Doncaster Eagles have won back-to-back promotions but the pandemic provides a new challenge

Eagles’ Josh Metcalf was named Division Three Midlands Coach of the Year.Eagles’ Josh Metcalf was named Division Three Midlands Coach of the Year.
Eagles’ Josh Metcalf was named Division Three Midlands Coach of the Year. | JPIMedia Resell
They showed strength in times of adversity only fairly recently.

And Doncaster Eagles, formerly known as Danum Eagles, now hope to bounce back even stronger following the coronavirus pandemic.

They secured promotion back to Division Two of the National Basketball League before the current crisis unfolded, winning 20 out of 21 games to win the Division Three Midlands title.

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Eagles last reached tier three of the English game in 2017 before a downward spiral, which coincided with their move out of town to play home games in Scunthorpe, culminated in them quitting the NBL for financial reasons.

But that was the cue for the club’s core of senior players to take the bull by the horns and bring league basketball back to Doncaster – again.

They quickly succeeded and back-to-back promotions have followed. But head coach Bob Martin now concedes that the club face another, very different, challenge.

“We were getting ready for the play-offs when Covid-19 stopped all sports,” he said. “The players were very disappointed but these guys know there are more important things going on in the world.

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“When things are safe we will be back at it preparing for Division Two.

“This time it will be important to make sure that we secure a solid financial foundation. We will be actively seeking sponsors and hope that we can get the local community behind us.

“Obviously in the present climate this is going to be difficult.

“We are looking to strengthen the squad but probably only need a couple quality players to put us in good position to compete.”

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Eagles’ coach Josh Metcalf picked up the D3 Midlands Coach of the Year award last season, while Bob’s son Mathew was named the division’s Most Valuable Player.

“This season was a fantastic team effort,” said Bob. “Over the years the Eagles men have won titles in various competitions and had great success.

“This season we came back with an attitude: refuse to lose. The players were determined to win the league and gain promotion and came up with some of the best basketball we’ve ever produced.”

Eagles are now based at New College Doncaster following their long association with Danum School.