Knights are ready for the play-off battles ahead

Lynn Howells: Hoping to end his Knights stint with a trophy.
Lynn Howells: Hoping to end his Knights stint with a trophy.
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WHAT is termed the ‘regular’ part of the Championship season is now over and we head into the play-offs.

The ‘regular’ season is the first 22 matches, when all 12 clubs play each other home and away, after which the top eight going into the two promotion pools whilst the bottom four go into the relegation play offs.

Whoever finishes 1, 4, 5 and 7 go into promotion pool A and carry forward 3, 2, 1 and 0 points respectively. Likewise 2, 3, 6 and 7 carry the same number of points forward into promotion group B.

In the relegation pool each team carries forward 1 point for each game they have won in the regular season.

The teams in each pool play each other home and away with, in the case of the two promotion pools, the winner of Pool A being at home to the runners up of Pool B in one semi-final and the winner of Pool B being at home to the runners-up in Pool A in the other.

Both the semi-finals are a single match whilst the final is a two-legged affair. There, that was easy wasn’t it?

Doncaster Knights finished in sixth place so we join Rotherham (two huge local derbies), Cornish Pirates (a great long weekend for a few of us hardy supporters in Penzance) and Bedford.

Based on the results between the four sides in the regular season, Knights would be expected to finish fourth, but Lynn and Brett (our two coaches) are confident that we will cause a few upsets and hopefully reach the semi-final stages.

Before the play-offs start however, the Knights have the small matter of the British and Irish Cup to consider.

This weekend we travel to Ayr in Scotland for our final game in the group stages with the winner finishing as runners-up with a place in the quarter finals away to the winners of Group B which, at the moment, could be anyone of Munster, Llanelli or Bristol, all wonderful names from the past.

However, we are not looking any further than this Saturday’s match at the moment.

Lynn Howells, our director of rugby, moves on at the end of the season after four years with us and he would dearly love to go with a trophy to his name.

Last season we reached the semi-finals of the B & I Cup but, unfortunately, we lost heavily away against Cornish Pirates so we have this disappointment to make up for if we need any incentive.

We went into the semi-final on the back of nine games in 27 days and a couple of days after we had been forced to announce that our budget had been cut. Hardly great preparations for such an important match!