
Jersey following the cancellation of the Wanderers v Beeches
friendly. LQ Lydian Lions take on Jersey United Banks in a
Hampshire Cup tie at LQ, kicking off at 12noon. This will enable
the players to see whether England and Wales can rescue their
abject Autumn campaigns with unlikely wins over New Zealand and
Australia respectively in the games at 2.30pm - the final action
before Monday's World Cup draw in which Wales will be among the
third seeds unless they can beat the Wallabies.

Enjoy your weekend's rugby
Tom Innes






12 Oct 2023


Why not come and chillout in the ‘Watering Hole’ before the game? A full-bar and food is available and you can enjoy some live music after the game.

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