Dons re-launch Past Players Association

Dons' commercial manager Ray Green (left) and president Stewart Piper.
Dons' commercial manager Ray Green (left) and president Stewart Piper.

Doncaster Rugby League Club’s stars of the past could soon become a more regular sight at the Keepmoat Stadium - thanks to the efforts of former winger Stewart Piper.

The Championship club’s president is one of the main driving forces behind plans to reform the Dons Past Players Association.

A veteran of over 300 games for the club, businessman Stewart is hoping for a good response on the Association’s launch night at the Thornhurst Manor Golf Club on Thursday night.

Dons star Paul Cooke, who will take over as the club’s head coach next season, will speak at the function, which costs £12 including food.

“It has been hard tracking players down and there are still a number of players I’ve not yet been able to get in touch with, including the likes of Doncaster-born hooker Mark Gibbon and Allan Carr,” said Stewart.

“I’m hoping that they, or someone who knows them, will see this story and get in touch with me on 07785 396254, as will any others who may be interested.”

Among locally-based players to confirm their attendance on the night are former record try-scorer Neil Turner, half-back Kevin Jones and Johnny Evans. Former record goal-kicker David Noble is also hoping to attend.

Stewart has been in contact with several newspapers in areas where some former players are thought to live, as well as trade papers, in a bid to publicise his plans.

“The oldest player to come forward so far is 77 year-old Terry Dewhurst, a centre-winger who played in the 60s,” said Stewart.

Castleford-based Malcolm Battye is another of the older players to confirm his attendance.

“Pete Moody and Jimmy Irving have both contacted me from Hull and I’m still waiting to hear from several others,” said Stewart.

He added: “We are going to make a big deal of the Association and we are going to have an archive of old pictures.

“It will cost £20 a year to join but members will be able to watch home games free of charge and there will be other perks.

“We would hope that a lot of the players who join the Association will make an effort to attend home games because I’m sure the supporters would be glad to see them there and have a chat about the old days.

“A lot of the big clubs have got successful Past Players Associations and that’s what I hope to see happen at Doncaster.

“It can have a lot of benefits, we might even pick up some new sponsorship.”