Derbies disaster for town

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IF there is one club in the Championship that the bulk of Doncaster Rovers’ supporters want to see the Keepmoat Stadium side beat it is South Yorkshire rivals Barnsley.

That’s why Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Oakwell proved such a bitter pill to swallow for many of the 2,300 fans who made the short trip to Barnsley.

What probably made the result worse was that a lot of Rovers’ fans had travelled with unusually high expectations, given their place at the foot of the table, following the win at Portman Road last time out.

But Rovers were as bad at Oakwell as they had been good against Ipswich and they can have no complaints about the result and only debutant keeper Carl Ikeme caught the eye.

It has been suggested that a number of the Rovers squad are not good enough to play at this level but I think, last season excepted, that most have shown that they are.

What isn’t up for debate is the fact that, for some reason, a number of key players were but a shadow of themselves on Saturday and that the side looked short of ideas and team spirit.

Rotherham Titans also secured local bragging rights when beating Doncaster Knights 23-10 in their Championship derby at Clifton Lane.

Knights have had the better of their rivals of late but that looks set to change. Knights will do well to finish above them in the table.

Australia dashed England’s hopes of Gillette Four Nations’ glory in the final at Elland Road.

Australia’s 30-8 win may have flattered them given England’s stubborn resistance for an hour but there was no doubting their extra class with ball in hand,

I was one of those people who felt that England - though they would have had to be at their best - had a chance going into the game.

I didn’t think it was the best Australian team I’d ever seen - though there is never going to be a poor one given their talent pool - and England had impressed me with the quality of both their defence and attacking play.

They had opened Australia up in the game at Wembley in a manner not seen for many years in games between the two sides. Alas, it was a familiar story on Saturday night with England struggling to get the better of the Australian defence and making just two clean breaks.

Former Senegal international Habib Bye on Monday put pen to paper on a deal which could see him stay at the Keepmoat Stadium until the end of the season.

Of more long-term significance, was the signing of youth team prospect James Husband, who agreed a 30-month deal.

He will be hoping to buck the trend of recent youth team players, the majority of whom were released after their initial 12-month contract.

His hopes of doing that will be boosted if Rovers revive their reserve team.

“It is very important, “ said former Rovers’ star Ian Snodin, whose management company represent the youngster.

“When I played it was the next progression. I wouldn’t have played at first-team level at the age I did for Doncaster had there not been a reserve side at the time.”