Doncaster Town must hold their nerve to seal rare title triumph
It was almost inevitable that a few nerves would creep in.
Doncaster Town joined the Yorkshire League as founder members in 1936 but won the competition, in its former guise, just once.
A purple patch in the late 1990s aside, this is a club not accustomed to winning first team honours.
Luke Townsend’s class of 2019 hope to buck that trend and have led the now regionalised Yorkshire League, the ECB Yorkshire South Premier League, virtually from ball one.
But now they must hold their nerve - and come through a wobble which has seen them lose their last three games in all competitions - to seal a rare title triumph.
For all the talent that has passed through Town Fields over the years, their current position is not a familiar one. You can understand the jitters.
It was 20 years ago when Doncaster, under the leadership of Barbar Butt, went the season unbeaten to complete a Yorkshire League title and KO Cup double.
A year before, in 1998, Nick Cowan lifted the Abbot Ale National Club Knockout Trophy at Lord’s to signal a golden era in the club’s history.
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But success has been thin on ground since then. That could be about to change, but there is work still to be done if Town are to get over the line in first place.
Their five wicket defeat on Saturday at home to Treeton, which saw them bowled out for just 104, should serve as a wake-up call.
Sheffield Collegiate’s loss at Barnsley, who leapfrogged the hosts into second spot, let Town off the hook slightly but their previously comfortable lead at the summit has now been reduced to 18 points with five games to go (12 points for a win).
Doncaster have had a habit in recent years of starting the season very well and fading away. But they will be kicking themselves all winter long if they throw away the league title from here.
Three of their remaining five games are away, including a potentially awkward trip to Elsecar this Saturday and a visit to reigning champions Wakefield Thornes
The two home games are against the bottom two, Aston Hall and Hallam.
It is Doncaster’s title to lose from here but they quickly need to rediscover the winning habit and ruthlessness that got them into this great position.