World champion Sarah lands richly deserved honour

OBE: Taekwondo star Sarah Stevenson. picture: NICK POTTS/pa
OBE: Taekwondo star Sarah Stevenson. picture: NICK POTTS/pa
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THERE was to be no extra Christmas present for Doncaster Rovers’ fans who travelled to Turf Moor on Boxing Day as Dean Saunders’ men lost 3-1 against Burnley.

It didn’t help that the referee gifted the Clarets a penalty at 0-0.

The home side just about deserved their victory, but the scoreline certainly flattered them.

Doncaster Knights and Leeds Carnegie, battled out a 9-9 draw in their Championship derby in front of a 2,000 plus gate at Castle Park where Knights had chances to win the game late on.

It was good to see such a crowd but those sort of attendances need to become the norm not the exception, as they should be, given the level of competition and the excellent facilities at Castle Park, if Knights are to progress to the next level.

FRIDAY: Knights failed to dent lowly Plymouth Albion’s 100 per cent Friday night record this season when going down 18-6 in the Championship at Brickfields.

It was a disappointing result for Knights, who had travelled down to Devon the day before to try and avoid the fate suffered by Rotherham and Moseley - though the fact that the home side had enjoyed an extra 48 hours to recover from their previous match on the Saturday, won’t have helped Knights’ cause, nor will the lack of preparation.

SATURDAY: Doncaster’s taekwondo world champion and Olympic medal hope Sarah Stevenson received an OBE in the New Year’s Honours List,

Despite winning her second world crown, 2011 proved a very difficult year for Sarah, who lost both her parents to cancer.

I’m sure that her parents, who were both tremendously supportive of Sarah, would have been justifiably proud of the honour had they still been alive.

Hopefully Sarah can go on to even bigger and better things in 2012.

Doncaster Rovers’ hopes of ending a year which saw them record just eight league wins, on a happier note at Vicarage Road, ended in disappointment as the Hornets romped to a 4-1 win.

Despite being second-best for most of the first half, Rovers actually looked to be in with a chance of winning the game following Billy Sharp’s equaliser until Herold Goulon’s dismissal on 63 minutes.

The last 27 minutes or so is probably best forgotten as Rovers shipped in another three goals and rode their luck on another couple of occasions as they finished a well-beaten side.

Manager Dean Saunders wasn’t in the best of moods at the post-match press conference with little sign of his trademark smile.

FRIDAY: Rovers got 2012 off to the best possible start with a 2-0 win over Barnsley, who had beaten them by the same scoreline at Oakwell in November.

That performance was easily Rovers’ worst of the season - though the Reds did play well on the day - but Monday’s was one of the best.

The return of Brian Stock, after his one-match ban, certainly helped Rovers’ cause, but there were impressive performances all over the pitch particularly from several players who have not featured as often as they would have liked under Saunders.

Kyle Bennett, for one, stood out, and capped an outstanding performance with a great goal.

Though by no means the finished product, Bennett will surely grace the Premier Division at some stage of his career.