Doncaster Knights COMMENT: Vital not to stand still

Doncaster Knights v Cambridge. Dante Mama makes a break in the first half. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Doncaster Knights v Cambridge. Dante Mama makes a break in the first half. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
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BY their own admission, Doncaster Knights have been treading water in recent years.

Pitiful RFU funding, reduced wage budgets, huge turnovers of players and a roadblock to the Premiership have seen the Castle Park club content to keep their heads above the water, as it were.

But with a new season - one which the Knights have abandoned their tradition of one-year contracts and Saturday afternoon rugby - comes renewed hope and optimism that the Knights are ready to launch a serious Championship challenge.

This time last year the club was keen to send out a message that they were genuine promotion contenders, only to see a campaign that promised so much fall apart spectacularly at the turn of the year.

This season it is time for the Knights to start doing their talking ON the pitch.

Standing still, in any sport, is a dangerous concept.

And whether it was a result of financial hardship, injuries or otherwise, the Knights have arguably been guilty of that in recent seasons.

This time around, however, there is genuine hope that the most promoted club in the history of the English game could be on the up again.

A financial olive branch from the RFU has allowed the Knights to offer a few two-year contracts, which at least harbours some hope of holding onto key players for longer than a solitary season.

The move to Friday night rugby is also a brave one. It is forward-thinking and outside of the box - and should be applauded.

There have been mutterings again this pre-season about an attempt to knock on the door of the Premiership, a door left ajar by London Welsh’s momentous legal victory earlier this summer.

But talk is cheap, and the Championship this year looks as tough as it has ever been with Leeds, Cornish Pirates, Bristol and Bedford set to be moneybags Newcastle Falcons’ main rivals.

Sneaking into the top half of the table would be a successful season for Doncaster Knights - one that would convince people that they really are going places.