Knights in tough play-offs group

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WELL the first part of Doncaster Knights’ Championship season has now finished and we are now into the promotion and relegation play offs.

As I mentioned last week, the Knights finished the first part of the season with a crazy schedule of four games in nine days and it is not surprising that, with such a small squad, they lost every match. To a man they gave their all and the games were all really lost in the last quarter as fatigue set in.

Despite this, Knights are in the promotion play offs and are in Group A along with Bristol, London Welsh and Nottingham. Group B consists of Bedford, Cornish Pirates, Rotherham and Leeds whilst in the relegation pool are Plymouth Albion, Moseley. London Scottish and Esher.

There are some illustrious names from the past in this latter pool!

The top two in each of the promotion groups contest a two legged semi-final followed by a two legged final. Both legs of one of the semi-finals and both legs of the final will be shown live on Sky.

The play offs are played home and away and the Knights face a big task as, this season, they have not beaten any of the three other teams in their group; interestingly, they have however beaten Bedford, Cornish Pirates and Leeds from the other group.

Knights’ first home play off game is the weekend after this and, as a change from the norm, the match will be played under floodlights on a Friday (March 9) with a 7.45pm kick off. It will be very interesting to see how this game goes in terms of crowd and how many of the 4,021 who turned up for the last home match against Rotherham put in another appearance.

The Championship committee, on which I represent the Knights, are looking at the structure for next season and it is a very interesting debate.

To a club, we all agree that the existing structure is not ideal but it is difficult to come up with an alternative that suits everyone.

At a recent meeting we reached a majority on one of the options put forward (we were one of the minority) but this was scuppered because the Celtic nations were unable to agree the extension to the British and Irish Cup that was required. So it’s back to the drawing board next week.