Best ever season for the Dons - or was it?

editorial image

THE last 12 months will go down as the most successful in Doncaster Rugby League Club’s history.

Not only did the club finish the top of their league for the first time ever, but they also won their first ever champions’ title.

But not everyone it seems views the club’s achievements in the same light.

One long-time fan told me that he felt the club’s achievement in winning promotion to the top flight after finishing runners-up to Workington in 1993-94 was more significant because he felt that the league was much stronger in depth.

Another supporter recently told me that he felt the club’s achievements in 2008 were greater.

Not only did the Dons win promotion from the third tier via the promotion play-offs that year, but they also reached their first ever major final that season - though they were shunted into the sidings by Salford, relegated from Super League the previous season, in the Northern Rail Cup final at Blackpool.

It is always difficult to try and compare different seasons because the circumstances are always different.

For example, the 2008 team, and to a lesser extent the 1993-94 side, both boasted much greater financial backing than Tony Miller’s side did this season.

Although supporters are always entitled to their opinion, I would urge everyone with an interest in the club to just enjoy last season’s success and remember some of the many magic moments during the summer as the next couple of years look set to be much tougher on the field.

Having recently completed the massive task of obtaining every Doncaster Rovers first-team programme dating back to 1945, Rovers fan Barry Watson has set himself an even more daunting task.

“I want to try and track down all the club’s home reserve team programmes dating back to the War, though I don’t know whether I’ll achieve it to be honest,” he said. “I’ve got quite a few, and I know someone who has got a couple of boxes in his garage which he has promised to let me have.

“The main problem is that sometimes often only 15-20 were run-off and they were only single photo-copied sheets.

“Those who managed to get them were more likely to stuff it in their pocket after they had read it and then throw it away when they got home rather than keep them,” said Barry.

Doncaster Knights are confident of beating both the wintry weather and Llandovery in Saturday’s British & Irish Cup Pool 8 clash at Castle Park.

The pitch has been covered with a heavy duty plastic sheeting all week. The sheeting is reported to be a grade thicker than used by the groundstaff at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Brett Davey, who was the club’s director at the time, received a six-week touchline ban, suspended for two years, this week having pleaded guilty to verbally abusing the match referee after Knights’ 22-21 home defeat by Bedford Blues.

I can perhaps understand Brett’s frustration at the time having seen the referee sin-bin Tom Davies shortly before the try ten minutes into injury time. Had Knights, who led 21-10 at one stage deep into the final quarter, won the game as they should have done, the likeable Welshman may still have been in charge as things were quite clearly on the turn after the club’s worst ever start to a league season.