ON THIS DAY: 1951: Doncaster RLFC play first ever game - PICTURES

Tattersfield - the home of the Dons.Tattersfield - the home of the Dons.
Tattersfield - the home of the Dons.
Where they used to play is now a patch of wasteland on the entrance to Bentley, but 65 years ago today, Doncaster Rugby League fans were celebrating the arrival of the team.

It was on August 18, 1951 that professional rugby league began in Doncaster, the newly formed side beating Wakefield Trinity 10-3 at York Road Greyhound Stadium in front of a crowd of 7,600.

Doncaster finished their inaugural season in eleventh position, they won 21, drew one and lost 14 league matches.

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A packed crowd enjoys the action at Tattersfield.A packed crowd enjoys the action at Tattersfield.
A packed crowd enjoys the action at Tattersfield.

They moved to the new Bentley Road Stadium in August 1953. This ground became the spiritual home of Doncaster Rugby League Club and was later renamed Tatters Field or Tattersfield as a mark of respect for the former chairman Len Tattersfield.

But supporting Doncaster was never an easy task. Since 1953, fans have defiantly watched their struggling team who became known for all the wrong reasons.

The Dons were whipping boys throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s, regularly finishing bottom of the table - and even if they managed to avoid ending up at the very bottom of the heap, they were always there or thereabouts.

The luckless club even attracted TV cameras for a Yorkshire Television documentary, Another Bloody Sunday, filmed in 1980 and which told the tale of the club’s search for a single victory during a disastrous season. The elusive win came in the final game with a 6-3 win over Huyton at Tattersfield.

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Tattersfield as it looks today.Tattersfield as it looks today.
Tattersfield as it looks today.

The ground was named in honour of former chairman Len Tattersfield - although younger supporters seemed to prefer the tale that because potatoes, or tatties had been grown there in a farmer’s field previously, that was how the stadium had arrived at its moniker.

The Dons enjoyed just one season of top-flight Rugby League, winning promotiion to the Premier for the first time in 1993-94. It proved to be the club’s downfall, going bust at the end of the season.

A new club, Doncaster Dragons, was formed from the ashes, playing at Stainforth’s Meadow Court stadium. Incarnations as The Lakers followed, with games at Doncaster Rovers’ former Belle Vue ground, before finding a permanent home at the Keepmoat Stadium alongside Doncaster Rovers.

On April 23, 1995, the Dons, as they were known, played their last ever fixture at the dilapidated stadium known as Tattersfield, just 2,975 people watching a 16-50 defeat to Workington.