Doncaster Knights: ‘Championship Cup can give us momentum’ – Matt Challinor

Matt Challinor
Matt Challinor

Like the rest of his Doncaster Knights team-mates, club captain Matt Challinor was delighted to end a run of five successive league defeats at London Scottish.

“It was a massive result for us because we didn’t want to go into the new Championship Cup group games on the back of six successive defeats,” said the long-serving second-rower.

“We felt we were unlucky not to get something out of the game against London Irish and also felt we should have beaten Bedford the week before so both performances gave us confidence going into the Scottish game.”

Despite Knights having dropped into the bottom three prior to the Scottish game, Challinor said: “I know our form hasn’t been great at times this season but it hasn’t been down to a lack of effort.

“We’ve continued to believe in ourselves and we go into every game expecting to win – even against a side as strong as Irish.

“Although we lost on the day the pleasing thing from our point of view was the effort we put in – especially considering we had a few players out with injuries and several more played with them.

“We’ve not got a game this weekend which will enable a few of the people who have been playing with knocks the chance to recover. I’d expect some players to be rested in some of the cup games and for others to be given a chance.”

Although the league remains the priority and Knights still entertain hopes of a third top-four finish in four years, they still want to do well in the new Championship Cup.

“Hopefully we can build on the momentum we’ve gathered in our last three games and we can turn things around during the six group games,” said Challinor.

“I remember the first season we got back into the Championship our league form wasn’t the best but we did well in the B&I Cup and that kept our spirits up. We eventually started to do better in the league and we finished the season strongly and hopefully we can do something similar this season.

“We are in a pretty strong group and although Yorkshire Carnegie have had injury problems and are currently bottom of the table, they’ve brought a couple of players in and others will be joining them during the cup games so they’ll be stronger.

“Nottingham are up there and Coventry, who we play in our first game, have done well after being promoted and have a huge squad including some former Doncaster players who will be looking to do well.”