Doncaster Knights: Clark relishing clash with former club Carnegie

Mat Clark chases down Worcester's Sam Smith. Photo: Chris Etchells.
Mat Clark chases down Worcester's Sam Smith. Photo: Chris Etchells.

Mat Clark admits they are champing at the bit to face Yorkshire Carnegie in a game he believes is the biggest of the season so far.

The Knights’ 100 per cent start to the Greene King IPA Championship season, and 16-month unbeaten home record, was brought to an end with a 16-32 defeat to Worcester Warriors on Saturday.

Clive Griffiths’ men were made to pay for a slow start at Castle Park with Warriors opening up a 12-0 lead in the first quarter, and despite a second-half comeback the Knights were unable to restore parity.

And Clark insists his side will be out to prove a point this weekend in the derby against Yorkshire Carnegie, the side he joined the Knights from at the start of last season.

“Worcester were always going to be a tough side but we are disappointed that we didn’t play to our ability,” the centre said.

“We feel that we let ourselves down a little bit in respect to the first 20 minutes where we didn’t enforce ourselves into the game and just let them come at us.

“We didn’t help ourselves but we will learn from it and move forwards. Everyone is positive in the camp and we’re looking forward to the weekend.

“Yorkshire Carnegie is probably the perfect game to have after last week because the form book goes out the window in a derby game.

“The boys just want to get back on the field and prove that we only suffered a minor slip and we’re not the sort of team to just be pushed over and end up struggling week to week.

“There shouldn’t be any problems in terms of getting up for the derby game. It’s probably the biggest game of the season so far.

“It will be great to play against Yorkshire again. I still have quite a few friends there so I’m really looking forward to giving everything that we’ve got as a team.”

Despite the loss to Worcester, the Knights have made an encouraging start on their return to the Greene King IPA Championship, beating Plymouth Albion and Jersey in their first two games of the season.

And Clark admits they are relishing the chance to prove they belong in the league on a weekly basis.

“It’s been a great start to the season and before things got underway we’d have taken two wins out of three if we were offered it,” he added.

“The hard work starts now – it’s a long season and there are plenty of games to play so we will keep taking things a game at a time.

“First and foremost we want to make sure that we are still in the league next year. We will take every week as it comes and each game is a new challenge and new opportunity to prove ourselves as a Championship outfit.”

* Formed in 2009, the Greene King IPA Championship is the second tier of professional rugby union in England. To keep up-to-date with all the latest news follow @ChampRugby on Twitter, or visit