THIS weekend sees a new venture for Doncaster Knights when they fly to Belfast to play Ulster on Friday night in the British and Irish Cup.
It will give the opportunity for the two Ulstermen in our squad – David Mcilwaine and David Bradford – to play in front of their home supporters. It will also give other members of the squad to lay down a marker for a starting place a week later away in our Championship game at Rotherham.
It is Doncaster’s first ever visit to Ireland and one that we are all looking forward to. We feel that the B&I Cup has a great deal of potential but unfortunately the governing bodies of the four countries involved don’t seem to be having much success with finding a sponsors which, in my view, could really make it take off.
The original plan was to fly from Finningley to Belfast on Friday morning but, regrettably, Flybe have recently withdrawn this route. We are therefore flying from Manchester and back to Leeds/Bradford the following morning – a real flying visit!
Next week I am attending a meeting of the Championship Directors’ at Twickenham and the main item on the agenda is the structure of the season from 2012/2013 onwards.
There are so many parameters to consider – number of teams in league; number of home games needed; do we have midweek games; when does the season start and finish; do we have play-offs; do we want a cup competition to name a few – that we are not going to please everyone.
What we must ensure however is what we come up with is an improvement on our current structure which, whilst not perfect, seems to be gradually gelling into place.
You can tell Christmas is fast approaching by the number of advertisements around Castle Park which, over the years, has become an increasingly popular venue.
Various developments are taking place this year in terms of themes so it will be very interesting to see the clubhouse with its various decorations and displays.