Knights book play-off spot despite loss

John Inverdale
John Inverdale
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WITH the Championship “regular” season coming to an end, Doncaster Knights know that, in spite of their narrow one-point defeat at Rotherham last Saturday, they are guaranteed their place in one of the two promotion play-off groups with which one depending on the outcome of their last two games.

Knights entertain Surrey side Esher on Saturday, whose main claim to fame is that their Chairman of Rugby is John Inverdale of BBC Sport fame.

John has a link with Doncaster as he used to be captain of Lincoln and, talking to him last season, we worked out that his last game “up north” was against us in a game we both remembered as being played in the coldest weather either of us could recall (and that was in April).

I can recall Rob Sykes, who was then our captain, coming off because his hamstring was seizing up with the cold.

Talking of Rob, this weekend is our annual Past Players’ Lunch which, yet again, will be ably organised by Neil Watson, a former 1st XV captain.

Neil regularly gets over a 100 ex-players to turn up, some of them having played at the club back in the late 1940’s. It is great to see so many old faces (literally as well as metaphorically) and to reminisce about old times.

Age tends to play havoc with memories at the best of times and even more so after several pints of beer.

In our memories we were all as fast as our current flyer Matty Williams (apart from me that is), or as strong as big Michael Cusack.

Still we had some great times in those old days when, before the motorways, trips to Hull or Halifax used to take hours. Strange though that we always seemed to get there quicker than we got back.

My old friend Peter Waddington always used to insist on driving and his car seemed to know the way to every pub on the way back! Pubs like the Spread Eagle at Darrington, the Gaping Goose at Garforth and the Percy Arms at Airmyn, were regular stopping off points.

Yes – they were the good, old days when training was always followed by beer to rehydrate before we were told it was doing us no good!