Knights face stern test to open season

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DONCASTER Knights will open their 2011-12 Championship campaign with a home match against former Premier League club Bristol.

The game on Saturday, September 3 will see an early return to Castle Park for former Doncaster favourites Tristram Roberts, last season’s top points scorer, and flying winger Matty Williams.

New signing Tom Luke, who joined the club from beaten play-off finalists Cornish Pirates, will come up against his former team-mates in the club’s first away game of the season on September 10.

Newcomers London Scottish will check in at Castle Park on the last weekend in September. Knights travel to West Yorkshire the following weekend to tackle relegated Leeds, who loaned the club several players last season.

Full-back Stevie McColl, a firm favourite with the Castle Park faithful during his two years at the club, will need no introduction to the Doncaster fans making the 40 mile trip to Headingley Carnegie.

Leeds check in at Castle Park in the return fixture on Christmas Eve.

Knights, who have signed several players who turned out for Rotherham Titans last season, visit Clifton Lane on November 19 and play host to their South Yorkshire rivals in the penultimate game of the league season on Februay 18.

Bristol are the final opponents of the regular season with a trip to the south-west planned for February 25.

Once again the teams finishing in the top-eight will contest the Promotion Play-Offs, with the bottom-four featuring in the Relegation Play-Offs.

Knights, who reported back for pre-season training last week, will train Tuesday, Thursday and Friday this season.

New director of rugby, Brett Davey, said: “It will enable us to have a really hard session on a Tuesday. I felt that Wednesday was too near match-day.”

Knights pre-season games begin on Friday, August 5 with the visit of Hull before away matches at Coventry (Aug 12) and Bedwas (Aug 20).


Sep 3: Bristol Rugby (h)

Sep 10: Cornish Pirates (a)

Sep 17: Moseley (h)

Sep 24: London Scottish (h)

Oct 1: Leeds Carnegie (a)

Oct 8: Plymouth Albion (h)

Oct 15: Bedford Blues (a)

Oct 22: Nottingham (h)

Oct 29: Esher Rugby (a)

Nov 5: London Welsh (h)

Nov 19: Rotherham (a)

Nov 26: Cornish Pirates (h)

Dec 3: Moseley (a)

Dec 10: London Scottish (a)

Dec 24: Leeds Carnegie (h)

Dec 31: Plymouth Albion (a)

Jan 7: Bedford Blues (h)

Jan 14: Nottingham (a)

Jan 28: Esher Rugby (h)

Feb 4: London Welsh (a)

Feb 18: Rotherham (h)

Feb 25: Bristol Rugby (a)