Doncaster Knights’ pride despite coming up short to Ealing Trailfinders in Championship title quest

Doncaster Knights came up agonisingly short in their quest to win the Championship after Ealing Trailfinders secured the title with an emphatic 60-10 win over Richmond on Saturday.

By Nick Westby
Sunday, 3rd April 2022, 12:41 pm
Updated Sunday, 3rd April 2022, 12:58 pm

It means the Londoners clinch the second tier championship by three points, but whether they will be promoted to the Gallagher Premiership is dependent on the success of their appeal to the Rugby Football Union.

The governing body initially rejected theirs and Doncaster’s application to be promoted to the top flight based on the size of the respective club’s grounds not meeting the 10,001 or more capacity set out in the minimum standards criteria.

For Doncaster, any disappointment at not taking top spot and carrying on their fight for promotion, was offset by the pride that was felt by the club at such a terrific season.

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Steve Boden. Picture: John Ashton

On Saturday night, 24 hours after finishing the season with victory at Nottingham, Doncaster celebrated the campaign at their awards night.

It was an evening when the fact they started the season with two defeats in their opening three games, then went on to lose just once in the next 17 games, was recognised.

For club president Steve Lloyd, the job head coach Steve Boden – appointed at the start of the pandemic – has done is exemplary.

“He took the helm at a difficult stage,” said Lloyd.

“We didn’t know when we were starting, we just managed to get half a season in (2020-21), better than nothing but with clubs under tremendous financial pressure with no income etc, we had to do as much as we could for the boys.

“They worked at it, they were patient and in the end I think the half-season was a great opener and then we got going for real this season.

“And we’ve certainly made the most of it. It’s a great time to be celebrating the league season, and we’ve still got the cup to go.”

The Championship Cup begins on Saturday when Doncaster host Cornish Pirates in the first leg of a first round double-header.

The cup sees a new format with player rotations differing from the traditional seven-man benches.

Lloyd explains: “We’re playing with 20 in a matchday squad, so only five on the bench, 10 rotations in the game.

“It was worth looking at; if you don’t go you don’t know.”