Knights’ vital home game

Defence coach: Neil Kelly
Defence coach: Neil Kelly
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THE festive period was one of mixed fortunes for Doncaster Knights.

On Boxing Day, in front of a bumper crowd of 2,500, the Knights fought out a hard 9-9 draw against Leeds which leaves their record this season against the West Yorkshire side of two wins and a draw out of three games. Not a bad return by anyone’s standards.

Although the scoring was all from kicks, this belies the excitement and tension of the game as both sides fought hammer and tongs to breach the other’s defence.

However with both clubs having defence coaches just back from the World Cup – Mike Ford, formerly of England, with Leeds and our own Neil Kelly who was out there with Namibia – it was always going to be a low scoring game.

And then with a short turnaround from Monday, Knights set off for Plymouth on Thursday afternoon to play the Devon side on Friday night.

In a match played in driving wind and rain, Knights came off second best against a side they should have beaten.

Arriving back in Doncaster at 5am on Saturday morning was not exactly the best preparation for New Year’s Eve, particularly as several of our players were woken by their young children almost as soon as they had got into bed!

Knights now embark on the final six games of the regular season where each of the 12 teams play each other home and away to decide the top eight, who will go into the promotion play-offs, and the bottom four, who will go into the relegation pool.

Knights are in eighth place, 12 points ahead of ninth-placed placed Moseley, 14 ahead of tenth-placed placed London Scottish and 17 ahead of second-bottom Plymouth.

Tomorrow’s match at Castle Park against second-placed Bedford (2.30pm) is a game of huge importance for two reasons.

A win would make Knights reasonably secure in the promotion play-offs, but such is the competition in the Championship this season that the Knights are within 10 points of all bar the top two teams, so a good finish could see them quickly move up the table.

A happy New Year to everyone. I hope you all had a great time.