End of Under-20s League a blow to sport says Hall

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THE Dons will benefit from closer links with Super League Wakefield Trinity Wildcats next season announced on Thursday.

But Dons chief executive Carl Hall, whilst welcoming the arrival of several young Wakefield stars on loan, is critical of the Rugby Football League’s decision to scrap the Under-20s league.

“A lot of very good young players are going to be lost to the game and I can see a lot of them joining rugby union clubs,” said Hall.

“The best of them are being kept on by Super League clubs but players don’t always develop at the same age and I’m sure that some people who could have turned into really good players a couple of years down the line, will be lost to the game.”

Doncaster Rovers were forced to train on the 3G pitch at the Keepmoat Stadium complex that morning due to problems with the gas supply at the club’s Cantley Park base.

The players made their annual visit to the DRI Children’s ward armed with presents for the youngsters unlucky enough to be in hospital at this time of the year.

The chance to chat with one of their football idols must be like an extra Christmas present for any Rovers fan in the unit.

Rovers had been hoping to give their supporters an early Christmas present on Saturday by claiming top spot in League One.

Nothing is ever decided in December in terms of promotion, but it is always something special for a supporter of any club to see their team top of the table.

For that to happen, Rovers had to beat visiting Coventry City and leaders Tranmere had to fail to pick up more than a point in their testing clash against third-placed Sheffield United at Bramall Lane. The Blades did themselves and Rovers a favour by taking a point off the Prenton Park side, but it was to no avail as far as Keepmoat Stadium fans were concerned as a result of Coventry’s 4-1 win.

Former Coventry City midfielder Sammy Clingan, a second half substitute, came in for a lot of verbal abuse from the 700 or so visiting supporters, even when he was sat on the bench.

He proved more popular with his former team-mates, however, and quite a few sought him out after the game for a chat - after manager Dean Saunders eventually let the players out of the dressing room.

Dean had obviously taken his frustration out on the players because he was quite calm by the time that he spoke to the media.

I know money is tight for a lot of people, and Christmas shopping also comes into the equation, but I would imagine that the board were disappointed with the sub-7,000 crowd considering the away support.

Doncaster Knights’ hopes of qualifying for the knock-out stages of the B & I Cup by topping Pool 8 suffered a blow as a result of their 30-29 defeat at home to Llandovery on Saturday. Not for the first time this season, Knights failed to hold on to a match-winning lead in the closing stages and new team boss Clive Griffiths and head coach Glen Kenworthy will need to address the puzzling problem sooner rather than later.

I dropped in at Doncaster Lawn Tennis Club’s Christmas party late on Saturday night just in time to catch former Doncaster RUFC captain Howard Thompson, whose a good friend, up ‘on stage’ singing with the band. Sorry, Howard, but it was like watching one of those dreadful X-Factor auditions.