Double joy on last day of season for Rovers’ star

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Doncaster Rovers had been hoping to end a disappointing Championship campaign on a winning note with victory over visiting Ipswich Town.

Having beaten the Blues 3-2 at Portman Road in November, the return offered Rovers the chance of their only double of the season, but it was not meant to be and Dean Saunders’ side lost by the same margin.

As the players applauded the fans on a lap of the pitch after the final whistle, I wondered how many of the players would still be here next season.

Having missed the Coventry game at the Ricoh Arena the previous weekend, I got my first look at first-team level at young left-back James Husband - a player tipped for the top by some good judges.

I was impressed by what I saw and the teenager does indeed appear to have a bright future. French midfielder Fabien Robert also caught my eye.

That evening saw the club’s annual Presentation Evening at The Dome - a function attended by nearly 400 people.

I had an interesting off-the-record chat with Saunders about his plans whilst waiting in the forum prior to the main hall opening.

I thought it was an excellent evening - I particularly enjoyed the food and the band - but some people were apparently unhappy with the number of awards (too few) and the fact that most of the players disappeared into town soon after the presentations.

Whilst I can understand their point of view - a lot of people look forward to ‘rubbing shoulders’ with the players during the evening - to be fair to the contracted players they do an awful lot of PR-type work on behalf of the club during a season and on the occasions when I’ve been there they have done so in a very approachable and professional manner.

One of the players who didn’t leave early was full-back James O’Connor who came across to the media table late in the evening to say ‘thank you’ just, in case, I suppose, he won’t be here next season.

I don’t think O’Connor, who has always made himself available for media interviews during his time at the club, had his best year since his £125,000 move from Bournemouth in 2006. But throughout his time at the club he has been one of Rovers’ most consistent performers and I would be sorry to see him go.

It was a day to remember for the personable George Friend. The defender, who had been presented with the Supporters’ Club Player of the Season award prior to the start of the Ipswich match, also picked up the Player of the Season award at The Dome.

Doncaster Rugby League Club took over top spot in Championship One with a surprisingly decisive 38-6 win over fifth-placed Rochdale Hornets at Spotland. Despite the wet and windy, not to mention, cold conditions, the Dons served up some excellent attacking rugby, especially in the first half, and you could see why they went into the game as the division’s top scorers. They certainly have an exciting back line.

It takes a good defence as well to win games, however, and Tony Miller’s men were not lacking in that department, either.

The result means that the Dons have lost two fewer games than Rochdale, who were tipped to be one of the team’s challenging this year. Were they to beat them in the return on Sunday, they would be a step closer being in a position where they weren’t having to look over their shoulders at them.

I dropped in at Doncaster Lawn Tennis Club on Saturday morning to do a feature on the club’s junior coaching programme.

Had I been there later in the day I might have bumped into Doncaster-based One Direction star Louis Tomlinson.

He apparently drove up in his new Porsche and booked a pay-and-play court.