Steve Hossack: Ex van man Paul is Knight in shining armour

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Paul Turton may never have turned out for the club but he has played a significant part in Doncaster Knights’ success over the years.

Given the title of team manager by the then director of rugby, Lynn Howells, Paul has carried out numerous jobs behind the scenes in over 25 years’ loyal service at Castle Park.

After securing eight promotions since league rugby was introduced in the late 80s, last season’s relegation from the Championship was a bitter pill to swallow for Paul.

But he’s confident the club can make a swift return to the Championship.

“We are well placed and hopefully we can bounce straight back,” said the 70-year-old.

“We’ve had one or two setbacks away from home this season.

“But everyone is geared up to try and beat us and we understand that.”

The other major disappointment during Paul’s long association with the club came back in the 1996-97 campaign.

It was when the club, who won the North Two title that season, lost to Thanet in the National Intermediate Cup final at Twickenham.

“We played in our first Yorkshire Cup final a few days later but it was a game too far and we got beat, though we went on to win it twice later on,” he said.

Much of Doncaster’s success, as they rose through the ranks after starting in lowly Yorkshire Two, was based on a strong backbone of local talent with such as Simon Greenslade, Drew Noble, Chris Conway and the Senior brothers.

“They came into the side as young lads and they grew up with the team,” recalled Paul.

“Most of them were able to successfully adapt to playing at a higher level after each promotion until we got to National Two.

“As the club went higher they brought in more players from outside and it was a pleasure to watch the likes of Dave Fairclough, Rob and John Liley and Simon Bunting to play for the club.

“We’ve also had, and still got, some excellent players in more recent years.”

For four years or so, Paul used to have to drive a van (since discarded) to grounds all over the country and unload all the kit and lay it out in the dressing room before collecting it post match and driving back to Castle Park.

He now leaves that side of things to Kevin Clifton and Ian Swindell.

“I’m too old now to be humping the kit on and off the team coach and the like,” he said.

“I’m there if they want any advice.

“But my duties these days are sourcing kit, booking hotels, match-day transport and accommodation for loan players and various other things which crop up.”