Steve Hossack: Knights and Dons could join forces for charity

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I am sure that anyone who watched BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year will have been moved, as I was, by the segment on MND.

It paid tribute to former Scotland and British and Irish Lions forward Doddie Weir, who had sadly passed away a couple of weeks before, and the continuing fight by former Leeds and England rugby league star Rob Burrow.

Both men have been at the forefront of the campaign to raise awareness of the devastating effects of the illness and the urgent need to raise money to try and find a cure.

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The BBC has done an excellent job in highlighting the plight of Rob and his inspirational wife Lyndsey and the fundraising efforts of former teammate and new England rugby union defensive coach, Kevin Sinfield OBE.

Rob Burrow, left, and Kevin Sinfield. Photo: George Wood/Getty ImagesRob Burrow, left, and Kevin Sinfield. Photo: George Wood/Getty Images
Rob Burrow, left, and Kevin Sinfield. Photo: George Wood/Getty Images

I have no doubt that Sinfield, despite his prestigious new role, will continue to raise money for the cause. He would also like others to come up with ideas.

Could I therefore, as someone who has played both rugby codes and reported on both clubs for many years, put forward an idea of my own.

Given that both Doncaster Knights and Doncaster RLFC/Club Doncaster have good reputations locally for helping good cause should they be able to find the time in their busy schedules, they could join forces to raise a few thousand pounds for the cause at the same time as providing an entertaining evening for both sets of supporters and others by taking part in a touch & pass challenge match.

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The game I was involved in launching was played over 4 x 10 minute periods (kicking allowed in two) on a pitch 75m long x 55m wide by teams of ten players with seven on at any one time.

Although the game leans more towards league in that there is a play-the-ball after a player has been tug (as lightly as possible) and a six-tig rule operates, rugby union teams have fared well against top rugby league players in both the Castleford League, which I played in and was secretary for ten years, and the Doncaster League which I launched in the late 80s.

Both Doncaster RFC, who boasted the likes of flying wing Chris Conway, and Wheatley Hills, who included former England 7s and B international half-back Dave Scully in their ranks, also gave a good account of themselves.

The Dons also fielded a side in what proved a successful summer league for a number of years.

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Not only is T&P enjoyable to play it is also good to watch.

I certainly think spectators would have an enjoyable evening were the event - which could also include a couple of other local clubs - to take place on a Spring evening at Castle Park.

The event could also include supporting activities such as a relay race/goal-kicking competition etc.

I certainly think it would be worth £5 or £10 of anybody’s money.

Just an idea.

*The first week of a new year can often seem flat.

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One of the things that I used to look forward to in the first week of January was the televised BDO world darts from the Lakeside.

For many years it was the biggest competition in world darts.

But the emergence of the PDC – which offered more money – brought about a gradual (at first) decline in standards before more and more players saw the direction the game was heading in and followed suit and the BDO event became a shadow of its former glory.

Even so I struck with it until near the end – not least because of the likes of self-styled pantomime villain, Ted ‘The Count’ Hankey, host Colin Murray, whose enthusiasm was infectious, and Bobby George’s bling.

I also liked the atmosphere created within the cosy venue.

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For some reason I’ve not really bought into the PDC event, which now occupies the same spot, to anywhere near the same extent.

I have interviewed a host of top darts players on visits to the city over the years including former world champions John Lowe, John ‘Boy’ Walton, all-time great Phil Taylor and Jocky Wilson.

Given his reputation, I was a bit apprehensive as I approached Wilson in a busy room at The Dome to ask him for a quick chat.

I needn’t have worried, however, and he was as pleasant and amiable as the others.

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*I recently watched a documentary on rugby league legend Clive Sullivan MBE.

For those of you who don’t know much about him, Clive was the first black man to captain a national side within the UK and he also scored a length-of-the-field try in the final prior to lifting the Rugby League World Cup for Great Britain in France in 1972

Clive, who was a pleasure to work with, was briefly Doncaster RLFC’ player-coach at the end of his playing career which must have come as a bit of a culture shock after starring on Humberside, where he has a road named after him, for both Hull FC and Hull KR.

The reason that I mention Clive, apart from his Doncaster connection, is that during the documentary there was footage from Superstars and I was surprised to see him run so close - given he was renowned for his speed - in the 100m by legendary footballer George Best.

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I always found it interesting seeing stars from rival sports compete in and out of their comfort zone.

I certainly feel that the BBC could do worse – in an era dominated by quiz shows, cooking and dancing programmes – than to try and bring it back in some form.