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News 2012-13

Preview to Doncaster (H)

12/04/2013

Tub-thumping, getting out of jail and nerves of
steel: all the ingredients for 'Judgement Day'

With almost biblical predictability, it has come to pass: the
occasion they're calling Judgement Day, unless you'd prefer
Survival Saturday, la mêlée en La Manche, or sundry other
tub-thumping labels. Call it what you like, it's an occasion that
promises to jangle the nerves of Jersey supporters like never
before.

Doncaster _Knights _logo _crop

The Island side's prospects of returning for a second campaign
in the RFU Championship next September look likely to depend on the
encounter with Doncaster at St Peter. Victory for Jersey will leave
the visitors glued to the relegation trapdoor, with time running
out, but the Knights know that an escape route is possible.

The visitors 'get-out-of-jail' option isn't a straightforward
affair. The Yorkshiremen will have to overcome a large and
passionate home crowd and achieve their first league win away from
home in 10 attempts. They would then need to win at least one of
their remaining games - away to Bedford next Wednesday, and home to
Plymouth on Saturday - while hoping Jersey leave Cornwall
empty-handed. The Knights can at least take comfort from a 22-17
win against Jersey at Castle Park in November.

All sorts of nonsense gets spouted ahead of matches like this, not
least the hoary old line about 'the team who wants it more'. Desire
looks unlikely to be missing among any of the 44 participants, and
it seems far more likely that coolness, or mistakes, under pressure
may be the crucial factors.

Jersey hope that the crowd will surpass the attendance of 3,074
against Bristol three weeks ago that is the record for a league
match this season. Or perhaps the 3,648 who saw Jersey play Rosslyn
Park in January 2012, the official record for a league match at St
Peter?

Surely it can't approach the 4,520 who crammed into the ground for
the visit of Leicester Tigers last August? Or can it? The away
contingent is predicted to total around 100, but it will be 15
against 15 on the field, and everyone involved, whether they are
inside or outside the perimeter fencing, will needs nerves of
steel.

Match-day arrangements
See HERE
for the latest ticket news, and important info regarding
arrangements for match-day

News from the Jersey camp
Jersey Director of Rugby Ben Harvey has recalled several
front-line players who missed the Islanders' last league outing
against Newcastle on Good Friday through illness or injury.

Nicky Griffiths is back at scrum-half to captain the side, while
fellow Welshman Barry Davies has recovered from a hip injury and
returns at full-back. Dave McCormack and Max Stelling switch to the
bench. In midfield, David Bishop will start after an impressive
display off the bench against the Falcons, replacing Mark McCrea
who suffered a season-ending ankle injury at Kingston Park.

Jersey's pack sees the return of Guy Thompson and Charlie
Walker-Blair in the back-row, while Rob Anderson retains his place
at lock following impressive displays against Bristol and
Newcastle. Tight calls for Harvey in the front-row see Richard
Barrington and Elvis Taione chosen ahead of Sean McCarthy and Dave
Felton, who also take up replacement roles along with prop James
Gethings and back-row men Kingsley Lang and Joe Buckle.

Jersey squad, sponsored by Locate Jersey and
jersey.com

1 Richard Barrington
2 Elvis Taione
3 Jon Brennan
4 Rob Anderson
5 Dave Markham
6 Charlie Walker-Blair
7 Fred Silcock
8 Guy Thompson

9 Nicky Griffiths (capt)
10 Michael Le Bourgeois
11 Ed Dawson
12 David Bishop
13 Mark Foster
14 James Copsey
15 Barry Davies

Replacements
Sean McCarthy
Dave Felton
James Gethings
Kingsley Lang
Joe Buckle
Dave McCormack
Max Stelling

Any previous?
The two teams played on a chilly night as Castle Park at the end
of November, with the home side winning 22-17 in spite of a late
Jersey fight-back. A full report on the game can be seen HERE.

Doncaster in 2012/13
Knights started their Championship campaign at Plymouth on
September 1st, taking a bonus point from a 27-22 defeat. Bristol,
Newcastle and London Scottish were next in line, resulting in three
further losses, although the nine-point margins in two of these
games signalled bonus points which had got away.

The first positive result of the season was an 18-18 home draw
against Cornish Pirates, although this was a game Knights looked
set to win until a 79th-minute Kieran Hallett penalty squared the
ledger.

After a 42-7 reverse at Leeds, the B&I Cup offered a fresh
opportunity, but Scottish visitors Melrose claimed a 30-29 triumph
at Castle Park before Knights sneaked down the M1 and grabbed a
27-13 win over Nottingham in a game where they were clearly the
more motivated side. This desire carried through to the return to
Championship action on home soil when Moseley were beaten
24-16.

After going down 38-20 at Rotherham, a second home win looked on
the cards against Bedford, only for a last-gasp Josh Bassett try
and Brendan Burke conversion sealed a fortunate win for the
Blues.

On their second trip of the season to Meadow Lane, Knights
finished a distant second, Jethro Rawling's try being the lone
score in a 52-7 defeat.

Victory over Jersey at Castle Park was followed by four successive
league defeats, including an agonising 9-14 loss to London
Scottish, before Leeds were beaten 23-17. But losses to Moseley,
Rotherham and Nottingham have kept Donny anchored, for the time
being, to the bottom of the Championship table.

Among those to watch, the experienced number 9 Chris Hallam is in
his fifth season as a Knight, while fly-half Jamie Lennard, though
only 26, is in his second stint at Castle Park and has played for
six other clubs in his career to date, including Premiership and
Heineken Cup experience with London Irish. He's this season's
top-scorer with 130 points. Canadian full back Connor Braid, one of
several Canucks now involved in the Championship, played in the
recent international series at Colwyn Bay and has a total of four
caps.

Doncaster's pack includes Welsh prop Tom Davies, the club's
longest-serving player, recently re-signed for 2013/14, in the
loose-head spot. Number 8 Chris Planchant has been with Knights
since 2007 while skipper Matt Challinor, who plays lock, played for
Harrogate, Morley and Rotherham before signing for Doncaster in
summer 2010, and this week committed himself to the club for
2013/14 by signing a new contract.

Hooker Ben Sowery played against Jersey for Wharfedale last
season, bu there's no place for Jethro Rawling, who was on loan
with Jersey last season.

Clive Griffiths has named another strong line-up ahead of the
Knights biggest game of the season.

There is only one change to the back line that impressed last time
out against Nottingham Rugby on Good Friday. Centre Will Simpson
returning in place of the injured Tom Luke who misses the match
with a calf problem. Simpson, who himself only returned from injury
last month, is partnered at outside centre by Dante Mama after the
Nigerian born flyer scored a fine individual try in the 21-27
defeat against the East Midlands outfit.

Michael Keating, who grabbed most of the plaudits against the Green
and Whites, retains his place on the right wing, whilst Will Sharp
and Connor Braid make up the back three. Griffiths also sticks with
his half back pairing of Joe Bedford and kicker Jamie
Lennard.

In the forwards, Doncaster are boosted by the return from injury of
long serving and recently re-signed prop Tom Davies, who starts
ahead of Knights' Man of the Match last time out Andy Brown. Davies
is partnered in the front row by Rhys Buckley and Tomas
Francis.

On the back of signing a new two year contract at the Knights,
captain Matt Challinor starts in the second row where he is once
again partnered by Dominic Parsons. The back row remains unchanged
again with Adam Kettle, Will Hafu and Chris Planchant all starting
for the trip to St Peter.

Brown, who deservedly makes the trip, is joined on the bench by
recent signing and hopeful debutant tight-head prop Ben Hooper
having arrived from Leeds Carnegie last month. Jack Bergmanas also
makes his return to the match day squad as a replacement where he
is joined by fellow forwards Andy Boyde and Ben Sowery.

Chris Hallam continues his push towards 100 appearances for the
club with another appearance from the bench, with Dougie Flockhart
named as utility back and replacement kicker.

Doncaster Knights

15. Connor Braid
14. Michael Keating
13. Dante Mama
12. Will Simpson
11. Will Sharp
10. Jamie Lennard
9. Joe Bedford

1. Tom Davies
2. Rhys Buckley
3. Tomas Francis
4. Matt Challinor
5. Dominic Parsons
6. Adam Kettle
7. Will Hafu
8. Chris Planchant

Replacements
16. Andy Brown
17. Jack Bergmanas
18. Ben Hooper
19. Andy Boyde
20. Ben Sowery
21. Chris Hallam
22. Dougie Flockhart

History of Doncaster RFC
Doncaster Rugby Football Club were founded in 1875. The club led a
nomadic existence for the first 50 or so years, playing at various
sites in the area. There was even a short spell as a Northern Union
club, dabbling on what might be known in other areas (but not a
rugby league stronghold) as 'the dark side'.

In the early 1920s DRFC moved to a site near the town centre where
it shared a ground with the cricket club, as is the case to this
day at Clifton Lane for local rivals Rotherham. This uneasy liaison
lasted for 30 years before the club moved to its existing ground at
Armthorpe Road, some three miles away from the town. What started
as a single pitch, two changing rooms and a small clubroom facility
evolved over the years into the first-rate facility that it is
today, catering not only for the professional Knights, but also
amateur sides and a thriving junior section that now has more than
400 members.

Key milestones in the evolution of Castle Park were the opening of
the new clubhouse in 2000 and the completion of the De Mulder Lloyd
Stand in January 2009.

The pre-league era was for the most part a constant story with
highlights including success in the Yorkshire Shield, the county
cup competition for junior sides, in 1979.

1987 was a year of innovation in rugby union, with the inaugural
World Cup, followed a few months later by the introduction of the
national leagues. Donny took their place in Yorkshire Two, or level
10 on the national pyramid. Jersey were at level eight at this
stage - London Four South-West - but were relegated within a season
to Hampshire One.

Within two years Doncaster were up to Yorkshire One, and then the
early 1990s saw three consecutive promotions drawing on a
'home-grown' policy that utilised former members of an
all-conquering colts side.

On the international stage, two more World Cup cycles had passed
and the game turned professional, with the first paid employee at
Castle Park being Player-Coach Kevin Westgarth in summer 1996. The
following season saw 22 straight wins in North Two, and it was
nearly another promotion the following season only for New Brighton
to take the North One title on points difference. In 1998/99 they
went one better: promoted to the National League (level four) and
also winning the (senior) Yorkshire Cup by beating Sandal in the
final.

While the majority of the players remained home-grown, imported
coaching talent was a feature of the 'noughties', first with former
Bristol stalwart Derek Eves and then a succession of Welsh Coaches
that made Doncaster second only to the Patagonian town of Puerto
Madryn as a small corner of the Valleys far from home (or in this
case a few hours up the motorway).

Kingsley Jones was the man-in-charge in 2003/04 and the final
promotion - so far - of the club's ascent was achieved under South
African successor Pieter Muller in April 2005. The first season at
level two ended with a respectable finish, and in summer 2006 Clive
Griffiths became Director of Rugby. There was something of the
Great Redeemer in the new man as he guided the newly-rebranded
Knights to third-place in the league, the only down side being
rival calls from those in need of redemption, with Griffiths
joining fellow countryman 'Razor' Ruddock at Worcester in summer
2007.

Another Welshman, Lynn Howells, was appointed DoR ahead of the
2007/08 season in which Donny were fourth, with Howells assisted by
Italian Massimo Cuttita and former London Irish player Justin
Bishop, and the following season they survived the 'culling' of
four clubs from level two as The Championship was founded.

Since then Knights have finished 7th (2010) 6th (2011) and 8th
(last season), leading to three appearances in the now-defunct
promotion play-offs - there was little success in 09/10 or 11/12,
but the season in between saw Howells' side just a point adrift of
Bedford in the tussle to claim a semi-final place. In 2009/10 there
was a successful run in the inaugural year of the B&I Cup in
2009/10, winning the pool before losing to eventual winners Cornish
Pirates at the semi-final stage.

Doncaster Triv
* The final games of 2005/06 saw club captain Rob Liley reach the
1000 point mark for the club in his four seasons at Castle Park,
and the 2000 point mark in an illustrious career before retiring.
Liley's older brother John, ex-Leicester, played alongside him
during part of this period

* Winger Dougie Flockhart was the highest points-scorer in
2011/12 with 100 while fellow winger Michael Keating was top
try-scorer with 10. Although his memory of the occasion is somewhat
sketchy, records show that Ben Harvey turned out for Richmond
against Doncaster at the Madejski Stadium in January 1998, Richmond
winning the Tetley's Bitter Cup match 58-8

* The De Mulder Lloyd Stand, which has a capacity of 1,600, is
named after two leading backers of the club - Tony De Mulder,
currently President and Chairman, and former Chairman Steve Lloyd,
who now lives in Guernsey but is still a major supporter of
DRFC

Clive -Griffiths _886767

* DoR Clive Griffiths (above) was a contender for international
honours in the days before tactical replacements, and before Wales
demeaned the prestige by awarding caps for games against the
Barbarians. Plenty of players who sat on the bench in the 1960s and
70s never made it onto the field, but Griffiths won a single cap,
and in impressive circumstances too, as a half-time replacement for
the injured (how many times did that happen?) JPR Williams in a
27-3 stuffing of England in Cardiff in March 1979. He will be one
of two single-capped Welsh full-backs involved, along with Jersey's
Barry Davies

* Jersey scrum-half Nicky Griffiths had a season with the
Knights in 2009/10, making nine appearances; Steve Boden, signed by
Jersey as a hooker last summer but now Forwards Coach after being
forced to retire through injury immediately after making his return
to Castle Park, made around 200 appearances for the club and scored
18 tries, including 10 in 2007/08. See picture below of 'Bodes' in
his free-scoring youth.

Bodes

Following the game
Don't forget that you can keep up-to-speed with news from Jersey v
Bristol through the following channels:

* Live commentary on BBC Jersey, available online and on your
transistor-wireless device, with the show starting at 2pm, plus
preview on Friday evening from 5.30 to 6pm.
* Match report on Channel 103 just after 5pm, as well as
scoreflashes and a half-time update
* Audio commentary and video highlights on Channel TV's website,
and on Monday evening on ITV at around 6.15pm, or on BBC TV Channel
Islands at 6.30pm on Monday.
* Preview in Friday's JEP, the Inside Centre pull-out with
Saturday's paper and full match coverage on Monday
* Scoreflashes on @jerseyrfc Twitter and the 'Rolling Maul' rugby
forum

The Championship this weekend
There are some important matches in the tussle for play-off spots,
notably at Goldington Road, while Moseley remain mathematical
contenders for relegation.
Saturday: Bedford v Leeds, Rotherham v Moseley, Plymouth
v Newcastle, London Scottish v Bristol
Sunday: Nottingham v Cornish Pirates (live on Sky)

And Finally

In a recent preview it was stated that the Connacht v Newport pool
match in the B&I Cup had been cancelled due to lack of
interest. This was the case at one point, but the missing match
will now be played after all on the last weekend of April, just as
Bedford are hosting Newcastle, and Munster 'A' take on Leinster 'A'
in the semi-finals.

Local action in Jersey this weekend sees Jersey Colts play a
visiting side from Consett, County Durham, with matches on both
Saturday (after the Doncaster game, at around 5.30pm) and Sunday
(2pm). United Banks will travel to Guernsey to play St Jacques on
Sunday, while Jersey Wanderers host LQ Lydian Lions at St Peter
(2pm Sunday).

It will be great to see three injured soldiers back at St Peter
for the big game. Jersey Treasurer Adam Budworth and his wife
Glenda are planning their first trip to a game since their terrible
accident last month, when they were hit by a falling tree on the
Railway Walk during the blizzard, while Mark McCrea is flying in
from Ireland, where he has been recovering following his injury
against Newcastle. It'll be great to see them all, and we look
forward to having them firing on all cylinders by the start of
2013/14.

And lastly, take a bow Dan Gill. The Doncaster Director of
Community Rugby is making a return trip to Jersey just a week after
his first visit. It should be emphasised that the first trip was
very much a scheduled, undercover fact-finding mission, rather
than, as might unkindly have been suggested in some quarters, a
case of booking flights for the wrong weekend. We believe you
Dan!!

It may be tense, but try and enjoy your weekend's
rugby!

Tom Innes

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