Welcome back to this blog after a short summer break part of which was, for me, spent in Menorca. I hope you all had a good break and are now ready to support the Knights for the season ahead.
The Knights completed their three match pre-season programme unbeaten with victories over Hull at home 68-14, Coventry away 24-23 and Bedwas away 13-10. The build up in intensity gave Director of Rugby Brett Davey the opportunity he was seeking to bed in his new squad. With 15 new players out of a squad of 29, it was important that they were given the chance to develop together without the pressure put on by playing Premiership clubs as the Knights had often done in the past.
It is interesting to see how the make up of the squad has changed over the past five years. We started off with six or seven players who were Welsh, then last season we moved to a squad with five or six Scots in it to the situation this year where we have six Irishmen.
On Saturday the season proper starts with the Knights at home to Bristol, who have two of last year’s Doncaster players – fly half Tristan Roberts and winger Matt Williams – in their ranks.
Since Bristol were relegated from the Premiership two seasons ago Knights have beaten them in both home games and once away and will undoubtedly be looking to continue that record at the weekend. So why not come down to Castle Park on Saturday at 2.30pm for what promises to be an entertaining match.
On a sad note we have received the news that former club stalwart John Staniland had died. John played more than 200 games for the 1st XV in the Fifties abd early Sixties and captained the side. He was a former president and our oldest life member. When I first came to Doncaster in 1966, John was one of a small group of committee members who were the backbone of the club and was the last surviving member. He was great company and a big help to me as I became more involved in the administration of the club. John moved to Wiltshire a number of years ago to be closer to his family and it was there that he passed away. The club will be observing a minute’s silence in his memory before the Bristol game.