Aiming high

Doncaster Knights v Cornish Pirates. Knights player Dominic Parsons catches the ball. Picture: Holly Allen.
Doncaster Knights v Cornish Pirates. Knights player Dominic Parsons catches the ball. Picture: Holly Allen.

The Knights are working overtime as they prepare to go to battle on two fronts.

Doncaster’s players have been ordered to do extra training sessions to be in tip top condition for a dual tilt at the Championship promotion play-offs and British & Irish Cup.

On Saturday the Knights travel north of the border for what is expected to be a bruising B&I Cup eliminator against Scottish Premiership side Ayr.

And from next month they will tackle local rivals Rotherham Titans, Bedford Blues and Cornish Pirates - who won 16-13 at Castle Park at the weekend - when the fight for a coveted place in the Aviva Premiership restarts.

Boss Lynn Howells said: “The boys have been told to do extra sessions in the gym and we leave that down to them.

“They’ve all got their individual programmes and they’re working very hard.

“It’s all about freshening things up a bit and making sure the players are going into these remaining games in the best possible condition.

“There’s some big games coming up and if we can be on top of our game there’s no reason why we can’t have a successful end to the season.

“It’d be nice to get into two semi-finals - and once you get through to a semi-final anything can happen.”

Knights brought the curtain down on their regular Championship season on Saturday, losing by just three points at home to the Pirates - who they will face again on the opening weekend of the play-offs.

A converted try from centre Tom Luke and two Rob Cook penalties saw the Pirates take a 13-6 lead at half time.

Ed Jackson’s late try, converted by the in-form Christian Lewis-Pratt, gave the Knights hope.

But Cook’s third penalty for the Pirates, who finshed third in the table, utlimately proved the difference between the teams.

Howells said: “It was a typical end of season game and the conditions didn’t help at all.

“But we’re going into the business end of the season in a positive mood and we’re looking forward to this weekend.

“Ayr are building it up as a Scotland versus England clash so we know exactly what sort of reception to expect up there.

“It will be lively and they will try and beat us up but we’ve got to be big and strong enough to deal with that.”

The winner of Saturday’s Pool D clash will join group winners Pontypridd in the last eight.

Winger turned centre Oli Goss misses out this weekend with a shoulder injury, while Lewis-Pratt will continue to deputise for talisman Tristan Roberts at fly half.

n Steve McColl scooped the overall player of the season and players’ player of the season prize at Knights’ end of season awards dinner.

Winger Matty Williams picked up the supporters’ player of the season trophy.